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Can a Restaurant Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite on Their Premises?


In many parts of the world, restaurant owners have become more pet-friendly by welcoming dogs into their premises, providing water bowls, and even allowing pets to sit on chairs, making it a public trend. Many dog owners love taking their dogs out with them to enjoy dining out, but what happens when a dog bite occurs on the restaurant premises? Can the restaurant owner be held liable for the injury sustained by the victim in Washington state?

If you were bitten by a dog at a restaurant, you might be able to sue the owner of the restaurant and/or the dog owner for any damages suffered. Our Seattle dog bite lawyers at Emerald Law Group are here to help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled as a dog bite victim.

Many Restaurants Are Pet-Friendly

Pet-friendly restaurants have become a norm in many places worldwide. These establishments welcome pets and provide dog treats, and sometimes, even cater to them by providing special dog food menus. Pet owners find it fun to bring their furry companions as it is an opportunity to bond outdoors with their dogs. However, the risk of dog bites may not immediately come to mind when dining out with pets.

Why a Dog Bite Incident May Occur at a Restaurant

Dog bite incidents at restaurants can happen due to a variety of reasons. For one, dogs can become aggressive when feeling threatened or when they are defending their owner. In crowded or noisy places, a dog may often feel threatened, causing them to lash out and bite. Also, some dog owners may not adequately train their dogs, causing them to pose a risk to others who come into contact with them.

Can a Restaurant Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite on Their Premises?

In some cases, yes, the restaurant owner can be held responsible for a dog bite that happens on their premises. If the pet owner’s dog bites another person, the victim may be able to get compensation from the restaurant owner, if the restaurant was negligent in allowing the dog on the premises.  The most common situation would be if the restaurant owner knew that the dog had a history of agression or biting.

Note: Washington’s dog bite statutes are favorable to victims of dog bite incidents. Under RCW § 16.08.040, dog owners are held strictly liable for any damages suffered by bitten victims, even if the dog had no history of viciousness before.  But to hold a restaurant owner to be held liable, the victim would have to prove that the restaurant were somehow negligent.

What to Do if You Were Bitten by a Dog at a Restaurant?

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog at a restaurant, seeking legal counsel may be the best decision you make. It is vital to hire a lawyer who understands dog bite laws as they can help you navigate the legal process and assist you in filing a lawsuit against the restaurant. An experienced lawyer will help you get the compensation you deserve from both the restaurant owner and the dog owner.

Bitten by a Dog? Emerald Law Group Can Help

Restaurant owners who allow dogs onto their premises need to prioritize their customers’ safety by providing a safe environment not only for the pets but also for other customers. Legal action can be taken against a restaurant owner who displays negligence in ensuring customer safety. If you were bitten by a dog at a restaurant, discuss your options for compensation with our lawyers at Emerald Law Group. Call 206-826-5160 to receive a free case review.


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