Personal Injury Attorney Kent WA

Dog Bite Attorney Kent WA

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Personal Injury Attorney
Kent WA

Law Offices of Mark McClure
1103 W Meeker St #101, Kent WA 98032
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Dog Bite Attorney Kent WA

Dog Bites

In the United States there is an estimated 78.2 million dogs owned. Although most of these dogs are nonaggressive, well trained and well behaved, if they are angry, agitated, scared, or fell threatened, they too can bite. Of a greater concern to the safety of the public are thousands and maybe even millions of dogs that are genetically predisposed to violent behavior, out of control, or aggressive. In the United States, every year, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites. Almost 880,000 dog bites are severe enough that they need medical attention immediately and some 30,000 dog bite victims are required to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Rottweiler's and pit bull terriers are by far the two most deadly dog breeds in the United States. Over a 20 year span, these dogs have committed a disproportional amount of deaths. Although Rottweiler's and pit bulls comprise less than 5% of the total dog population in the United States, these two breeds account for over 66% of all dog attacks that cause death.

The genetics of the breed is the primary factor that leaves victims with disfiguring, permanent injuries although the environment also plays a role that makes a dog dangerous. There are other fighting breeds of dogs, including the bullmastiff , the presa canario, and the husky, the wolf hybrid, the German shepherd, and the akita that also pose a serious to the safety of the public although these breed are far less common.

The Law office of Mark McClure, P.S. represents dog bite victims in the Washington area in dog bite cases against landlords that knew that their tenants were harboring dogs that were dangerous, dog harborers, dog keepers, and dog owners. We can help you obtain financial compensation for your damages, such as pain and suffering and other injuries.

The Dog Bite Statistics in 2012

  • There were 38 dog attacks that caused death in the United States. Of these, 34% of all deaths involved more than one dog and Rottweiler's and pit bulls caused 69% of these deaths.
  • 50% of the victims were children who were no more than 8 years old and the remaining 50% were adults who were 21 years old, or older.
  • Of the total children who died, 61% of those victims were males who were no more than 8 years old, and 79% were no more than 2 years old.
  • 32% of all dog bite victims were either temporarily living or visiting with the owner of the dog.

Dog Bite Statistics in 2011

  • There were 31 fatal dog attacks. 39% of all deaths involved more than one dog and Rottweiler's and pit bulls were responsible for 84% of the fatalities.
  • The number of child victims were half that of adult victims of pit bulls that caused death. There was also an increase in the number of pit bulls killing their owners in 2011.
  • Of the bites to children that cause death, 62% occurred to children who were no older the one year old.
  • 74% of all dog bite incidents happened on the property of the dog owner.

The Prevention of Dog Bites

  • Never try to pet a dog through an auto window or a fence or approach a dog that is unfamiliar.
  • Should a confrontation occur, never scream, avoid eye contact with the dog, and freeze.
  • Curl up into a ball after dropping to the ground and protect your head and face with your arms should the dog lunge.
  • Don't turn your back to a dog and run. Very slowly, move away backwards or sideways.
  • In order to prevent tail or ear pulling or biting, don't leave an unsupervised small child or an infant with a dog.
  • Never disturb a dog while caring for puppies, chewing on a toy, eating, or sleeping.
  • Always obtain permission from the owner before petting a dog. Don't' startle or tease a dog, and don't get your face close to a dog.
  • Let the dog come to you rather than running toward a dog. Before you attempt to pet the dog, always allow the dog to sniff you.
  • You should always be alert for possible dangerous situations.

Warning Signs Prior to an Attack

You might have a gut feeling at the first sign of trouble. You need immediate intervention for anything about the body language or the behavior of a dog that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Usually, dangerous dogs will display the following postures to signal their intention to act aggressively:

The dog's ears will be laid back against the head before a fear aggression attack. The body will frequently tremble, be very low to the ground, and be tense. In order to allow a fast retreat, the dog may lean so that the center of gravity is over his rear legs. There will be very little movement and the tail of the dog will be completely tucked between the legs. The lips will be somewhat curled baring teeth and the nose will be wrinkled. The dog might growl or whine. The fur on the back of the dog might be standing up. The eyes will be averted to avoid a direct stare and will be narrowed.

