If a dog was provoked in the moments before a dog bite incident in Washington State, the person who was bitten, not the dog’s owner, could be liable for the attack.

Washington Dog Bite Liability: Intentional & Unintentional Provocation

One important aspect of every Washington State dog bite lawsuit is whether or not the dog in question was provoked before the attack and injury. While the dog’s owner is often liable for dog bite injuries if the dog wasn’t provoked, many dog attack cases won’t hold water if the dog was defending itself or responding to teasing or abuse. Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

What does it mean for a dog to be provoked?

Some types of provocation are pretty obvious: if you strike a dog, it may well bite you in return out of self-defense. If you tease a dog, you shouldn’t be surprised if it attacks when it has the chance. However, people may often provoke a dog even if it is unintentional. Here are a few examples of how a person could unintentionally provoke a dog:

  • You pat the dog while it is eating.
  • You approach a dog that is protecting its puppies.
  • You accidentally step on a dog’s paw or tail.
  • A child attempts to pet, hug, or tug at a dog.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if a dog was provoked in an intentional or unintentional matter – a provoked dog isn’t necessarily a dangerous dog or an aggressive dog.

Are there any circumstances where a provoked dog’s owner is still at fault?

Yes, there are certainly situations in which a provoked dog’s owner is still responsible for damages following a dog bite injury in Washington State. We cannot stress this point enough: all Washington State dog bite cases are unique and even two somewhat similar cases can have different legal outcomes. For example, if a child unintentionally provokes a dog, but the dog has a history of biting children, the dog’s owner could still be liable for the child’s injuries because he or she was aware of the dog’s aggression toward kids.

Talk to a Seattle dog bite attorney today

It can be difficult to understand whether or not provocation plays a significant role in your Washington dog bite injury case. Be sure to speak to a Seattle personal injury attorney about your case if you have any doubts about who was liable for your dog bite damages. Call Andrew Kim today at 800.636.3676.