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Can You Sue The Dog Owner If They Didn’t Know About The Dog’s Vicious Propensities?


In the state of Washington, dog owners are liable for any injuries their pet causes to another person. Whether or not the owner knew about their dog’s vicious propensities can be a factor in determining whether a lawsuit can be filed.

Let’s take a closer look at the Washington dog bite law and what rights you have if you have been bitten by a dog. Our Seattle dog bite lawyers at Emerald Law Group assist individuals who suffered injuries in dog bite attacks. Consult with our lawyers today to determine whether or not you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog that bit you.

The One-Bite Rule and Liability

In states with a one-bite rule, the owner of a dog may be liable for damages if they knew or should have known of their pet’s vicious tendencies. This means that if the owner was aware that the animal had caused injury to someone in the past, they could be held responsible for any subsequent attacks. If this is the first time that their pet has caused injury, then it will be much harder to prove liability. However, Washington is not one of the states that follow the one-bite rule.

Strict Liability Laws

Washington follows the legal concept of “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites. This means that regardless of whether or not the owner was aware of their pet’s potential to cause harm, they can still be held liable for any resulting damages (RCW § 16.08.040). In Washington, strict liability laws apply if an individual is bitten by a dog while lawfully on public property or lawfully on private property (including rented apartments). In such cases, even if the owner had no knowledge of their pet’s previous aggressive behavior, they can still be held liable for resulting damages.

Proving Negligence After a Dog Bite Incident

In some cases where neither strict liability nor the one-bite rule applies, it may still be possible to prove negligence on behalf of the owner. If an individual can demonstrate that an owner acted negligently (e.g., failing to control their animal) and this negligence led directly to an injury, then said individual may still have grounds for filing a lawsuit against them.

It is vital to understand your rights when it comes to filing a case against a negligent pet owner. Consulting with legal professionals who specialize in personal injury law can help you make sure your case is properly represented and heard in court.

How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help?

Filing a lawsuit against an animal’s owner due to an attack can be complex due to varying levels of liability depending on state law and past history of aggressive behavior from the animal. It’s crucial for individuals who were attacked by a dog in Seattle or other parts of Washington state to understand their rights under state law and know whether or not they can file suit against negligent owners based on these laws.

Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law will greatly increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries, as well as help you understand all applicable legal procedures involved with such cases.

Contact the Seattle Dog Bite Lawyers at Emerald Law Group

Regardless of your unique situation, understanding your rights under Washington law is essential, so you know what steps you need to take next after being attacked by a dog owned by someone else. ​The lawyers at Emerald Law Group can help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled after a dog bite in Seattle. Call 206-823-0792 to get a free case review.


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