Although many dog owners enjoy walking their dogs, they are responsible if their dog bites someone unexpectedly. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of dog owners, their dogs can sometimes get overexcited and aggressive when seeing other dogs and crowds of people at the park.
Some of Washington’s most popular dog parks include Hays Park, Friendship Park, Valley Mission Dog Park, and High Bridge Park. This article will tell you what to do if you are attacked at a dog park in Washington.
Who is Liable for Dog Bites in Washington?
If you are bitten by a dog in Washington, you can claim compensation from the dog owner. Even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner is still liable for damages suffered by the victim if it was proved that (a) the injury came from a dog bite and (b) the victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
Does this Apply to Dog Walkers?
No matter if the dog is with a dog walker when the incident happens, the dog’s owner is still responsible. Dog walkers often frequent dog-friendly parks, and if the dog bites anyone, the owner is liable to pay the victim compensation.
Bringing in Dogs at Your Own Risk
Many dog parks have a sign stating that owners should bring in dogs (and other animals) at their own risk. This simply tells you that the park owner or park management is not responsible for injuries caused by dog bites at the park. You can still claim compensation from the dog owner if the dog bites you.
Other Things to Know
Washington has strict laws concerning dog owner’s liability. The owner is liable even if the dog bite occurred in the owner’s home.
While Washington does not officially have a Leash Law, keeping your dog on a leash that does not exceed 8 feet while walking the dog in a dog park is recommended. You can take off the leash if the dog is on your private property.
What Should I Do if a Dog Bites Me?
You will likely be alarmed and disoriented if a dog bites you. You should take the following steps without delay.
- Ask for Medical Attention
Call 911 immediately. No matter if the injuries are serious or not, it is always wise to have them examined and treated by a doctor who has experience handling dog bites.
- Get the Contact Details of the Dog Owner
It is essential to get the dog owner’s name and details about the dog and its breed. Also, ask for the home address and the name of their insurance company.
- Look for Witnesses
If anyone has witnessed the attack, get their names and contact information. They can help recount the incidents if testimony is required to help you claim compensation. They might also have seen previous incidents involving the same dog in the past, which shows that it is prone to aggressive behavior.
- Collect Evidence
You may ask someone to take photos of the dog and the dog owner. Also, take pictures of any other damage caused.
- Report the incident
There are animal control services in Pierce County, King County, Kitsap County, and Thurston County where you can file a dog bite complaint. It will help with filing a case for compensation.
Don’t let a dog bite incident go unreported. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Edmonds if you are attacked by a dog in Washington. You can claim a sizeable sum in damages if you are the victim of a dog bite.