Quick Action is Key After A Dog Bite Attack

dog bite attack yakima


Dog bite injuries can be both frightening and painful, often resulting in severe injuries including scarring, disfigurement, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites every year with 800,000 people requiring medical attention. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay at more than $18,000.

A victim of a dog bite may be able to sue a dog owner, caretaker of the dog, or someone who “harbors” the dog. At Abeyta Nelson Injury Law, we use our considerable experience to protect the rights of our clients who have suffered injuries caused by dog bites.

Have You Been Bitten by a Dog?

Recently, Abeyta Nelson successfully resolved a dog bite case for Wendy N., who wrote, “…not only was the financial settlement much larger than I ever anticipated it would be, I was also very pleased and pleasantly surprised with the amount of emotional support you provided… you took my case very seriously, always quickly responded to any inquiries I had, and treated me with the utmost dignity and respect. Knowing that you were advocating for me really helped me cope with this unfortunate experience.”

Thank you, Wendy, for trusting Abeyta Nelson with your case.

Treating a Dog Bite:

  1. Clean the Wound: Rinse the bite area thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Use a clean cloth or sterile bandage to apply pressure if the wound is bleeding.
  2. Apply Antiseptic: After cleaning, apply an antiseptic solution or antibiotic ointment to the wound to prevent infection. Cover it with a sterile bandage.
  3. Monitor for Infection: Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or drainage. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
  4. Seek Medical Attention: Depending on the severity of the bite, it may be necessary to seek medical help. Deep wounds, puncture wounds, or those on the face, hands, or feet often require medical attention to prevent complications and diseases.
  5. Get Vaccinated: Ensure that your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date, particularly if the wound is deep or contaminated.

Legal Action:

  1. Identify the Dog Owner: If you’ve been bitten by a dog, try to identify the owner. Get their contact information if possible.
  2. Document the Incident: Take photos of your injuries and gather any witness contact information. Documentation of medical treatment and expenses is also crucial.
  3. Consult with an Attorney: If you’ve suffered significant injuries, medical bills, lost wages, or emotional distress due to the dog bite, it’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases.
  4. Understand Your Rights: A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal rights, including the possibility of filing a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy to cover your damages.
  5. Negotiation or Litigation: Your attorney will advise you on whether negotiation with the dog owner’s insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit is the best course of action to obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
  6. Statute of Limitations: Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in your jurisdiction. It’s essential to act promptly to preserve your legal rights.

What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Typically, dogs cause injuries to the legs, hands, and face, with children being particularly susceptible. Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, varying in severity. Among the most prevalent are:

  • Facial injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Scars
  • Eye injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Punctured wounds
  • Infections
  • Tissue damage

The Yakima County Code (YCC) Chapter 8.36, known as the “dog control ordinance,” defines “physical injury” as substantial pain or impairment directly caused by a dog’s behavior. It encompasses cuts, scrapes, punctures, scratches, and other signs of injury, excluding bites (YCC § 8.36.020).

What Constitutes a Potentially Dangerous Dog in Yakima, WA?

Yakima County Code provides its own criteria for a “potentially dangerous dog” concerning dog bites. According to YCC § 8.36.020, such a dog:

  • Bites or injures an individual or domestic animal without provocation on private or public property or approaches individuals in a menacing manner, displaying aggression or an attack attitude on public grounds.
  • Is known or should be known by the owner to have a predisposition to attack or pose a danger to individuals or domestic animals without provocation or cause injury.

If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog in Yakima, seek advice from a lawyer familiar with local ordinances and state laws. Our Yakima dog bite attorneys are ready to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.

Defenses Against Dog Bite Claims in Washington

Dog owners often employ defenses to evade liability for dog bites. The owner may avoid liability if they can prove:

  • You were trespassing during the bite incident. Under Washington law, compensation for dog bite injuries is generally granted if you were lawfully present on private property at the time.
  • You provoked the dog, but the owner must provide evidence of provocation.
  • Visible warning signs indicated the presence of a dangerous dog on the property.

If the dog owner is using any of these defenses, consult a lawyer to safeguard your legal rights and pursue the best outcome in your case.

What Dog Owners Must Know: Statutory Liability Under Washington State

Washington does not have a “one free bite” law. Rather, Washington is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. Under Washington’s dog bite statute, RCW 16.08.040, a dog owner will be strictly liable for dog bite injuries if the injured person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place and the injured person did not provoke the dog. Under Washington law, a person will be usually found to be a dog’s owner if that person possessed, controlled, and cared for the dog.

Non-Owners and Dog Harborers: Common Law Liability

Under Washington law, anyone who harbors or keeps a dog can be held liable for injuries caused by the dog. To be considered a “harborer” a person must do more than allow the dog to resort on their property. The harborer must treat the dog as living at their home and undertake to control its actions. Evidence of feeding and providing shelter for the dog would be facts helpful to establish harboring.

Violations of Local Laws and Ordinances

Under Washington law, cities and counties may create local rules with respect to dog bite liability in order to protect public safety. For example, Yakima City Code § 6.18.020 makes it “unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog within the city of Yakima”. The violation of the city code may constitute evidence of negligence and make the pit bull owner liable for any injury caused by the dog.

Examples of dog bite cases may include a variety of scenarios, including a young girl visiting her grandmother and while playing outside is attacked by a neighbor’s dog; a man is at the park with his own dog and is attacked by an unleashed dog in the same park; a dog owner fails to control and warn of a dangerous dog and the dog attacks a mail carrier while delivering the mail.

If you or someone you love has been bitten or attacked, you should take immediate action to protect your rights and claims. It is important to identify the dog and the dog owner as soon as possible. You should also notify animal control and the police and have them do a report. Take pictures of the injury and contact any witnesses who may have seen the attack. Any evidence you can collect immediately will be helpful in pursuing your case. Most dog owners who own their own home will have homeowners insurance that will provide compensation to pay for medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

Hire Our Dog Bite Attorneys in Yakima

The lawyers at Abeyta Nelson Injury Law successfully handle dog bite cases against both owners and harborers of dogs and dangerous pit bulls, achieving justice for our clients and recovering just compensation for their injuries. Remember, there is no charge to discuss your case with us and never an attorney’s fee unless we win your case.

Fill out our form or call us at 509-404-0287 to get started.

Last : Ready to Road Trip? Next : Six Steps to Take After an Accident