Dog Trainer Injured by Dog Bite in Washington
Dog trainers play a valuable role in ensuring that our fuzzy friends get the “education” they need to respond appropriately to situations and to our commands. However, what happens if a dog trainer is bitten by a dog? This is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities, and it is important to understand who may hold liability for paying the dog trainer’s medical bills. At Colburn Law, we have extensive experience handling complex dog bite injury claims, and we want to review some important points for dog trainer injuries.
Is the Dog Trainer Taking Known Risks?
When a person chooses to be a dog trainer, are they taking known risks?
The reality is that any person who takes a job anywhere is taking known risks. No workplace is completely free from hazards. Even a person working a relatively safe office job can sustain a slip and fall injury.
Dog trainers, whether they are working for an employer or as independent contractors, do face certain risks that other workers might not, particularly an increased risk of being bitten by a dog. However, this is typically anticipated by the employer or the independent contractor, though there may be certain circumstances where a dog owner will be held liable for a bite that occurs while training is in session.
Who Was in Control of the Dog?
First, we need to look at who was in control of a dog when the bite occurred. If a dog’s owner was still in control of the pet when the bite occurred, then Washington law clearly puts liability onto the dog owner (RCW 16.08.040).
In general, a dog trainer knows that they take operational control of a dog while a training session is ongoing. This is where liability for a trainer who sustains a dog bite can become unclear. We encourage any dog training who sustains a bite injury to contact an attorney if they are unsure whether they can file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
The Trainer May Have Workers’ Comp or Insurance
If a dog trainer works for a company, then it is very likely the dog bite injury will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This would include coverage of medical bills and a significant portion of lost wages. If the dog trainer is a solo independent contractor, then they will likely have insurance to cover a dog bite incident that occurs.
What if the Dog Was Known to be Dangerous?
Liability could certainly fall to a dog owner if the dog has bitten somebody before or has been labeled as a dangerous dog in the state of Washington. In this state, it is unlawful for the owner of a dangerous dog to allow the dog to be outside of a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained “by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person” (RCW 16.08.090).
If an individual knows that a dog is dangerous and fails to disclose this to a trainer, and if they fail to properly restrain the dangerous dog, then they will likely be held liable for this oversight if a dog bite occurs.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney for Guidance
If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney immediately. Even if your job is to work with dogs, a dog bite incident can still occur and lead to significant expenses. As a dog trainer, your case may be more complex than other dog bite injury claims. At Colburn Law, our team is ready to investigate your incident and help recover any compensation you may be entitled to. We can explore workers’ compensation, but this may not be the best route towards recovering the money that you need. Contact us to work on your claim immediately.