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Common Defenses After an Individual Sustains a Dog Bite

Posted on June 10th, 2024

Imagine taking a walk through your neighborhood when suddenly, a friendly-looking dog approaches you. In a split second, the unexpected happens—the dog attacks and bites, leaving you with painful injuries and a whirlwind of emotions.

As a dog bite victim in Washington state, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the owner of the animal, regardless of whether their negligence contributed to the attack. However, the owner may employ several defenses to protect themselves and prevent you from recovering the compensation that you deserve.

The Victim Provoked the Dog

One of the most common defenses that dog owners employ is claiming that the victim provoked the dog, causing it to react aggressively. They may argue that the victim’s actions, such as teasing, poking, or startling the dog, led to the bite. However, the burden of proof lies with the owner to demonstrate that the victim’s behavior was the direct cause of the incident.

The Victim Was Trespassing

Dog owners may also assert that the victim was trespassing on private property when the bite occurred. In these cases, the owner may claim that they are not liable for the injuries sustained by the victim. However, this defense is not always applicable, and the owner may lie about the victim’s status to limit their liability. The victim can counter this defense by presenting evidence that they had a valid reason for being on the property, such as performing a job or visiting with permission.

The Owner Had No Reason to Believe the Dog Would Bite

Some dog owners may argue that they had no prior knowledge of their dog’s aggressive tendencies and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for the bite. They may claim that the dog had never exhibited dangerous behavior before and that the incident was entirely unexpected. It’s important to note that in Washington, a strict liability state, this defense would not hold up in court. Dog owners are responsible for their pets’ actions, regardless of prior knowledge of aggression.

The Owner Posted “Beware of Dog” Signs

In an attempt to shift blame, dog owners may point out that they had posted “Beware of Dog” signs on their property, warning visitors of potential danger. However, the presence of these signs does not automatically absolve owners of liability. The signs must be clearly visible and placed in prominent locations to be considered a valid defense. Additionally, if the dog has a history of aggression, your attorney could argue that the owner had a heightened duty to protect victims from the animal.

Speak to a Washington Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite, seek the guidance of an expert Auburn dog bite lawyer today. Your attorney will understand the complexities of dog bite cases and can help you navigate the legal system, ensuring that your rights are protected.

From your first consultation to your final settlement, your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the incident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve. Reach out to a Washington dog bite lawyer today to discuss your case and take the first step toward recovery.