Lakewood Dog Bite Lawyers
If you or someone you love was injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, Briggs & Briggs is here to help. Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend, but all too often, they turn vicious and attack unsuspecting humans. Dog bites can cause serious injuries and future medical complications, especially if they become infected. In some cases, particularly if the victim is a small child and the dog is large, they can be fatal. Pet owners are expected to take reasonable steps to keep their animals from injuring others, but some, unfortunately, fail to live up to this expectation, causing serious injuries to passersby or guests on their property.
At Briggs & Briggs, our Lakewood dog bite attorneys believe that pet owners should be held responsible for the injuries their dogs or other animals cause to innocent people. As an experienced personal injury firm serving Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton for over sixty years, we know what it takes to prove liability in a dog bite case and hold the party responsible financially accountable. Contact us today at (253) 588-6696 for a consultation.
Types of Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites
Dogs’ jaws pack some serious power. Because of the sharpness of their teeth and the force of their bites, dogs who attack humans can cause a number of serious injuries, including:
- Skin lacerations and puncture wounds
- Severe bleeding
- Broken bones
- Muscle damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Infections, especially if the wound is not properly treated
Any of these injuries can have a huge impact on your life and take a long time to recover from, and some can even be fatal. Injuries are even worse in cases in which large dogs attack small, defenseless children.
Seeking Medical Attention after a Dog Bite
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you think you are okay, you do not want to risk infection or other medical complications. You should also save all documentation and receipts, which you will use as proof that the attack happened and of the amount you spent in medical bills. These records will be an extremely important part of your case down the road.
Who is liable when a dog attacks?
Generally speaking, any pet owner is considered to be responsible for their pet’s actions. In some states, holding a dog owner liable involves showing that they did something negligent in failing to keep their dog from injuring others. In Washington State, however, dog bites fall under the legal category of ‘strict liability.’ Under state law, a dog owner is presumed to be liable for any injuries their dog causes, unless the injured person was trespassing or knowingly provoked the dog.
In many Washington State dog bite cases, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about liability. It does not matter if the owner kept the dog chained up, knew about its previous behavior, or anything else. It does not even matter if this is the first time the dog has ever bitten someone. If you were lawfully on public property or invited to be on the owner’s property, and if you did not intentionally provoke the dog, the owner can be held liable. However, since these are the only two defenses available to dog owners in Washington, the owner may try to claim that you actually were trespassing or provoking the dog, even if you were not.
Other Animal Attacks
Dogs are not the only animals that can attack humans. Some people keep cats, ferrets, or other, more exotic pets. Smaller animals may seem less harmful, but their attacks can still lead to serious injury, especially if bite wounds become infected. If you have been attacked by an animal other than a dog, Briggs & Briggs can still help. After a free consultation, we will help determine the best course of action in your case, which may include filing a personal injury suit against the pet owner.
Recovering Damages in a Personal Injury Suit
Dog bite cases are a type of personal injury case, and the plaintiff has the potential to recover similar damages as in other types of personal injury cases, such as car accident cases. These damages can extend to practically any part of your life and finances that your dog bite injury impacted, including:
- Medical bills
- Any damage to your property
- Injuries to your own dog, if it was attacked by the other dog
- Lost wages, if you missed work during your recovery
- Future lost income, if the attack left you disabled
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, if your loved one was killed by the dog attack
- Other miscellaneous, recovery-related expenses such as transportation
Even if you were lawfully on the property where the attack happened and you were not provoking the dog, the owner will likely try to downplay the seriousness of your injuries, the extent of your suffering, and the amount you spent on recovery in order to reduce the amount they will have to pay you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you to prove your damages definitively and therefore increase your chances of a higher court judgment or settlement.
Recovering from a dog bite is difficult. Even as the physical wounds heal and you begin to get back to your normal life, you may be forever afraid of man’s best friend. Whatever injuries you have suffered on the outside or inside as a result of a dog or other animal attack, you don’t have to face this time alone. Briggs & Briggs can help.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, the Lakewood Washington personal injury lawyers of Briggs & Briggs are here to help. With over sixty years of experience as a firm, our lawyers have the know-how to hold pet owners responsible for the injuries their animals cause. For more information on how we can help, call us now at (253) 588-6696.