Dog Bite Attorneys in Vancouver
Dogs are not always friendly – just under five million people are bitten by dogs every year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. More than half of those five million are under the age of 14, and approximately 150,000 of those bites require emergency medical treatment. When a bite or attack happens, the injuries suffered can be quite severe, from severe cuts to broken bones and even brain injuries. When the victims are young or elderly, the risk of serious injury goes up dramatically – these people are weaker and more prone to serious injury. Our Vancouver dog bite lawyers know how to prove a dog owner is liable for an injury caused by his or her dog. The sooner you contact us, the more time we will have to investigate the attack, including any evidence you collected and your medical records. There is no obligation to take action after meeting with us for a free legal consultation. We also take cases on contingency so there are no fees unless we recover fair compensation on your behalf.
Our Vancouver personal injury lawyers have helped many injury victims recover compensation. This has helped them move forward with their lives and avoid a financial catastrophe. While it does not change what happened, compensation can help victims deal with the damages they have suffered.
Contact Rizk Law today by completing a Free Case Evaluation form.
Why Do Dogs Attack?
Some breeds of dogs are considered more dangerous than others. This is mainly because statistics on dog bites and attacks show that some breeds of dogs are overrepresented. For example, did you know that pit bulls killed 284 people between 2005 and 2017?
Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers contributed to 76 percent of total recorded deaths from dog bites or attacks. Other dangerous breeds, according to statistics, include:
- German shepherd
- American bulldog
- Doberman pinscher
- Labrador retriever
However, this does not mean if you see any of these breeds of dogs you are automatically going to be attacked. Sometimes dogs are aggressive because they have been abused by their owners. Other times dogs bite when they are playing with their owners and they think it is OK to do with other people.
Other reasons for biting can include:
- Possessiveness – Dogs feel a strong urge to protect their owners, property, toys, food and territory. This can result in aggressive behavior when they think someone is trying to take a possession. You may have seen dogs fight over possession of a toy.
- Fear of strangers – Startling a dog, particularly a strange dog you do not know is a bad idea. It is instinct for dogs to lash out at people who sneak up on them.
- Maternal instinct – If a dog has puppies, you have to be very careful handling puppies because the mother could become angry if she thinks a puppy is in danger.
- Provoking the dog – You should never taunt or do anything that could provoke a dog to attack you. Do not throw things at the dog, pull his or her tail, or run right toward a dog.
Dog owners can be held liable for dog attacks under certain circumstances. In Vancouver, dogs must be leashed at all times when outside their owner’s property unless they are in a designated off-leash dog park. This is why you could benefit from a meeting with a Vancouver dog bite lawyer.
Types of Injuries from Dog Attacks
A dog bite can cause severe or possibly permanent injury, depending on the location of the bite and the size of the dog. This can include:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and smaller cuts
- Sprains and other soft-tissue injuries
- Brain injuries, from the dog pulling you down to the ground during the attack
- Infections like rabies or cellulitis
If you get bit by a dog, you can take immediate steps to try to stabilize the bite, such as placing a clean towel over the wound, washing it with soap and water and applying a bandage.
However, no matter how minor the injury appears to be, the dog could have been carrying an infection. It is also best to err on the side of caution and seek treatment. This way all your injuries can be treated and diagnosed. If you have an infection it is best to get it treated immediately. That can drastically improve your chances of overcoming the infection.
Find out how we can help you with your dog bite by calling 503.245.5677.
Washington Law on Dog Bites
Some states make it difficult to hold a dog owner liable for a bite or attack. For instance, in some states, owners are not liable unless they knew or should have known the dog was dangerous. These types of rules are known as one bite rules.
However, in Washington, things are not nearly as complicated. Under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 16.08.040, owners are liable for damages from dog bites that occur on public or private property, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of viciousness.
As long as the victim had a legal right to be on the property, the owner is liable for the victim's damages. This is why the at-fault party or his or her attorneys may argue you did not have a right to be on the property, maybe by saying you were trespassing.
Another section of the law clarifies what is meant by being lawfully on the property at the time of the attack. You have this status if you are there with the express or implied permission of the owner. However, you cannot presume to have consent when the owner's property is fenced in.
The at-fault party may try to claim you provoked the dog to avoid liability. Under state law, if the owner can provide proof that the dog was provoked, it is a complete defense from liability.
Dangerous Dog Laws
Although you do not need to prove a dog is dangerous to recover compensation, Washington still has laws governing the ownership of these animals.
Under state law, the animal control authority of the city or county where the owner has the dangerous dog can issue a certificate of registration to the owner if he or she has evidence of the following:
- An enclosure for the dog and a clearly visible sign of a dangerous dog on the property
- A conspicuously displayed sign with a warning symbol alerting children to the dangerous dog
- A surety bond from an insurance company in a form that is accepted by the animal control authority – the bond must be worth at least $250,000 to cover personal injuries caused by the dog
Vancouver Municipal Code (VMC) 8.24.166 also has its own enclosure requirements for owners to abide by. Dangerous dogs must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed or locked pen or structure that is suitable to prevent a dog from escaping and young children from entering the structure.
The pen or structure must be six-sided and have secure sides, a secured top and a secure bottom. It needs to also provide protection from the elements for the dog.
If you were attacked by a dangerous dog, we may be able to pursue compensation from this surety bond for your injuries.
Contact our Vancouver dog bite lawyers right now at 503.245.5677 for a free legal consultation.
Preventing Dog Bites
In 2018, Animal Control Officers in Clark County responded to 250 reports of dog bites and over 1,000 reports of vicious dog behavior. To avoid being bitten by a dog, Animal Protection and Control has offered several safety tips when encountering a dog and what to do if a dog suddenly attacks.
Ask the dog owner first if it is OK to pet their dog. Allow the dog to smell your scent and then proceed to gently pet the dog’s sides or back. It is important to never sneak up on a dog while it is eating or sleeping as you could startle or frighten it.
Dogs are also protective of their toys and may bite you if they believe you are taking away their toys. Even approaching a dog behind a fence or contained in a pen may seem innocent enough, but dogs are territorial and may think you are invading their space.
If a dog does attack, it is vital that you remain calm, still, quiet and avoid eye contact. Avoid turning your back or running away because a dog’s instinct will be to chase and try to catch you. In the event you have fallen or are knocked to the ground, do your best not to scream or move around. Curl into a ball and use your arms to protect your neck and the back of your head.
Using a jacket or anything on you to cover the dog’s head may also create enough distraction for the dog to lose interest and stop biting.
The attorneys at Rizk Law are well-versed in dog bite cases and how to establish liability for your injuries.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today to get started.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in Vancouver Right Away
Have you been bitten by a dog?
You should consider meeting with a Vancouver dog bite lawyer for a free legal consultation. We may be able to pursue compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you suffered, such as medical expenses, humiliation, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
There is a time limit for pursuing compensation, so it is best to contact us as soon as possible to review your situation and determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit you will be unable to do so. Even if you can file a case, it will most likely be dismissed.
We take dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay us unless you are compensated.