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Putnam Lieb Potvin Dailey

Facing the aftermath of a dog attack

Dogs can be loving and irreplaceable members of the family. They provide companionship and comfort as well as other services. When a dog receives kind attention and loving discipline, it can be an asset. However, dogs whose owners do not take the time or effort to teach, train and restrain their pets may create a situation that places you and others in danger.

Nearly five million people in Washington and across the U.S. are victims of dog bites each year, with millions seeking emergency treatment and over 27,000 suffering injuries so severe they result in disfiguring scars or the need for reconstructive surgery. If a dog has bitten you or your child, you will want to know your rights and your options for pursuing the compensation you need and deserve.

Tending to your injuries

A dog attack can happen seemingly without warning or provocation. Most often, the victims of dog attacks are between ages five and nine. While any breed of dog can act aggressively and cause injuries during an attack, it is logical to assume that larger, heavier breeds with strong jaws can inflict considerably more damage, especially to a small person like a child. When you arrive at the emergency room with wounds from a dog bite, the doctor will likely prioritize your injuries, for example:

  • Stop the wounds from bleeding
  • Determine if the bite caused damage to your nerves, bones or muscles
  • Take steps to prevent infection
  • Assess the damage to your skin

Infection is a tremendous risk for any bite that breaks the skin, even if the wound is not severe. A dog's mouth carries many bacteria, potentially including Streptococcus and rabies. Additionally, while you may be concerned about disfiguring scars, your doctor will be more focused on any damage that may limit your ability to function, such as nerve damage that may prevent you from moving your fingers.

Your options for seeking justice

If you were in a public place or legitimately invited onto private property when an unprovoked dog attack occurred, you may have legal options for obtaining compensation that could help you with the medical bills you will likely face because of your injuries. Washington law holds negligent dog owners strictly liable for the actions of their dogs. With the assistance of an attorney who has experience in dog bite and other personal injury claims, you may have a better chance of obtaining what you deserve.

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