In the blink of an eye, an average workday can take a distressing turn when a delivery driver encounters a dangerous dog. Bites from a dog can be painful and, in some cases, cause lifelong trauma and hardship. Dog attacks, while unpredictable, form a serious occupational hazard that demands attention.
While delivery driver dog bite incidents may feel like a rare or fluke occurrence, there has been a steady rise in delivery driver dog attacks in recent years that trends with the increase in online shopping over the same period. Perhaps most noteworthy was the dog attack on an Amazon delivery driver that resulted in the driver’s ultimate death.
If you’ve been attacked by a dog in Washington, it’s essential to know that, in most cases, the law stands in your corner. As long as you did not venture into the owner’s home without permission, you have the right to file a lawsuit if a dog bites you while making a delivery.
What Are Washington’s Dog Bite Laws?
Washington’s dog bite laws are built around the concept of strict liability. Unlike the earlier one-bite rule, which exempted dog owners from liability if the dog had no prior history of biting, the strict liability statute holds owners accountable for any damage caused by their dogs’ bites, regardless of their past behavior.
If a person is injured due to a dog bite while they are either in a public place or lawfully in a private place, the owner of the dog is held liable for the damages suffered by the victim. However, this law does not cover instances where injuries are caused by fear or the exuberant behavior of the dog, rather than a bite. It also does not apply if the victim provoked the dog or if the dog involved is a police dog acting in its official duties.
Can Delivery Drivers File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite?
Yes, delivery drivers in Washington can indeed file a lawsuit if a dog bites them while they are making a delivery. The strict liability statute considers the space where delivery is made public for the purpose of delivering the package.
All personnel who approach the front door with a legitimate purpose, including mail carriers, could file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner after an attack. However, if a driver goes beyond the main area, like into the backyard without the express permission of the owner, he or she may be considered a trespasser and not covered under the law.
What Compensation Is Available in a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
A dog bite incident can lead to a variety of costs and consequences, both tangible and intangible. By filing a lawsuit against the animal’s owner, dog bite victims can recover compensation to pay for these physical, financial, and emotional losses.
Washington law permits victims to seek compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Permanent disability
- Travel to receive medical care
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Job retraining
- Chronic pain
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental distress and anguish
- Property damage
Should You Hire a Washington Dog Bite Lawyer to Represent Your Case?
Without question, yes. Dog bite claims can be complex and challenging the navigate, especially while you are recovering from an injury. A Washington dog bite lawyer can help you understand your rights as a delivery driver and fight for the compensation that you deserve.
After the dog bite incident, seek medical attention right away to prevent any infections. Then, reach out to an attorney who can represent your case and help you take your first steps toward justice.