Articles Posted in Dog Bite Injuries

The Oregonian reports that Christine Shertzer was awarded a $108K settlement for injuries she received when an Australian shepherd bit her at a party.

Shertzer, 43, claimed that the dog’s owners were negligent for allowing their dog to roam freely during the party.

Shertzer suffered serious dog bit injuries in the attack and had to have plastic surgery to repair facial injuries. According to her attorney, she has has permanent numbness of her lip, and eating and drinking is difficult and she can no longer kiss without experiencing pain.

There was conflicting testimony at the trial as to the aggressive nature and history of the dog. The homeowner claimed that Shertzer had handled the dog roughly. However, other witnesses testified that the dog was unpredictable and aggressive and a veterinarian testified that the dog had bit her.

Shertzer had filed a claim for $668,420 for medical bills, pain and suffering and for pain and suffering. However, the jury voted 12-0 finding Shertzer 48% at fault for petting a dog unknown to her.

The homeowner’s insurance policy will pay the settlement.

Dog Bite Liability

Dog bite injuries can often leave victims with disfigurement, scarring and permanent nerve damages. Nerve damage can cause constant pain. Dog bite victims often have to undergo multiple surgeries to correct damage.

Washington State Dog Bite Law

Washington state code 16.08.040 finds that owners of any dog that injures a person are liable for the damages that the bitter person suffers regardless of the former viciousness of the dog. If the dog owner knew their dog was prone to biting, then can be held liable for injuries and that liability is expanded.

Bellevue Dog Bite Attorney

Herbert Farber, a Bellevue personal injury attorney, represents dog bite victims and their families. Our law firm takes seriously the injuries suffered when a person has been attacked by a dog. We work hard to insure that the dog bite victim receives the compensation they deserve to cover medical costs, loss of wages, rehabilitation costs and for pain and suffering.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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If your child has been injured by a dog, you might be facing medical bills plus the aftermath of the attack including scarring, disfigurement and psychological trauma. Often, the dog that bit your child might be owned by a neighbor, a friend or a family member. In fact, approximately, 75% of all dog attacks occur within the family.

You might be wondering how to file a dog bite claim and still maintain relationships that might be important to you.

The Farber Law Group is personal injury law firm with experience in representing dog bite victims and we assure you, that you can file a claim and still preserve relationships. An experienced attorney can be a “cool head” and help with relationships during a process of filing a claim. Often, settling a claim with an insurance company can be amicable with the injured person receiving the compensation they deserve for their immediate medical expenses, loss of wages and for psychological services.

Reasons to Hire A Dog Bite Attorney

Most dog bite victims never get compensated even though home insurance coverage covers dog bites. A lawyer can help you file a claim and get it paid.

Insurance adjusters often will low ball a claim if the child’s parents do not have an attorney. While a personal injury attorney will work on a contingency fee basis (you don’t pay attorney fees unless a settlement is recovered), the attorney can often obtain a far greater compensation from the insurance company resulting in the child receiving more money for their medical and psychological care as well as pain and suffering.

One benefit to hiring a dog bite attorney is that it can reduce a lot of stress between the family members, friends or neighbors. The parent can always refer any questions or concerns to their attorney. The attorney can reassure any parties that the goal is not to bankrupt anyone or embarrass them but to claim on insurance so that the child’s medical needs are taken care of.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites are one of the top five reasons a child seeks treatment in a hospital emergency room. Dog bite injuries can cause serious injuries requiring stitches and even plastic surgery. In some cases, victims suffer permanent nerve damage which can leave them in pain or disfigured. A severe dog mauling can often require between two and five separate surgeries.

Dog Bites and Washington Law

The reviewed code of Washington, 16.08.040, says that dog owners are liable for dog bites. If a dog has a history of attacking people, the amount of liability against the dog owners is expanded.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog bite injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney who has experience representing dog bite victims and their families. At The Farber Law Group, a Washington personal injury law firm, has more than 40 years experience representing dog bite victims.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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Nga Woodhead, a Spanaway woman who was attacked by two pit bulls a week ago has died in Tacoma’s St. Joseph Medical Center of a heart attack. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Woodhead’s death was brought about by “extremity contusions, lacerations and fractures due to dog bites.”

