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Seattle Dog Bite Attorneys

Washington imposes strict liability on all dog owners whose animals bite or injure another person. This means that if you are bitten by someone else’s dog, you do not have to prove that the owner was negligent in connection with the attack. Nor can the owner plead lack of knowledge–i.e., their dog had no prior history of biting people.

A question we often get here at the Emerald Law Group is whether state law defines certain dog breeds as inherently “dangerous.” The short answer is no. The law defines what constitutes a “dangerous dog” or “potentially dangerous dog,” but not dangerous breeds. At the same time, many homeowners’ insurance companies specifically ban certain breeds from their standard policies, which can affect a bite victim’s ability to obtain compensation. That is why you should always consult with an experienced lawyer following a biting attack.

Insurance Companies Often Keep Lists of “Uninsurable” Dog Breeds

According to a 2012 article published by Forbes Advisor, many homeowners’ insurance companies will not provide coverage to homeowners who keep certain breeds of dogs–or they will not cover injuries sustained by visitors to the home committed by such breeds. In many cases, the homeowner may not even be aware of these dangerous breeds and still keep a dog that is excluded from their policy’s coverage.

While there is no single canonical list of dangerous breeds, some of the breeds that commonly appear on such banned lists include:

  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Chow Chows
  • Dobermans
  • German Shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Mastiffs
  • Pit bulls
  • Presa Canarios
  • Rottweilers

But regardless of whether a dog belongs to a dangerous breed, the owner is still responsible for a bite victim under Washington law. Indeed, Washington law is clear that an animal’s “former viciousness” or the owner’s knowledge thereof is not a relevant consideration in a dog bite lawsuit. So as the injured victim, you do not need to prove that the dog belonged to a dangerous breed.

That said, you should also not assume that the owner’s insurance policy will cover your injuries, especially if the dog belongs to a breed on the insurer’s banned list. This is one reason it is important to work with a personal injury with experience in dog bite cases. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit directly against the dog’s owner in order to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact Emerald Law Today

Dog bite attacks are a serious matter. Victims may be left with scarring, disfigurement, broken bones, and a host of other life-altering injuries. All dog owners must take care in supervising their animals when they are around other people. This is especially true if the animal belongs to a breed that cannot be insured due to assumptions about the breed’s characteristics.

If you have been injured in a dog bite attack your first step should be to seek immediate medical attention. Your next move should be to contact a skilled Seattle dangerous breeds lawyer who can review your case and advise you of your options. Contact the Emerald Law Group today to schedule an initial consultation.

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