Dog bite injuries are a significant public health problem and many of the victims are children. We have helped many victims recover damages for injuries sustained from a dog bite or mauling.
Cases can be pursued not only for bites, but also injuries resulting from a victim being knocked over and sustaining broken bones or torn ligaments. Psychiatric injuries from vicious dog attacks can also be very serious and even disabling.
Dog bite victims often develop a terrific fear (called a “phobia”) of being around dogs. Psychiatric treatment or counselling may be necessary to overcome the phobia. Victims of severe dog attacks may also suffer from PTSD, which can cause many unpleasant psychological manifestations such as, flashbacks, panic attacks, depression and anxiety.
In the State of Washington, the law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. This means a person is fully responsible for their dog’s actions. It is NOT required that a dog have shown prior violent tendencies. Dogs do NOT get “one free bite.”
One of the first things that a competent dog bite injury attorney will do is establish if there is any insurance coverage available to make a claim against. Normally, the victim’s damages will be paid for if the dog owner has homeowner’s or renter’s general liability coverage.
It is not uncommon for a person to be attacked while “on the job”. UPS drivers and other delivery service people are often attacked while trying to drop off a package. In these cases, two claims can be made – one for Workers’ Compensation Benefits through the Department of L&I and one against the dog owner’s private insurance. Victims in this situation should hire a law firm to help them. Be sure to choose a firm that specializes in both types of claims, like Lehmbecker Law.
1) Seek medical attention for your injury. If you were bitten, a doctor will likely want you to get a tetanus shot to prevent a tetanus infection. If your injury occurred while you were working, be sure to tell the doctor so they can file an L&I claim for you.
2) Is there video? Ring camera footage? If it’s possible, get a photo of the dog and address of the owner.
3) Take photos of your injury before medical intervention and then after to show progression of healing.
4) Report the incident to animal control.
If your injury is very minor with one doctor visit and no serious scarring, consider making a claim in small claims court. You can recover up to $10,000 in most jurisdictions and there’s no need for a lawyer.
If your injury requires multiple medical visits, antibiotics, surgery, rehab, mental health treatment, or results in significant scarring, then obtaining legal representation is likely in your best interest. These claims will be more substantial and it’s unlikely that you’ll receive full compensation without competent representation from an experienced dog bite injury law firm like Lehmbecker Law.
The process for bringing a dog bite insurance claim can be complicated due to the required investigative element, the need to locate insurance coverage, and the need for clear medical and damages documentation. We want to help!
For a free consult and insurance investigation, call us at 425-455-3186.