What to Do After a Dog Bite

WA Dog Bite Law

In Washington, a dog owner is responsible for damages caused by their dog biting a victim (RCW 16.08.040). This is true regardless of whether the victim was on public or private property, even in the dog owner’s home, so long as the victim was there lawfully. It is also true whether or not the dog has a history of attacking.

If you’re a dog owner, you can take some basic steps to lower the chances that your dog injures someone. Ensuring that your dog is properly trained and keeping the dog leashed are two ways to help prevent dog attacks.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

If you have been bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is get to a safe place and put distance between you and the animal. Then, you should get medical care. Dog bites can cause bacterial infection, fractured bones, muscle or nerve damage, or even serious conditions like rabies. You may need a tetanus shot, antibiotics, or other care that can’t be done without seeing a medical professional.

After providing for your own health and safety, you should identify the dog and its owner, collecting names, contact information, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses, get their contact information, too. You should also collect relevant photos, documenting your injuries and the scene of the incident.

You should also consider reporting the incident to animal control authorities. In Kitsap County, to report an incident or file a complaint involving a domestic animal, call 911. Know that whether you file a lawsuit down the line has no bearing on the consequences for the animal; those decisions are made by animal control.

Getting Legal Representation

Dog bites are often covered under homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, but communicating with insurance companies can be difficult and stressful. Insurance companies may also offer settlement amounts that don’t fully compensate you for your injuries.

The best course of action is to reach out to a personal injury attorney familiar with dog bite cases. At Becker Franklin Rovang, we have experience representing dog bite victims and have obtained excellent results. If you are injured by a dog, don’t wait to contact us for your free consultation.