Who is liable for a dog bite?

A dog bite situation is always terrifying if you are the victim, and it requires someone to be responsible for the suffering you go through. The law provides guidance as to who holds responsibility or liability for a dog bite situation. 

According to the Washington State Legislature, in most cases, the dog’s owner is liable for any vicious actions of the dog. So, if you suffer a dog bite, you can usually take the owner to court for damages associated with the attack. Do note the elements of liable include that you were in a location you had permission to be when the attack occurs. 

Where it happens 

It is important to pay attention to the part of the law that states where the liability for the dog’s owner applies. If you are on the owner’s property without permission, the liability law does not apply. You must be on the property with permission. This is why people will post beware of dog signs. They alert you to the fact there is a dog and you should enter the property at your own risk unless the property owner invites you on the property. 

Beyond that, if your dog bite occurs on public property, then the owner is always liable. It is the owner’s responsibility to contain his or her dog and prevent it from attacking people on public property. 

No requirement for prior vicious behavior 

The law also does not make it a requirement that the dog has had previous issues with violent behavior. It states that there is no need for the owner to know about the dog’s aggressive behavior previously or to have any situation where the dog acted aggressively before. As long as the other elements are in place, the owner is liable.