My child was bit by a dog, do I have a case?
Dog bite liability in Washingon state is governed under RCW 16.08.040. Specifically, it states the following:
- The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
- This section does not apply to the lawful application of a police dog, as defined in RCW 4.24.410.
Essentially, Washington dog owners are civilly liable and responsible for any damages caused by their dog. In many cases, dog bites cause severe, permanent scarring and injuries. In children, we have found that many scars actually get worse over time as their bodies and faces grow. It is very important to consult a personal injury attorney regarding your child’s dog bite case as insurance companies will not properly advise you of your rights or your children’s rights.
Homeowner’s insurance coverage does cover dog bite liability and will have liability and med pay coverage. Many times, if a renter has renter’s insurance, this too will have liability coverage for dog bites. It is very important to identify available insurance policies early in the process to understand what coverage is available for you and your child.