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  • Dog Bite Injuries
  • Feb 6th, 2024

What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury in Washington State 

Understanding Washington State's Dog Bite Injury Laws

Millions of Americans own a dog. While most dogs are loving companions, they are not always friendly. In some cases, a dog will bite and injure someone, even when unprovoked. Dog bites can cause serious, irreparable damage. Unfortunately, many times, dog bite victims are young children or elderly. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog in Washington State, it is important to talk with a personal injury attorney to determine your rights.

At Ranz Injury Law, PLLC, we represent people of all ages who were seriously injured in dog attacks in Federal Way, Tacoma, and the surrounding areas. Our dog bite injury lawyers can help you understand your rights, including your right to compensation after an attack.

If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury, contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

What Evidence Should You Collect to Support Your Dog Bite Claim?

If a dog bites you, you must provide evidence to support your case. The most important evidence is your medical records related to the attack. They provide essential details about your injuries to support compensation for your damages. Proof of your employment and income are important to obtain recovery for lost wages.

You will also want to obtain information about the dog owner. Dog owners are held liable when their dog attacks under RCW § 16.08.040. This law states that a dog owner is liable if the attack occurred in a public place or the victim was lawfully in a private place. It does not matter whether the dog previously was prone to viciousness or if the owner had knowledge of their propensity toward viciousness. 

Are Dog Owners Always Liable for Dog Bites?

Washington State laws impose strict liability on dog owners. They are generally responsible for damages if their dog bites or injures a person in a public place or in a private place where they are legally allowed to be. 

A person must have the implied or express consent of an owner to lawfully be on their property. Implied or express consent of the owner is not presumed if the person entered a property that is fenced or reasonably posted. A dog owner may not be held liable if the person attacked was trespassing or provoked the dog.

To understand your rights after an attack, it is important to speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer.

Important Facts About Washington's “Beware of Dog” Sign Law?

Washington state law (RCW § 16.08.080) states that if a dog is labeled a “dangerous dog” under Washington State law the owner must:

  1. Provide proof of a secure enclosure to confine the dog.
  2. Provide proof that they posted a “clearly visible warning sign” to announce a dangerous dog.
  3. “Conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children” that a dangerous dog is on the premises. 

What is A Dangerous Dog?

A dog who does any of the following acts could be described as a dangerous dog.  

  • Causes severe injury to someone without provocation.
  • Without provocation, killed a domestic animal while off of their owner’s property. 
  • Was labeled a “potentially dangerous dog” because of an injury inflicted on a human.

Whether or not a dog was deemed a "dangerous dog", consult with a personal injury attorney to learn your rights after an attack. 

Are All Dogs Who Bite Put Down in Washington? 

City and county animal control authorities decide how to handle dangerous dogs. Typically, they must be kept in a secured enclosure and must be muzzled and on a leash when outside their secure enclosure. 

Dogs are rarely euthanized for biting people or domesticated animals. Filing a lawsuit against a dog's owner does not impact the decisions or restrictions that animal control authorities impose on a dog or their owner.

Injured in a Dog Bite? Contact Our Office.

Did you or your loved one suffer a dog bite injury in greater Federal Way, WA? Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced legal team will guide you through the legal process and work to get you the recovery you deserve after an attack, so you can focus on your recovery and getting back to your life. 


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At Ranz Injury Law, PLLC, you can expect frequent and direct updates on your case from your attorney and direct point of contact, David Ranz.

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Federal Way, WA 98003
(206) 429-5227
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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