Dogs have been considered “man’s best friend” for a long time. In fact, a DNA study found domestic dogs have co-existed with people for over 30,000 years. So it should come as no surprise that there are over 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States.
However, with this large population of dogs also comes risk. The Centers for Disease Control Prevention reported that roughly 4.5 million dog bites happen every year. These bites are caused by numerous factors including stress, fear and for protection. This why dog parks are sometimes the scene of a dog bite incident. If you were bitten by a dog at a park and would like to file a personal injury claim, it is essential to know the steps.
Most dog parks have a disclaimer posted to enter at your own risk, so who is liable if another dog bites you at the park? In some states factors such as the size and breed of the dog, past aggression issues, whether the dog was provoked, and training may influence who is liable for the attack.
Washington is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means the owner is responsible (unless the dog is provoked) for the behavior of their dog in a public or private place and will be accountable for damages.
The owner of the dog may try to argue the animal was provoked or the victim was trespassing. If the owner can prove that provocation caused the dog to attack liability would fall on the person bitten. Likewise, if the bite occurred on private property you were unlawfully on, the owner may also try to place liability for any injuries sustained on you.
If you are at a dog park, or any other place and are bitten by a dog you should seek immediate medical attention when necessary. It is important to document your injuries with photos to help strengthen your personal injury case. Animal control should also be contacted to complete an official report of the incident.
Another necessary step you will need to take is collecting the name and insurance information of the owner of the dog that bit you. When you speak with the insurance company, any information you provide them may be used against you and your personal injury case. If you are unsure or uncomfortable contacting the insurance company, you may want to consider reaching out to a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injuries lawyers have experience handling dog bite cases and understand the information the insurance company needs. They will ensure no details are given that may negatively impact your situation and can help answer any questions you may have about moving forward with a claim.
If you have any questions regarding a dog bite, or any other personal injury case contact the experts at Elsner Law Firm today. Our team has years of experience with personal injuries and is ready to help you with your claim.