Have you suffered from a dog bite in Tacoma or Pierce County, Washington?
If so, Sam J. Fogerty can help you.
What happens if you are bitten by a dog? What legal course of action is best to follow in Pierce County after a dog bite incident?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million U.S. Citizens are bitten or attacked by dogs each year. Around 800,000 of these attacks cause serious injuries that require medical care. The majority of these bites happen to children and are usually in the face or neck area. These serious types of wounds can cause medical, emotional and psychological damage. These bites can range from minor cuts, scratches, and damage to serious injury that may need surgery.
Dog bites are scarring in many ways. How are you to know the full justifiable monetary value of those scars in your life? It is important to know your legal rights at these times.
Important steps you should take if you are injured by a dog (including but are not limited to):
- Write down the name and address of the dog’s owner. If the owner is not present, write down a clear description of the dog and details of the bite. You may be able to find owner and dog information from the dog’s tags, however this may be inadvisable if the dog is aggressive.
- Sometimes the bite happened away from any residence and the owner may be hard to determine. In that case, contact 911 or animal control so that you have a way of getting the identification of the dog. The phone number of the Tacoma Animal Control unit is 253-627-PETS (7387).
- Always seek medical attention and have the injury evaluated by a professional. Even if the harm does not seem major, many times an infection or other diseases can take a while to show up. By receiving medical attention it will also create a record of the injury for legal and insurance records.
- Take photos of the dog and your injuries. Use your cell phone camera if need be, or even better: a camera with a flash unit on it to get more details in optimal lighting.
- Do not make a private settlement with the dog owner or discuss financial damages.
- Contact an experienced dog bite attorney for Tacoma and Pierce County: Sam J Fogerty, Attorney At Law. Our office has the skills and experience necessary to effectively represent your case.
In many states (like Washington), canine liability is strict: Dog owners are responsible for their dogs.
- If a dog bites another person, the owners has virtually no defense.
- If a dog leaves the confines of their owner’s property and bites someone, the owner is liable for all damages caused to humans.
- If a dog is not on a leash in an area in which it is required, and the dog injures someone, then it is the dog owner’s legal responsibility.
- If it is determined that a dog is unnaturally violent, then the owner can face serious charges, up-to and including jail time. Some reasons for violence in dogs may be due to abuse or being bred for violence.
- Dog bite laws in Washington State are very progressive and victims are well protected under these laws. Washington State has a “one bite rule” that states that if a domesticated animal has a history of viciousness or violence, then the owner or keeper of the animal is liable for that animal’s actions. Washington is also subject to strict liability. The owner of any dog which bites a person while that person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place shall be liable for such damages.
- On an important note: Landlords are protected from dog bite liability and cannot be held responsible for their tenants’ dangerous animals.
Sam J Fogerty has extensive experience as a dog bite attorney and will give your case the respect and attention it deserves.