(360) 718-3640
Personal Injury Lawyer
Vancouver & Southwest Washington

Call A Dog Bite Attorney Who Will Fight For You

Colin Scott helps victims get justice

Being attacked by a dog is frightening experience and can leave people with serious injuries, as well as emotional trauma. But many dog owners deny responsibility, making it difficult to recover compensation. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Vancouver, WA, you need a personal injury attorney who can fight for your rights. The Scott Law Firm, PLLC serves clients throughout Clark County.

Millions of Americans suffer from dog bites every year. Children, senior citizens and postal carriers are especially vulnerable. Victims of attacks often require medical attention, and they may suffer scarring, nerve damage and PTSD. Symptoms can last a lifetime. Many victims require therapy. Attorney Colin Scott helps dog bite victims recover the compensation they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Cases In Washington

Washington has some of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to personal injury victims suffering from dog bites. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, contact our Vancouver office to schedule a free case evaluation. Dog bite attorney Colin Scott can go over your options and answer your questions. Call 360-718-3640 or contact us online.

What are the dog bite laws in Washington?

The basic law provides that dog owners are liable for dog bites, even if the dog has never bitten anyone (this concept is referred to as "strict liability"). It does not matter whether the attack occurred on public or private party, so long as the victim was there lawfully. See RCW 16.08.040. If a dog has a history of biting people, this liability is expanded. See RCW 16.08.100 (imposing criminal liability where owner was previously aware of dog's dangerous propensities). Dog owners may also be liable if they fail to properly control their dog. See RCW 16.080.090; see also Arnold v. Laird, 94 Wash.2d 867, 871, 621 P.2d 138 (1980) (dog owner liable if negligent in failing to prevent harm).

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Are there defenses in dog bite cases?

Yes, there are two main defenses: (1) provocation; and (2) trespassing. Provocation is a complete defense and must be proved by the dog's owner. See RCW 16.08.060. Trespassing must also be proved by the dog's owner, but is not a complete defense in all cases. See Brewer v. Furtwangler, 171 Wash. 617, 18 P.2d 837 (1933); see also Johnston v. Ohls, 76 Wn.2d 398, 457 P.2d 194 (1969).

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Who is the dog's legal owner?

The dog's owner is anyone (whether a person, firm, corporation, organization, or department) who possesses, harbors, keeps, has an interest in, or has custody or control of the dog. See RCW 16.08.070(7).

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Can a landlord be held responsible for a tenant's dog?

Generally, the answer is "no" unless the landlord possesses, harbors, keeps, has an interest in, or has custody or control of the dog. See RCW 16.08.070(7).

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What if I was bitten by a police dog?

Police dogs are exempt under RCW 16.08.040(2). However, this exemption only applies if the police dog was used lawfully when the attack occurred. See, e.g., Finch v. Thurston County, 45792-0-11 (Wash. Court of Appeals, Div. II, 2015).

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Is there a time limit to file a claim for a dog bite injury?

Yes, the general statute of limitations in Washington is 3 years from the date of injury, but may vary depending on the facts in your situation (such as when a child is injured). Once the statute expires, you can no longer seek compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is extremely important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can properly identify the applicable statute of limitations in your case.

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What should I do if my child is bitten by a dog?

Seek appropriate medical treatment and, in case of emergency, call 911. Then contact the local authorities and tell them everything you remember about the attack including the dog owner's name, when and where the attack occurred, nature of injuries inflicted, physical description of the dog, where the dog was last seen, names of witnesses, and anything else you can think of that will help authorities identify the dog and its owner.

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In the event of an attack, how do I obtain compensation for my injuries?

Many homeowner's insurance policies include coverage for dog bites, regardless of where the attack occurred. Depending on your situation there may be additional sources of coverage available.

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How can I report a dangerous dog in Clark County, Washington?

In case of emergency, call 911. You may also contact your local animal control services, sheriff's office, or police department.

  • Clark County Animal Control Services: 360-397-2488
  • Clark County Sheriff's Office: 360-397-2211
  • City of Washougal Police Department: 360-835-8701
  • City of Battle Ground Police Department: 360-342-5100
  • City of La Center Police Department: 360-263-2745
  • City of Ridgefield Police Department: 360-887-3556

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What are some important dog bite prevention tips?

  • Pick a dog that is a good match for your home.
  • Socialize and train your dog.
  • Neuter or spay your dog, and make sure they are vaccinated against rabies and other diseases.
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for a litter.
  • Avoid aggressive breeds.

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