The ears of the dog will be tilted forward and erect during a dominant aggression threat. The body and legs of the dog will be stiff and so that the dog can charge or lunge forward rapidly, the weight of the dog will be centered over the front legs. The tail might be moving back and forth and will be raised and stiff. The lips will be retracted exposing the gums and teeth and the nose will be wrinkled. The dog might assert an aggressive bark or a low growl. The on the back of the dog might stand on edge. The dog will make direct eye contact with the person.

What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog

Even if the injuries aren't severe, anybody who has been injured by a dog bite needs to contact a reputable personal injury attorney shortly after you do the following:
  • Obtain medical treatment quickly. Dog bites can result in considerable damage to nerves, tendons, muscles, and tissues beneath the skin that might not be readily apparent. Rabies, and tetanus as well as other infections have to be considered.
  • It is important to identify names, addresses and telephone numbers of the owner of the dog as well as any witnesses, in addition to the insurance information of the homeowner.
  • Report the incident to the authorities at animal control. This is particularly important if you don't know who owns the dog and the dog wasn't wearing a license tag. You will be documenting your case by filing a report, which will help to determine the rabies immunization status of the dog and if the dog has bitten before.
  • Take photographs of your bloody or worn clothing, the location of the attack ,and the injuries you sustained including bruises.
  • Never provide recorded or written statements to the representative of the insurance without having an attorney present. This information that you provide to the insurance company can be detrimental to your case. Insurance companies aren't the friends of injured claimants.
  • Never make their job easier by giving them the information that they can manipulate or use to deny your claim.
  • Never depend on any insurance company to protect your interests. The main objective of the insurance companies' is to make a profit. They do this by denying claims and collecting insurance premiums. The amount of money that the insurance companies pay out is limited by their attorneys, investigators, and adjusters.

The Definition of Possible Dangerous Dog

The law in the state of Washington defines a possibly dangerous dog as any dog that when unprovoked:
  1. Inflicts bites on a domestic animal or a human on either private or public or private property
  2. A dog that has a known disposition, tendency, or propensity to threaten the safety of domestic animals or humans, attack unprovoked that causes injury, or approaches or chases a person upon any public ground, such as the sidewalks or the streets a menacing fashion of attack.

Definition of a Dog that is Dangerous

A dangerous dog is any dog that when unprovoked:
  1. Inflicts severe injury on a human being on private or public property.
  2. Kills a domestic animal while the dog is off of the property of the owner
  3. Because of an injury inflicted on the owner, and that owner has received notice of the dog, and has been previously found to be possibly dangerous and the dog again endangers the safety of humans and bites aggressively.

The Dog Bite Statute in the State of Washington

Washington State has statute for dog bites is favorable to victims of dog bites. For dog bites, there are two laws that govern the liability of the owner:

Under the first rule is that a dog is allowed one free bite and the owner or keeper or owner of the dog can't be held liable provided that the keeper or owner wasn't negligent in their actions to control the dog. This rule won't not protect the owner if that owner was in violation of other protective dog laws including if the owner has the propensity to be dangerous and the owner should have known, or knew about the dangerous behavior of the dog or leash laws. A dangerous propensity may be established if the following behaviors are evident:
  • The dog usually snaps at people.
  • The owner has warned other people that the dog bites.
  • The dog is wearing a muzzle.
However, this conventional clearly doesn't address the threats from overly aggressive dogs, such as Rottweiler's and pit bulls as the fatal or life threatening is frequently the first known dangerous behavior by the dog in question.

The law makes the handler, keeper, harbor, or owner of the dog directly liable for the injuries that were sustained by a person while the person was lawfully on private property including the property of the dog's owner, regardless of the previous danger or the dog or the knowledge of that danger by the owner or in a public place.

Simple ownership of the dog is the basic premise of the strict liability law. You are legally responsible for the injuries to the victim should your dog bite somebody, regardless if you didn't violate any other dog laws, you weren't negligent in any manner, or it was the dog's first bite.

However, there is some protection to the owner of the dog provided by the strict liability law. If any of the following conditions exist, the owner of the dog can't be held liable if the dog bites somebody:
  • The person bitten was a trespasser on the property that the dog occupied.
  • The person bit was assaulting, abusing, or tormenting the dog.
In the State of Washington, it is unlawful for the owner of a dangerous dog to have that dog without a certificate of registration that was issued by the county or city in which the owner maintains that dangerous dog. The owner of the dog has to maintain a liability surety bond or insurance policy for a minimum of $250,000, payable to anybody who is injured by the dangerous dog, post the property with clearly visible warning signs that includes a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property, and provide a proper enclosure to confine the dangerous dog.

