Seattle Dog Bite Lawyer

A dog attack can change your life in an instant, with the resulting injuries often being severe and disfiguring, and some cases resulting in death. If this has happened to you or someone you love, it’s likely you have questions about your rights and how you’ll pay your medical bills and provide for yourself and your family.

The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee represents people who have been bitten by dogs in Seattle and the surrounding areas. We have the skill and resources you need on your side to get you the compensation you deserve.

Did you or your loved one suffer severe injuries because of a dog bite in Seattle or a surrounding area of Washington? You should know that you could be entitled to compensation for damages, and the dog owner’s homeowners insurance company will usually cover these incidents so the people you know will not be affected.

Insurance companies will try to minimize their payouts in dog bite cases, and the The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee can make sure that you receive an amount that covers all of your needs. We can examine your case when you call (206) 899-5415 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Do I Need a Dog Bite Lawyer?

Dog bites do not strike most people as being the type of injury cases that attorneys handle, but the truth is that many lawyers handle dog bite cases because they are similar to the settlement negotiations for many other kinds of injuries. Some people assume they will be able to recover more money by handling their own case, and the insurance company is very likely to encourage this line of thinking.

Insurers will typically contact victims soon after an accident, and you should expect an agent or claims adjuster to ask you to provide a recorded statement. This is usually a trap. Refrain from giving any statement to an insurance company until you have legal representation.

Some insurance companies may immediately question your actions before the bite and deny your claim on the basis that you somehow caused the dog to act the way it did. In other cases, the insurance company may offer you a lump-sum settlement.

Most likely, a representative will tell you that you can keep more money for yourself by not hiring an attorney, which is usually an empty promise because the settlement being proposed will almost certainly not go very far. You will want an attorney if you hope to recover an amount that covers all of your future bills as well as past and current ones.

Why Choose the The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee to Handle My Case?

The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee understands the complexity of dog bite cases, and we can work with people to help find resolutions that do not fracture their relationships with dog owners. Our firm can work with insurance companies to find quick resolutions to these cases so all parties can move on with their lives.

Jeffrey R. Caffee has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers every year since 2013. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, and the King County Bar Association. He was honored by The International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2009 with an Award for Advocacy for distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee assists dog bite victims in communities all over the Greater Seattle area. We represent people on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing unless you obtain a financial award.

Our firm will work toward a just settlement that covers all of your past, present, and future needs. We can also file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not extend a satisfactory offer.

Types of Dog Bite Cases We Handle

In Washington state, the owner of any dog is liable for damages when their dog bites a person in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place. This concept is known as strict liability.

The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080 gives a person three years from the date of the dog bite to begin an action for injury to their person. If a victim happens to be minor, then Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 allows for the statute of limitations to be tolled (delayed), so they have three years from the date they turn 18 years of age.

Some of the most common injuries that dog bite victims suffer include but are not limited to:

  • Amputation
  • Neck injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Eye injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Facial injuries
  • Fractures
  • Puncture wounds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over half of the 4.7 million annual dog bite victims are children.

Seattle Dog Bite Statistics

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in June 2011 that the city receives about 600 aggressive animal complaints a year, and 300 involve a bite. Seven dogs were administratively declared dangerous in 2010, which meant they either had to be euthanized or sent to live outside the city.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and public education website DogsBite.org reported that fatal dog attacks on humans from January 2005 to March 2018 included the following breeds:

  • Pit bull — 284 (65.6 percent)
  • Rottweiler — 45 (10.4 percent)
  • German shepherd — 20 (4.6 percent)
  • Mixed-breed — 17 (3.9 percent)
  • American Bulldog — 15 (3.5 percent)
  • Mastiff/bullmastiff — 14 (3.2 percent)
  • Husky — 13 (3.0 percent)
  • Labrador retriever — 9 (2.1 percent)
  • Boxer — 7 (1.6 percent)
  • Doberman pinscher — 6 (1.4 percent)
  • Malamute — 4 (0.9 percent)
  • Golden retriever — 4 (0.9 percent)
  • Heeler — 4 (0.9 percent)
  • Cane corso — 3 (0.7 percent)
  • Chow chow — 3 (0.7 percent)
  • Wolf hybrid — 3 (0.7 percent)
  • Presa canario — 2 (0.5 percent)
  • Akita — 2 (0.5 percent)
  • Australian shepherd — 2 (0.5 percent)
  • Belgian malinois — 2 (0.5 percent)

The site also reported that 20 other different dog breeds each inflicted one death.

In 2014, the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that a range of studies showed that the breeds found to be highly represented in biting incidents were German shepherds, mixed breeds, rottweilers, Jack Russell terriers, chow chows, spaniels, collies, Saint Bernards, and Labrador retrievers. The association also noted that “increased popularity is sometimes followed by increases in bite reports in some large breeds,” citing the peak in American Kennel Club registration of Rottweilers between 1990 and 1995, before the breed topped of the list of “biting breeds” a few years later in studies of bites causing hospitalization.

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project reported in a November 2010 statistical brief that 316,200 emergency department visits and 9,500 hospital stays involved dog bites in 2008. The $18,200 average cost of a hospital stay for a dog bite was about 50 percent more than the average stay for other injuries.

According to the United States Postal Service, 6,755 USPS employees were bitten by dogs in 2016. Homeowners insurance companies paid more than $686 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

Contact a Seattle Dog Bite Attorney Today

If you or your loved one sustained severe injuries because of a dog bite in the Seattle area, you should not underestimate the importance of retaining legal counsel. An experienced lawyer will know how to negotiate with an insurance company so you can receive all of the compensation you are entitled. Contact the The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee today at (206) 899-5415 for a free evaluation of your case.

FAQs

Frequently
Asked
Questions

The one bite rule is also known as the one free bite rule, and it allows dog owner to avoid liability for a dog bite when they claim to have had no knowledge of a dog’s violent tendencies. Washington is a strict liability state, so the dog owner is always liable for a dog bite unless a victim instigated a bite. State law specifically provides that a dog owner is liable for damages “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

After you have been bitten by a dog, immediately wash out your wound with soap and water before seeking medical attention. Go to a hospital even if you do not believe your bite was severe, as it is still important to get proper treatment to avoid possible infection. Ask the dog’s owner for proof of rabies vaccination. Take pictures of your wounds before they can heal. If you don’t know the dog’s owner, get their name and phone number. Be sure to contact a lawyer before you speak to any insurance company.

When you are bitten by a stray dog, you should still wash out the wound with soap and water and get medical care. There will obviously be no dog owner to collect information from, but there may be possible responsibility for the dog in some cases. For example, a stray dog that recently escaped from a local pound would make the pound liable for injuries. Similarly, a stray dog that was neglected by a known owner could still make that owner liable for the injuries.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee has years of experience handling all manner of injury cases. Our Seattle dog bite attorneys care about you and want to help you through the overwhelming challenges that you face as a victim of another person's negligence. Our firm is available at (206) 899-5415.