Dog bites are a tragically common occurrence. Untrained, un-socialized dogs that have not been neutered or spayed can be dangerous to people. However, sometimes even dogs that have never acted aggressively snap and cause serious injuries. You may find suffering a dog bite or animal attack very traumatic.

Afterward, you may need both psychological and medical attention, and you may not have the resources to obtain the care you need. Dog owners can be held responsible for compensation when their dogs bite lawful visitors or visitors in a public space.

If you were injured by an animal attack or bite, you should call the seasoned Bellingham dog bite attorneys of Walton Law to learn your legal options.

Holding a Dog Owner Accountable for Dog Bites

When seeking damages on your behalf, we typically need to show: (1) the defendant owned the dog that injured you, (2) the bite occurred when you were lawfully present on private property or you were on public property, (3) you were injured in the attack, and (4) the dog caused your injuries.

Dog owners can be held liable for the damages suffered by anyone who was bitten while in a public place or lawfully in a private place (as in, not a trespasser), even if the dog had not previously exhibited signs of viciousness or even if the owner didn’t know he was vicious. In some cases, there is homeowners’ insurance to cover such an injury. For example, if you were bitten by your friend’s dog while eating dinner there, you may be able to recover damages through that friend’s insurance policy.

In limited circumstances, somebody besides the owner can be held responsible for a dog bite, which can be helpful if the dog owner has insufficient insurance to cover the harm you experienced. When we are retained, we investigate all contributing causes of the dog bite or attack. Other parties our attorneys could hold accountable, depending on the situation include:

  • Commercial property owners,
  • Landlords,
  • Residential property owners,
  • A dog’s caretaker.

Defenses A Dog Owner May Raise

There can be exceptions to the general rule that you can hold the owner of a dog responsible, and it is crucial to retain an attorney to successfully defeat those defenses. Any of the following may be claimed by a dog owner seeking to evade responsibility:

  • You provoked the attack.
  • You were trespassing on the owner’s property when the bite occurred.
  • You assumed the risk of a dog attack and any resulting injuries.
  • You may not be able to recover if the dog that bit you was involved in military work or police work and defending itself, aiding an agency employee in investigating a crime, executing a warrant, defending a peace officer or civilian, or apprehending or detaining a suspect.


In most cases, the damages that can be recovered are compensatory, meaning they are intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had there been no bite. They can include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment, the costs of future medical procedures to address harms like scarring and disfigurement.

Consult Seasoned Dog Bite Lawyers About Whether You Have a Claim

After getting bitten by a dog, it is crucial you have someone on your side, advocating for your best interests as a victim.

For a free and confidential consultation with a trustworthy attorney, please call us directly at (866) 338-7079, or contact us online.

Bellingham Office Location

2219 Rimland Dr Suite 301,
Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 543-1010