dogs

Kennewick Dog Bite Lawyers

Compassionate counsel for children and adults bitten by a dog in WA

Most dogs, as the saying goes, are man’s best friends. Women and children love dogs too. When they look up with those puppy-dog eyes, all you want to do is hug them. Beware: even the friendliest dogs can bite. Dog bites can cause infections, puncture wounds, disease, disfigurement, and death.

At Telaré Law, our Kennewick dog bite lawyers represent children, postal workers, and anyone who is bitten by a purebred show dog, the neighbor’s rescue pup, and even service and police dogs. Our premises liability lawyers explain why most dog owners are strictly liable if their dog bites you. We demand compensation for a victim’s financial losses and pain and suffering. When a loved one tragically dies due to a dog bite, we file wrongful death claims on behalf of the family members.

Why do dogs bite?

Dogs of all sizes and breeds may bite someone, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), for the following reasons:

  • Fear. Dogs may be afraid if someone gets too close, or they think they might be harmed. Biting out of fear is a way to keep space between the dog and whoever is getting too close.
  • Being startled. Dogs who are “startled awake may be disoriented and confused about where they are and what is going on and might bite.” Older dogs who can’t see or hear well are especially likely to be startled. Children should be taught not to wake dogs while they’re sleeping.
  • Protecting their items. Dogs may bite if they think you are going to take their toys, chews, or their food. Some dogs have strong guarding tendencies. Dogs may also bite if they think their home or someone they love is going to be attacked.
  • Frustration. Dogs may bite if they feel they are being trapped in some way or unable to reach a place or object they desire – especially if they are on a leash or being held back by their owner.
  • Agony. Dogs who are ill or injured may bite due to their pain. Owners should seek treatment for any dog who is suffering.
  • Play. “Light biting or mouthing is a common way that dogs explore the world around them and is a behavior that dogs will engage in during play,” per the AKC.

According to Canine Journal, most dogs that bite are not spayed or neutered. About a quarter of fatal dog attacks involve dogs that are chained.

What types of injuries can a dog bite cause?

Common serious dog bite injuries include:

  • Puncture wounds. These wounds, while often small, have an increased risk of infection because they are so deep.
  • Lacerations. These injuries are deeper and more serious than abrasions. They penetrate the skin layers and go into the muscle and maybe even the bone. They are caused by the ripping motion of the dog’s jaws. Medical professionals need to properly close the wounds and treat any blood loss.
  • Avulsion injuries. These are another type of ripping injury that can cause scarring and disfigurement. Avulsion injuries may be life-threatening.
  • Crush injuries. Dog bites can cause fractures to any part of the body. A dog can literally crush a child’s skull, leading to potential brain damage or permanent scarring. It is also possible for a dog bite to sever a finger, hand, arm, or other body part, or for the damage to be so extensive it is necessary to amputate.
  • Diseases. Common diseases related to dog bites include:
    • Rabies. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rabies affects the central nervous system. If not promptly treated (the treatments are severe), rabies can be fatal. All dogs should be vaccinated against rabies.
    • Tetanus. This disease may occur when, after the bite, bacteria enter the skin. Everyone should check with their doctor to have timely tetanus shots before a dog bites.
    • Infections. Infections are a major concern after a dog bite. Victims should have an ER doctor properly clean the wound and prescribe antibiotics.
  • Scarring and disfigurement. If the bite is due to a ripping action or a deep wound, the victim may have a severe disfigurement. Skin grafts and plastic surgery may be necessary. Permanent scarring and disfigurement cause severe emotional trauma in addition to physical trauma.
  • Nerve damage. Dog bites can cause different types and levels of nerve damage that may cause pain, numbness, tingling, a burning sensation, loss of nerve function, loss of motor function, partial paralysis, and other consequences.

Dog bite injuries need to be treated promptly. Parents of children and all adults should be examined immediately. If not treated properly, the injuries could worsen or cause death.

Who is liable if a dog bites your child or you in Kennewick?

Washington has a strict liability law for dog bites. RCW 16.08.040 states:

(1) 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.

(2) This section does not apply to the lawful application of a police dog, as defined in RCW 4.24.410.

The law means that dog bite victims have a claim against the dog owner if the bite occurs:

  • In the home of the dog owner
  • In the yard of the dog owner
  • In any public place where the dog is present including dog parks
  • Any retail establishment
  • Anywhere where the victim has a right to be

Victims don’t need to prove the dog owner was negligent in any way. If the dog bite occurs where the victim has a right to be, that victim can file a lawsuit.

Which Kennewick victims can file a dog bite lawsuit?

Parents file personal injury claims on behalf of their child. Adult victims file personal injury claims on their own behalf. Families have the right to file a claim, through the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, when a loved one dies due to a dog bite.

The damages in personal injury cases include compensation for all medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss of bodily function, and loss of consortium – for as long as the injuries last.

Many victims may require skin grafts and plastic surgery. Victims may also need long-term psychological care to cope with their disfigurement and any fears they have due to the dog bite.

How does insurance coverage work when dog bites happen in Southeast Washington?

Victims can always use their own health insurance to pay for their medical treatment.

The dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance is normally required to pay for any damages the owner’s dog causes – even if the dog bite occurs away from the owner’s residence. Homeowners should consider umbrella coverage in case a severe injury occurs.

Do you have a dog bite lawyer near me?

Telaré Law maintains a Kennewick office at 819 South Auburn St. We also meet accident victims in Richland. We see clients at their homes or the hospital if they are not mobile or too ill.

Get help from an experienced Kennewick, WA dog bite attorney now

Dog bite injuries require prompt medical and legal attention. At Telaré Law, we represent clients who have catastrophic and serious injuries including victims with nerve damage, disease, scarring, and disfigurement. We also represent families when a loved one dies. Our lawyers prepare each case for trial. We only recommend settlements when the offer fairly compensates you for all your losses. To discuss your rights, call our Kennewick injury lawyers at 509-737-8500 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We fight for children and adults. Our lawyers represent personal injury victims who live in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Walla Walla, Pullman, Othello, Moses Lake, Ritzville, and all Southeast Washington.

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