The Pierce County Prosecutor’s office is reviewing all the information related to the attack and investigating the history of the dogs, whether the dog’s owner knew they were loose and the dogs’ past behavior.

The dog attack on Woodhead occurred on October 30 when Woodhead was on a walk about a mile from her home. The dogs attacked her from behind. Woodhead tried to defend herself from the attack with an umbrella but she suffered serious injuries to her right arm and bruises on her body.

Woodhead’s husband said the couple had been married nearly 41 years.

The dogs’ owner claims he did not know how the dogs got out of the yard and they were raised as “family dogs.” An investigation should determine whether the fence was too low, whether there was a breech in the fence like a hole under it, whether the gate was not properly fastened or whether someone let the dogs out.

This case reminds us of the 2008 pit bull attack on an elderly Sea-Tac woman who was disfigured when two dogs mauled when as she walked her grandchild to the school bus.

Washington state has a dog bite law, RCW 16.08.040:

The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

The statute finds that dog owners can be held liable for injuries inflicted by their dog. The low provides that dog bite victims to bring suit against a dog owner whose dog attacked them such as in the case of a Gig Harbor woman who was awarded a $2.2 million settlement after she was mauled by a pit bull.
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The Seattle Fire Department came to the aid of a man at 3507 S. Morgan Street after he was bitten by a dog in the arm. The Fire Department was initially hindered in their ability to provide aid to the man when two vicious dogs surrounded their ladder truck. (Seattle Police Blotter

A 911 call reported four dogs on the loose prior to the attack. According to the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) Humane Animal Law Enforcement Officers, there were two pit bulls, one mixed-breed and one Pomeranian running loose.

In reading the Seattle Police Blotter, it appears that the dogs were very aggressive. Officers used pepper spray and a fire extinguisher on the dogs to deter them and one dog was eventually shot to death.

The injured man was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of dog bite injuries. According to The Seattle Times, the injured man was hospitalized after the acck.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite injuries can leave the injured with serious injuries and emotional trauma. Victims of dog attacks often require multiple surgeries and victims are often left with scarring and permanent nerve damage.

Washington Revised Code 16.08.040 — Dog Bites

Washington state has a dog bite law that provides that the owner of any dog(s) that bites another person, whether it be on the owner’s property or in a public place, can be held liable for the damages suffered by the person who was bitten regardless of whether the dog was previously vicious or known to be vicious.

In Seattle, law enforcement becomes involved in more than 300 dog bites or dog attacks every year. A little more than 20% of those attacks involve pit bull dogs or pit bull mixes even though pit bulls are less than 5% of the dogs owned by Americans.

Obtaining Compensation for your Dog Bite Injury

Washington state law provides that dog bite victims can seek damages for their injuries. Damages should pay for medical bills, lost wages for time off work, compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement, emotional stress and any other costs.

It is common to file a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy but it is recommended that before signing anything, that the dog bite victim or their representative seek the counsel of a dog bite lawyer to insure that their rights are protected and that the compensation offered is fair and just.
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Linda Astorga has been awarded $75K by a Thurston County jury for injuries she sustained when her neighbor’s dog bit her reports The Olympian.

Astorga filed a dog bite lawsuit seeking $25,000 in economic damages and $50,000 in other damages after her neighbor’s dogs, which were running loose, attacked her and bit her in the calf on the driveway of her Tenino home.

Astorga’s attorney said that she suffered permanent scarring after being bitten and that she is coping with ongoing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after she was chased and attacked by the neighbor’s dog.

For obvious reasons, it’s hard to predict an event that would lead you to file a personal injury lawsuit. Generally you’re a cautious person and you don’t go looking for trouble, so you never expected such a severe injury. But just because you’re cautious doesn’t mean everyone you come in contact with will be.