The Need for an Attorney

It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney if you have been bitten by a dog. Some of the services that an experienced dog bite attorney include:
  • Conduct all communications with the insurance company of the homeowner.
  • Locate, investigate, locate and preserve the witnesses, and evidence prior to the evidence being lost, altered, or witnesses vanishing or the as well as prior to the witnesses before the evidence is destroyed, altered, or lost.
  • Identifying the recovery sources so that your losses can be properly compensated for during in your recovery.
  • Collect all documentation that will support you injury claim, such as wage loss information and medical records.
  • Negotiate with the representative of the object insurance company to ensure a fair settlement of your claim.
  • Provide a video presentation of the defendant's dog ipossibly potentially the most powerful evidence to determine if the dog has tendencies that are aggressive.
  • Skillfully navigate your case through the difficulties of the court system.
  • Provide powerful evidence, like a video presentation of the dog of the defendant and the required legal base. During a professional evaluation if the dog displays vicious or dangerous or vicious propensities during a professional evaluation, each member of the jury will be allowed to fully experience that behavior at trial.
  • Aggressively ensure that all deadline dates are met and protect your interests. Relieve you from the burden of dealing with the difficulties of having to deal with an accident alone, and answer any questions that you might have.

Dog Bite Case, Possible Damages Awarded

An experienced personal injury attorney will pursue all different types of claims for their clients who were injured by a dog bite. Compensatory damages are all about placing the victim of a dog bite where that victim would have been before the accident. The other goal is to restore the victim emotionally, financially, and physically. Compensatory damages are comprised of financial gain called special damages and non-financial called general damages.

The Special Damages Include:

  1. If your injuries interferes with your ability to earn or make money and are long term you might have an additional claim against the owner of the dog. Depending on your injuries, your reduction in income capacity might be permanent or temporary. You might never be able to work again or return to your old job if you are permanently injured. An attorney who looks for you can and will put together the right economic and vocational experts to ensure that those losses are included in your claim for your dog bite.
  2. An injured person might recover damages for the expense of prescription medication, diagnostic studies, reconstructive surgery, physician visits, hospitalization, and emergency room care. You should be reimbursed for future medical care in addition to your current medical expenses. That medical care might also include permanent disability expenses including costs for artificial limbs, permanent housing in a nursing home, and a wheelchair.

The General Damages Include:

  1. The severity, nature, and duration of your treatment as well as your , nature, severity and pain and suffering are important factors in determining your damages for pain and suffering. The attorney representing you must have a complete understanding of how the injury impacts your everyday activities in order to determine the damages that you are entitled to.
  2. You can also seek damages for your loss of enjoyment of life in personal injury lawsuits. Damages for the loss of enjoyment of life are different than damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and suffering refers to the direct pain that resulted from the injuries that you received due to the dog bite. Loss of enjoyment of life refers to the emotional, physical, and psychological, damage that you have endured as the result of your dog bite injury. For instance, you can be further compensated as the result of never being able to work again or hear your children again or generally enjoy your life the way that you once did after a dog attack. Catastrophic injuries, such as permanent disfigurement and disability might also victims of a dog bite for this particular kind of compensation.
  3. Although pain and suffering are frequently confused with emotional distress and mental anguish they are different. Emotional distress and mental anguish involve emotional injury, while pain and suffering involves physical injury. It isn't uncommon for a dog bite victim to experience physical pain in addition to action some type of emotional distress. An injured party might be entitled to compensation for mental anguish such as embarrassment, shame, mental suffering, grief, shock, anxiety, fear, shame and fear as the result of a traumatic dog bite.

Contact Us Today

We will take the time to determine what is going on in your life by listening to you at the Law Office of Mark McClure. We will also treat you with respect and dignity. The last thing that you need is to feel judged during these difficult times. We understand that all you need is some help. Dog Bite laws are laws that protect you and your family. Obtain some information by contacting our office. The insurance companies have attorneys and you should too.

Call (253) 631-6484 and ask for Mark McClure. We are available to help and to listen.

© 2014 Law Office of Mark McClure ★ info@personalinjurywa.netPersonal Injury Attorney
1103 W Meeker St #101, Kent WA 98032 ★ Phone: (253) 631-6484