Follow These Safety Guidelines If You Are Attacked by a Dog
While dogs can be great companions, some are aggressive and might attack without warning. You could suffer long-term injuries, such as permanent scars and disfigurement, amputation, traumatic brain injury, fractures and crushed bones, and infections. In severe cases, a dog bite can be life-threatening. Here, we share tips on how to respond to a dog attack.
Dog Owner Liability for Dog Bites in Washington
While you want to do everything you can to prevent or minimize your injuries in a dog bite attack, it is important to understand the liability of the owner of the dog to compensate you for your injuries. There are a number of Washington State dog bite laws that hold dog owners liable for compensating you. Two important ones include:
Strict liability law. Under Washington State’s strict liability law, a dog owner is strictly liable if his dog bites you—whether or not the dog has ever bitten anyone before or the owner knew of the dog’s aggressiveness in the past.
One bite rule. Under the one bite rule, an owner or keeper of a dog can be liable for compensating you if the dog had a history of viciousness.
What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog
Being attacked by a dog can be a terrifying experience. Knowing what to do beforehand can help you respond to this dangerous situation better. Here are safety guidelines you should follow:
Remain still. If a dog is moving toward you to attack, remain rigid with your hands at your side and your eyes down. This behavior will seem less threatening to the dog. Keep your fingers curled to protect them.
Protect your face and neck. In many cases, the most devastating and dangerous dog bites involve the head and neck. It is very important to protect these two parts of your body from damage. Press your chin to your chest and cover your face with your hands or arms. Roll into a ball if possible.
Try to remain calm. As odd as it sounds, dogs can sense emotions. If you are fearful and scared, the dog may believe that acting aggressively is the correct response.
Do not fight back. In most cases, fighting back will only make the dog continue to attack you. Instead, try to remain still and protected. If you must defend yourself, which you may have to do, target the dog’s most sensitive areas, such as his eyes, throat, or back of the head.
Do not run from an aggressive dog. If you untangle yourself from the dog attack, resist the urge to run away – you may encourage the dog to run after you. Walk away slowly.
Did you suffer injuries in a dog attack? Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your rights to compensation under Washington State law.