Even the most careful individuals can get in accidents. Maybe it’s because you went to a neighbor’s house to return a piece of misdelivered mail. When the rotten steps leading to his door collapsed, you broke your ankle. Maybe a neighborhood dog got out of its fence, came to your yard and severely bit you on the leg. Maybe you were out walking after a snowstorm and a property owner along the way neglected to clear his sidewalk, causing you to slip and break an arm.

Now you’re hurt and you’re facing a long list of expenses, just starting with a visit to the emergency room. Even if you’re not hospitalized, you’ll have to miss several days of work. Plus you might need surgery down the road, maybe even rehabilitation. Maybe you’re a construction worker and you’re going to require months of physical therapy for your broken ankle. Maybe you’ve experienced severe scarring from the dog bite and are worried that will hurt your modeling career.

It’s all because of someone else’s negligence or poor planning that you’re going to lose so much money. At this point, you feel that you have no choice but to pursue a lawsuit. Few people really want to go that route. And it’s only natural for you to worry about how the responsible party is going to come up with the money to make things right for you.

However, if the person accountable for the accident has home insurance, he or she might have some help when it comes to paying for your many expenses. It goes without saying that most homeowners have home insurance – mortgage companies require it in nearly every circumstance. If the responsible party has standard home insurance, part of the coverage typically included in his or her policy could qualify them for help if you decide to sue.

Personal liability protection is reserved for exactly this type of scenario. It makes the policyholder eligible to file a claim when facing a lawsuit. If you’ve slipped and fallen on a person’s property or been bitten by his or her dog or some other scenario involving negligence, the homeowner might be able to compensate you using insurance. Liability protection can be used for legal defense fees, as well.

How much coverage is available? It depends. Typical home insurance policies generally allot $100,000 in coverage for each claim occurrence. For the average person, that’s not a small amount of money. Some homeowners might have even higher coverage limits – up to $500,000 – that will qualify them for additional claim money. Some might even have purchased an umbrella policy – separate coverage that will kick in once personal liability limits are reached. Umbrella policies start with $1 million limits, and homeowners can purchase as much as $5 million in coverage.
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This past week, there were two dog attacks in the Washington news. In McCleary, Washington, an 8-year-old girl was attacked by a 2-year-old American bulldog when the dog got out of a yard. The girl received bite injuries to her head and legs and has to receive treatment at a hospital in Olympia. (Seattle Times:

In Wenatchee, a 43-year-old woman was attacked by an 18-month-old pit bull and she required hospitalization. In this case, the dog was euthanized because the dog was so aggressive. (Wenatchee World:

Both of these dog attacks received media attention because, in both cases, the victims required hospitalization.

How Common are Dog Attacks?

Dog attacks are very common with 4.7 million people bitten every year and over three-quarters of a million are injured so badly that they seek medical attention. In fact, nearly 50% of homeowner’s insurance payouts are due to someone being bitten by a homeowner’s dog. Approximately 31,000 are injured so severely by dogs each year that they require surgery Dog attack fatalities have gone up in the past two decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were an average of about 17 fatalities due to dog attacks every year. Unfortunately, since 200, the number of people killed in a dog attacks has risen to 26.

In 77% of all dog attacks, the dog is a family pet or that of a friend’s. In the Wenatchee case cited above, the dog belonged to a family member and lived in the same house as the injured woman. In the case of the McCleary girl, the dog belonged to a neighbor.

Serious Injuries from Dog Bites

Victims of dog bites should seek immediate medical attention even if the wounds are not serious because dogs can carry diseases which could cause serious illness or even death in a human. Parovirus, rabies and some bacterial infections can be potentially life threatening to a human.

Dog bites can cause serious wounds or even disfigurement. Some victims require many multiple surgeries from a plastic surgeon to repair wounds. Some victims even suffer permanent nerve damage to their limbs after a dog mauling.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control wrote a study in 2000 which looked at nearly 20 years of dog bite data and found that, of 327 people killed, in 76 of the cases, the dog was listed as a “pit bull terrier” or “pit bull mix.” The breed with the second-highest fatalities was the Rottweiler or the Rottweiler mix.
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A Washington State Appeals Court has ruled that Pierce County cannot require owners of dogs that animal control officers have deemed to be “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous” to pay fees to appeal the county’s ruling on their dog.

