Dog Bites And Attacks on Business Premises in Washington
When you go onto a business property, the last thing you expect is that you will sustain a dog bite injury. However, when a dog bite does occur, you need to know where to turn. At Colburn Law, we understand dog bite injury claims. Here, we want to discuss different possibilities in these situations, including the dog belonging to the business owner as well as dogs belonging to patrons of the businesses.
Are Dogs Allowed on the Premises?
When we are examining dog bites and attacks that occur on business premises, we first want to look at whether or not pets are even allowed on the premises in the first place. There are plenty of pet-friendly (specifically dog-friendly) businesses in Washington. When you are walking around major cities, including Seattle, you will typically see signs that say dogs are allowed or are not allowed.
The reality is that if a dog bite occurs on a business property, then the dog’s owner will typically be held liable for the incident. If a person has entered a business lawfully and they have a right to be there, and if they sustain a dog bite injury, then they will have a right to recover compensation from the dog’s owner, according to Washington law.
Who Owns or Controls the Dog?
Digging further into a liability for a dog bite that occurs at a business, we want to examine whether or not the business owner will be held liable or another person on the premises.
Business Owner Liability
There are a few circumstances where a business owner may be held liable for a dog bite that occurs on their premises. First, if the dog belongs to the business owner, then this would place liability onto the business owner for any bite that occurs. There may be some circumstances where a dog owner leaves their pet with the business owner, which would place the business owner in control of the dog for a temporary period of time. Again, this means that the business owner would likely be held liable if the dog bites someone else.
Business Patron Liability
There are plenty of businesses in Washington where a dog’s owner will remain with the dog on business premises. This can include many outdoor dog-friendly bars and restaurants where we often see dogs curled up under the table. If a dog bites somebody, and the dog is with its owner, then the owner will likely be held liable for the injuries, not the business owner. This is true even if the business owner had full knowledge that the dog was on the premises.
Business owners will typically not be liable if a dog bites individual trespassing on their property. It is not uncommon for businesses to leave dogs to guard properties during the off hours. Washington’s “strict liability” dog bite law only applies when a person is lawfully on the property where the bite occurred.
Contact a Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today
If you or somebody you care about has sustained a dog bite injury, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A Washington dog bite lawyer will have the resources necessary to investigate every aspect of your claim and handle all communication with the other parties involved, including the insurance carriers. The goal is to recover compensation for all of your medical bills as well as lost wages and pain and suffering damages.