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About Dog Bites

If you are bitten by a dog on someone’s property, you likely have a claim that can be made against the owner or the renter of the home or apartment where you were bitten. This is an area of law called “strict liability” and it means the dog’s owner is held strictly liable for the damage the dog causes you.

When you work with a Tacoma dog bite lawyer, you could fight to hold the dog owner accountable and collect the monetary damages you need to get your life back on track. Our skilled injury attorneys could take charge of your case at every stage and fight for the justice you deserve.

Common Causes of Dog Bites

There are several factors that increase the likelihood that a dog will bite a person:

  • The breed of the dog
  • The training given by an owner
  • Situations that make a dog stressed, wary, or upset

Dog Breeds

A dog’s breed can increase the likelihood that the dog will bite, though it is not the only determining factor. Certain dogs have been bred to be more aggressive. The most common breeds that attack people are:

  • Labradors
  • German Shepherds
  • Pitbulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Huskies

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Monetary Damages in Dog Bite Cases

After being attacked by a dog, you may be wondering what you are allowed to recover legally. The law is very clear about the damages that are available to you. They are:

  • Past medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Loss of consortium

The Jackman Law Firm has successfully negotiated with many insurance companies for homeowners and businesses for money for these various damages. While we always hope that we can resolve things amicably outside of court, if we cannot, then we will take your case to court and obtain a jury verdict for your injuries. Our dog bite attorneys in Tacoma could help in all these areas.

Handling Insurance Claims After a Dog Bite

Most insurance companies offer dog bite coverage to homeowners, which can be used following an attack.  There are some other ways dog bites can be covered by insurance, so it is important to thoroughly review your insurance policy if you are a dog owner.

Even if the owner has insurance that covers their dog, that does not mean that the insurance company will automatically approve a claim.

They will take a number of factors into account when reviewing the claim to determine if compensation is warranted. A homeowner is not responsible for what happens on their property if the dog is not theirs. The liability is squarely on the dog owner. If the dog owner is the homeowner, they may have insurance that covers dog bites. The homeowner will be liable for not only physical pain and suffering, but emotional and mental trauma sustained because of the attack.

All of this might sound complicated, but one of our knowledgeable Tacoma lawyers could assess the situation and the relevant insurance coverage to explain liability and determine the available compensation. Give us a call today to begin working on your case.

Dog Owner Liability

The law puts the responsibility on the dog owner if their dog bites someone. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • If a person is trespassing on the property where the dog lives, the owner is not responsible for the attack.
  • If a police dog bites someone while working, the dog owner is not liable for the bite and injuries sustained.

With state laws generally favoring the victim of a dog bite, you need to understand the law, especially if you have a dog.

Landlord Liability for Dog Bite

Landlords are not responsible for the dogs of their tenants. The only times when a landlord can be held liable for a bite are if the landlord is also the dog owner or if the landlord is either the keeper of the dog. However, the renter of the home or apartment might have a renter’s insurance policy that will cover your medical bills and pain and suffering.

Potential Injuries from Dog Bites

As the main perpetrator of animal bites in the US, dog bites are not uncommon. Many owners ignore bites that don’t break the skin or simply clean bites that are not deep. However, any dog bite can pose serious health risks, particularly if the animal has not received a regular rabies vaccination. Anyone bitten by a dog should seek medical attention immediately and, afterward, speak with an animal attack attorney in Tacoma about starting a case.


It is estimated that 18% of these bites will get infected, which is why regular cleaning and monitoring of the wound is important, regardless of the severity. The deeper the bite, the greater the risk of infection. These bites should always be treated by a medical professional and may require antibiotics to properly heal. Scarring is also likely for these wounds.

The most serious kind of infection that could occur because of a dog bite is MRSA. If MRSA spreads to your lungs or bloodstream, it could be fatal.

Transmitted Diseases

A dog’s mouth has more than 60 varieties of bacteria. Most of these pose no threat to humans, but a few do and can cause infection or illness. If a dog has been infected by something more serious, you are at a much greater risk of a serious illness. Other common transmitted diseases from a dog bite are:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Capnocytophaga
  • Pasteurellosis

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment Syndrome is caused when pressure builds up from internal bleeding or swelling in the tissues of your body. The pressure decreases blood flow. You will know you have it if you have bad pain, a feeling pins and needles, and a general feeling of weakness. It is a very serious condition.


Learn More About Settling Your Dog Bite Case

You can certainly challenge the taking, but understand this is normally an uphill battle you will likely lose. Since eminent domain is widely accepted, it’s hard to win unless you can show that the government is not taking your property for a legitimate public use. If you refuse, the government will file an action in court and you will have to appear in court, if asked, and file the appropriate legal documents in opposition to those filed by the government. If you lose, and the judge allows the taking to go forward, then a new trial will be started that allows each to make the case for the land’s value.

Every lawyer is different, but The Jackman Law Firm charges a third of whatever money you recover from the government, provided that amount is greater than the original offer you received. We only get paid, in other words, unless you both win and your award is greater than what you would have received without help.

This is a procedure to attempt to settle your case. The special commissioner is made up of three landowners who have no interest or relationship to you or your case. A judge selects them. The commissioners will hear you and your attorney make your case for the value of your land, as well as the government’s side, and from there they will decide the value of your land.

You don’t have to accept the offer from the government. You can fight for more money, but be aware you are going to need certain experts to validate your position, including surveyors, appraisers, and real estate brokers. These experts can persuade the judge or jury the true value of your land.

Every case is unique and different. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. In general, cases where the government is involved take a long time, typically a year or so. If a private company is involved, the process will usually be much faster.

You have three years from the date of the accident.

Statistically, it is not likely since most cases settle out of court, but the best way to settle the case is to prepare as though you are going to trial.

It is important to understand whether your doctor can clearly separate which accident caused your injuries. The Jackman Law Firm can assist you in this.