Dogs of all sizes have the potential to cause substantial harm. While large dogs are typically more physically imposing, an attack by a small dog could have lasting effects like nerve damage or scarring. Left untreated, these dog bites could have serious health consequences, including infection.
If you suffered a dog bite or other injury, you might have a legal claim against the owner of the animal. An experienced Tacoma dog bite lawyer could advise you on whether the facts of your case could result in compensation. With the help of a seasoned injury attorney, you could recoup your losses stemming from the dog attack.
When seeking monetary compensation for a dog bite in Tacoma, the legal standard that applies is known as “strict liability.” This is different from the negligence standard most injury claims fall under. The strict liability standard allows a plaintiff to recover compensation for a dog bite even when the dog owner shows they were not aware their pet was dangerous.
A Tacoma attorney could assist a person suffering from a dog bite to thoroughly investigate their case. In some instances, it can take substantial investigative work to track down the offending dog and identify the owner. With the help of their attorney, a dog bite victim could not only identify the owner but also hold them accountable in civil court.
It is also possible to recover compensation from injuries caused by dogs other than bites. A common example of these claims involves a dog injuring a person by knocking them down or scratching them with their claws.
While compensation is available in this situation, a plaintiff may not rely on the strict liability standard used in dog bite cases. Instead, they must use the negligence standard common in most injury claims. This means that a plaintiff must establish the dog owner knew of the potential risk of injury and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. These claims often center around whether a dog was allowed to roam off a leash or was otherwise in violation of certain animal ordinances.
A Tacoma dog bite lawyer could assist an injured victim to build a case against the owner. This could involve determining what steps, if any, the dog owner took to prevent their pet from injuring someone.
There are two important defenses available to the owner of dogs that cause another person’s injury. Either of these defenses could protect the defendant from liability if accepted by the jury. These defenses are outlined by Code of Washington 16-08-040.
The first defense relates to provocation. If a dog is provoked by the person prior to their injury, their owner is not responsible for the damage a bite causes. The second defense involves trespassing. As long as a person is in a public place or on private property they have the right to be on, they could pursue a strict liability claim. However, anyone that is trespassing may not bring a damage claim against the dog owner.
It is important to obtain medical treatment for a dog bite right away. These injuries could seem minor at first but worsen over time. In addition to seeking medical attention, it is also valuable to contact legal counsel right away.
You have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries following a dog bite. Your path to recovering those damages starts with a phone call to a Tacoma dog bite lawyer. To get started on a case, be sure to schedule a consultation today.