Tips For Filing A Dog Bite Lawsuit In Washington

If you were bitten by a dog, then you might have considered a lawsuit. However, you want to make sure that you have all the facts before committing to such a serious endeavor. It's crucial that you understand the laws in your state, but it can also be pretty hard to find pertinent information. To help you out with that, here are some of the facts that you need to know when it comes to filing a dog bite lawsuit in Washington:

One-Bite Rule

Your first and biggest concern should be the one-bite rule. Like many other states, Washington upholds the one-bite rule, which essentially states that the owner is not liable for their dog's first act of aggression. If the owner did not have a reason to believe that their dog would bite someone, then they cannot be sued for said bite.

This really means that you need to prove that the owner knew about their dog's aggressive tendencies, which can be a little easier to prove than you might think. As long as you can establish that the dog has bitten someone in the past, then the one-bite rule no longer applies and you can probably get the compensation that you deserve.

Mitigating Circumstances

Of course, there are some situations where owners are never responsible for their dog biting an individual. If you were trespassing and bitten by a dog or if you were intentionally antagonizing the dog, then your chances of winning a lawsuit will be extremely low.

For this reason, you want to make sure that neither of those factors can be argued by the defense. If you believe that evidence exists to support either of those notions, then you will either need to prepare a response or consider dropping the lawsuit altogether.

The Statute of Limitations

Finally, there is a statute of limitations to consider when it comes to dog bites. Most dog bites qualify as personal injuries, which means that you will need to file your lawsuit within 3 years. If you fail to do so, then your case may be extremely weakened.

There are some circumstances that can extend that time limit, such as if a minor was bitten. In that case, then the minor can often file within 3 years of legally becoming an adult. Of course, they could also file much earlier, as long as a parent or guardian is filing on their behalf. Contact a business, such as Starnes  Rob P. LLC, Attorney At Law, for more information.