Dogs are often praised as man’s best friend. But, it is also a fact that close to 5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year. Thousands of dog bite victims seek emergency room treatment each year and many opt for reconstructive surgery to fix scars and puncture wounds. In addition to the physical injuries, dog bite victims also suffer from psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, please contact an experienced Seattle dog bite lawyer to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to a 2011 survey from the American Pet Products Institute, 62 percent of U.S. households have a pet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 360,000 nonfatal dog bite injuries required emergency room care in the year 2011. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states that the 9,500 severe dog bite injuries in the year 2008 reflects a dramatic increase from the 5,100 serious injuries reported as a result of dog attacks in the year 1993.
According to Dogsbite.org, pit bulls or pit bull mixes were responsible for 59 percent of all fatal dog attacks nationwide between January 2006 and December 2008. Over that three-year period, a pit bull killed someone every 21 days. This breed was also responsible for 81 percent of fatal attacks that occurred off the dog owner’s property. Rottweilers were a distant second behind pit bulls when it came to fatal attacks. They accounted for 14 percent of all dog bite fatalities during that three-year period.
Washington Dog Bite Law
Washington has a "strict liability statute," which means that dog owners can be held liable for the injuries caused by their pets. Under Washington Code 16.08.040: "The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness."
Understanding Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, it is in your best interest to notify the authorities and seek medical attention right away. Injured dog bite victims can seek compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, hospital costs, expenses relating to cosmetic surgery, medication, psychological counseling, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The experienced Washington dog bite attorneys at The Bernard Law Group have an excellent track record fighting for the rights of injured dog bite victims and holding negligent pet owners accountable. Please contact us today at 1-800-418-8282 for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.