Washington Dog Bite Laws That You Can Use to Hold the Owner of a Dog Liable for Dog Bite Injuries
If you were bitten by a dog and suffered injuries, you have several options for pursuing a claim for compensation for your injuries in Washington. Whenever you must file a claim for compensation, you want to pursue all possible legal theories of liability and potentially liable parties. Taking these steps can increase the likelihood that you can hold the dog bite owner accountable for compensating you
What Are Washington Dog Bite Laws That Could Apply to Your Dog Bite Claim?
There are both statutory and common law legal theories of why the owner of the dog that bit you should be responsible for compensating you. Some of these laws include:
Dog bite statute. Under the state dog bite statute, an owner of a dog that bites a person on public property or lawfully on private property shall be liable for damages that the victim suffered. This is regardless of the dog’s prior viciousness or the dog owner’s knowledge of the viciousness of the dog. This is a strict liability law holding the owner liable whether or not the dog has bitten before. However, intruders would be excluded from coverage for injuries because they would not lawfully be on a person’s property.
Dangerous dog law. Under the State of Washington’s dangerous dog law, an owner of a dangerous dog has certain duties regarding their dog. Both a dangerous dog and potentially dangerous dog are specifically defined in the statute. This law requires dog owners to register a dangerous dog and to enclose it inside or outside in a securely locked pen or a structure that prevents entry of children. In addition, the person must post a warning sign and maintain insurance of at least $250,000 to compensate victims.
Common law. Under common law, the owner or keeper of a dog can be responsible for injuries if the person knew of the dog’s dangerous or vicious propensities. This is important because it is a way to hold someone other than the owner who is caring for the dog at the time of the bite responsible for compensating the victim.
Negligence per se. Many local communities regulate dogs in some fashion, including having dangerous dog or dangerous animal ordinances. If these ordinances are violated by the dog owner, it could be considered negligence per se, or violation of a law designed to protect people, if the victim’s injuries were caused by violation of the ordinance.
Were you or a family member bitten by a dog? The legal team at Andrew Kim Law Firm, LLC is here to explain your options under Washington’s Dog Bite laws that could apply to your situation. Fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.