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How To Report a Dog Bite in Washington State

Dogs can inflict severe injuries when they bite an individual. Any person who sustains a dog bite injury should be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner based on Washington’s strict liability dog bite law. However, it is crucial for individuals to report these injuries so that they can recover full compensation for their losses.

  1. Seek Medical Care

The number one priority after a dog bite occurs is seeking medical care. Dog bite injuries must be treated by a trusted medical professional, no matter how minor or severe the injury seems. Even minor dog bite injuries can become infected and lead to long-term consequences. If necessary, call 911 to make sure an ambulance comes to the scene to begin injury treatment. If you choose not to take an ambulance to the hospital, you need to go to the emergency room or a medical facility immediately.

  1. Identify the Dog and Dog’s Owner 

It is crucial to identify which dog caused the bite. In some cases, this is easier said than done. If you are able to do so, you need to get the dog owner’s name and contact information. If possible, you should try to get the dog owner’s homeowners insurance information as well.

While this all may be possible if you know the dog’s owner, you could very well find yourself in a hostile situation if you try to gather this information from an unknown individual. If, at any time after the dog bite occurs, you find yourself in an argument with other individuals involved, back away, get to safety, and call the police.

  1. Find Any Witnesses

If there were any eyewitnesses to the dog bite or attack, you need to get their names and contact information written down as soon as possible. Additionally, if you know of any individuals who have seen aggressive behavior from the same dog that bit you, get their information so they can provide testimony at a later date.

  1. Collect Relevant Evidence

If you are able to safely do so after the incident, you should collect relevant evidence. This can include using a phone or another type of camera to take pictures of the injuries and any other damage caused by the dog. You should also take pictures of the scene where the dog bite occurred. Keep any clothing you were wearing when the incident happened, as this clothing may provide various types of evidence to back up your claim.

  1. Report the Incident

You should always report a dog bite incident to the police or to your local animal control office. If you do not know the phone number to animal control, do a quick Internet search by typing in your particular location and the words “animal control.” You need to let these officials come to the scene, fill out an accident report, take your statement, and document/collect any evidence. In some circumstances, animal control officials may take the dog while the case is ongoing.

  1. Contact an Attorney

You should contact a skilled Seattle dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Dog bite injury claims can become complicated, but an attorney from Elk & Elk Co., Ltd can handle every aspect of the situation on behalf of their client. This will include conducting an investigation into the dog bite incident, gathering the evidence needed to prove liability, and handling all negotiations with the dog owner’s homeowners insurance carrier.

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