Our minds often conjure up images of horrific bites and traumatic injuries caused by dog attacks. However, dogs can cause harm to people even without biting them. A dog that jumps and knocks someone over can cause serious and even life-threatening injuries.
If a dog knocked you over and injured you, you have the right to file a legal claim against the owner. Unlike dog bite cases, however, the owner’s negligence must have played a role in the incident.
When a Dog Knocks You Over, You Can Suffer Serious Injuries
A dog doesn’t need to bite a person to cause injury. Larger dogs can easily pounce on a person and knock him or her to the ground. Smaller dogs can run between a person’s legs and cause him or her to trip. When a person is riding a bike or jogging, a dog can chase him or her, leading to an accident.
Falls can be very dangerous, sometimes resulting in serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain damage
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Bruises or abrasions
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts or lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
Strict Liability Only Applies to Dog Bites
A dog-related injury can have a major impact on your life. You may need to pay for medical care, take time away from work, and spend weeks or even months in recovery. Long-term disabilities are possible, and the emotional trauma associated with the incident can linger for years to come.
By filing a dog injury lawsuit against the animal’s owner, you can recover financial compensation for these losses. In Washington, dog owners are strictly liable if their animal bites another person, regardless of prior knowledge, negligence, or a history of violent behavior. The strict liability statute only applies to cases involving bites. If the dog did not bite you, you will need to show that the owner’s negligence caused your injuries.
Proving Negligence After a Dog Knocks You Over
Negligence refers to an individual’s failure to uphold a certain duty of care, resulting in the victim’s injuries. To recover compensation in a dog injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the following four facts are true:
- The dog’s owner owed you a duty of care at the time of the incident. Generally, owners are required to follow the law and take reasonable steps to control their animals.
- The dog’s owner breached his or her duty of care. For example, if an owner takes an unleashed dog to a park where leashes are required, he or she breaches his or her duty of care.
- The owner’s negligence caused your injuries. For example, if an unleashed dog jumps on you and knocks you over, the incident would not have happened if the owner followed the law and used a leash.
- You suffered damages, like medical expenses and lost wages, as a result of the owner’s negligence.
What to Do After Being Injured by a Dog
If you were injured by a dog in Washington, you need to seek help as soon as possible. Get to a safe location and obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Document evidence by taking photos and videos of the animal and the area of the incident.
Ask any witnesses for their contact information and gather the owner’s contact details as well. After seeking treatment for your injuries, contact a Washington dog bite injury lawyer to discuss your case and learn about your next steps.