Dog bite injuries can be relatively minor or extremely serious in nature; in some cases, they can even result in permanent injury. A dog bite victim may have to take time off from work, or undergo expensive medical surgery for his or her injuries. Children are at even greater risk due to their small size and unpredictable movements. (Here is an article about helping to protect children from dog bites.)
Washington State Law on Dog Bites
In the State of Washington, the law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. If you own a dog, you are fully responsible even if your animal has no history of attacking. While some states mandate that the owner must know the animal was prone to attack or require that the animal had attacked before to be considered vicious, this is not the case in Washington.
Dog Bite Injury Awards
If the dog owner is found at fault, his or her insurance generally covers the damages award. The circumstances of the dog attack determine whether the owner will pay with homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, or animal insurance; in most cases, homeowner’s insurance will end up paying for the damages to the victim, since it covers liability for injuries caused by household pets on the homeowner’s property.
On average, homeowner’s insurance covers damages from $100,000 to $300,000, but many insurance policies will only cover a dog bite once. This means that if the dog bites another person after insurance has already cover damages related to a previous attack, the owner may have to pay damages out of pocket. In addition, some insurance companies may refuse to cover certain dog breeds such as Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
If a dog bite occurs in a car, homeowner’s insurance may not cover it, or may only cover part of it; in this case, the damages usually come out of the owner’s car insurance. Under certain conditions, both car and homeowner’s insurance will cover a dog bite that occurred in a vehicle.
Finally, animal insurance is another option, especially for dog owners who have already used homeowner’s insurance to cover one offense. Specialty insurance companies may give specific coverage for pet owners with an aggressive or violent dog.
Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Making a legal claim for a dog bite injury that happened to you or a loved one can become a complicated and time-consuming ordeal to investigate, prepare and pursue. Simply proving what the dog owner knew (or did not know) about the nature of their dog can require extensive research and circumstantial evidence.
At Lehmbecker Law, we are proud to represent you as an experienced team that has seen numerous dog bite injury cases in the past 32 years. We do this so that less time is spent figuring out what to do so that more time and resources can be devoted to doing what needs to be done to receive full compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation, where we will discuss the details of your case and help you move forward with your claim.