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How Bad Does a Dog Bite Have to Be to Sue In Washington?

Posted on January 31st, 2024

Imagine walking through your neighborhood when suddenly, out of nowhere, a dog charges at you aggressively. Before you can react, you feel a sharp pain as it bites down. 

In the aftermath of a dog bite, victims are often left dealing with not only the physical wounds but also the shock and trauma of such an unexpected attack. This scenario is all too common and raises important questions about the legal recourse available for those injured. 

So, can you recover compensation after the attack? How bad does a dog bite have to be to sue?

In Washington, Dog Owners Are Strictly Liable for Bite

Washington has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog’s owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their animal biting another person, regardless of whether the dog has a history of biting people or if the owner was aware of their behavior. This means that any dog bite victim can pursue a lawsuit against the owner, whether they suffered a shallow bite or survived a major, life-threatening attack.

Potential Complications from Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can lead to a variety of complications, not all of which are immediately apparent. It is important to seek medical attention immediately after the attack, even if the injury appears to be minor. These complications may include:

  • Infections: Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, leading to infections such as tetanus or rabies. These conditions can be life-threatening without prompt medical care.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: Severe dog bites can result in significant scarring or disfigurement. These physical reminders of the incident can also lead to emotional distress and may require surgical intervention to correct.
  • Nerve Damage: Deep bites can damage nerves, potentially leading to loss of sensation or function in the affected area. This can impact the victim’s quality of life and may necessitate long-term medical care.
  • Psychological Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, victims of dog bites often experience psychological trauma, including anxiety, fear of dogs, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional injuries are just as significant as physical ones and can greatly interfere with daily life.

Damages Available In Dog Bite Lawsuits

Damages Available in Washington Dog Bite Lawsuits

Victims of dog bites in Washington may be entitled to various forms of compensation to cover the damages incurred from the incident. This may include:

  • All past and future medical treatments related to the dog bite, including emergency services, hospital stays, medications, and any necessary rehabilitation or therapy
  • Lost wages if the injury results in time away from work for recovery or medical appointments
  • Compensation for any future earning capacity if the injuries have long-term impacts on the victim’s ability to work
  • Pain and suffering caused by the dog bite, recognizing the physical pain and emotional distress that the victim endured as a result of the attack

If you are injured by a dog, you deserve full compensation for the trauma that you experienced. A Washington dog bite attorney can be your advocate in this journey, guiding you through the lawsuit and building a robust case against the owner. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, contact us after the attack to explore your legal options.