Pierce County constructed an animal control ordinance that allowed them to deem any dog a “dangerous animal” if the dog:

  • bit a person without provocation
  • injured or killed another animal without provocation
  • has previously been found to be potentially dangerous and the owner was previously warned of the animal being aggressive and a danger to human or other animals.

If an owner wanted to appeal the county’s decision, they were required to pay fees for appeal hearings upwards of $500.

A dangerous dog designation requires owners to purchase a $250 permit and buy $25,000 in insurance that allows them to keep a dangerous dog.

The case came before the appeals after one dog owner, Heidi Downey, appealed the ruling that her dog was dangerous after it injured another dog that had to be put to sleep. Downey was required to pay $125 of an initial hearing on the ruling and another $250 for a hearing before an examiner.

The appeals court found that requiring owners to pay such stiff fees to get a hearing is tantamount to “purchasing justice” and that the fees denied owners due process.

Due process is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and it balances the rule of law with an individual’s rights. Due process allows all people to have access to the judicial system regardless of their financial status.

Pierce County argued that without fees that some owners may have “frivolous appeals”. The court, however, felt that dog owners were legally entitled to a hearing before they were deprived of their property.

According to the Centers for Disease Control approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bites every year and 31,000 people are so severely bitten or injured that they require surgery. In addition, approximately 16 people are killed ever year because of a dog attack.

Washington state does have a dog bite law, RCW 16.08.040 which states that the owner of a dog that injures another person, regardless of whether the dog was previously declared dangerous, to be liable for the injuries to the dog bite victim.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group, a Seattle dog bit lawyer. We represent people who have suffered serious dog bite injures. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

Source: Pierce County’s dangerous-dog policy unconstitutional, judge rules, The Tacoma News Tribune, 12/04/11

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If you have some kind of accident, such as a car accident, workplace accident, or even if you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may suddenly find yourself trying to learn all you can about personal injury law.

Personal injury law covers personal accidents and damages that can be awarded when claims are made.

While you can file a personal injury claim for any type of accident, there are some things you should understand about personal injury law and how you can win your case.

For starters, accidents do happen, but sometimes they are just that-accidents, meaning no one is to blame. In these cases you probably won’t get far in the way of a personal injury claim.

If you file a claim and expect to be compensated for damages, you need to be able to clearly demonstrate that the party you are filing the claim against could have prevented the accident. For example, if you are walking down the street and fall on the sidewalk in front of someone’s house because you simply weren’t paying attention to where you were going, you are probably going to have a hard time getting a settlement from the homeowner. If, however you fall because the homeowner failed to remove a branch, or ice, or something else from the sidewalk and you fall, that homeowner may be responsible for your accident and may have to pay your medical bills or any other costs associated with the accident.

While this may seem like simple logic, personal injury law is a complex, and sometimes controversial topic. Many politicians feel that the amount of damages one can receive in a personal injury claim should be capped to a certain amount. Different accidents require different things however. Maybe you not only have medical bills from an accident, but you also can’t return to work due to a hospital stay. You lose money by not working, should the responsible party not be held liable for these damages as well?

Personal injury law is hard to navigate, and for that reason, if you feel like you need to file a personal injury claim, you should immediately contact a lawyer for advice. The lawyer can tell you what they think your chances are of a settlement and what the next step should be. You should get compensated if you have an accident that is not your fault, and a lawyer can help make that happen.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents and slip trip and fall accidents.

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The News Tribune of Tacoma reports that Sue Gorman of Gig Harbor, was awarded a $2.2 million damage award by a Pierce County jury after she was seriously injured when two pit bull dogs attacked her in her own home.

Gorman, who was seriously injured with dog bites to her arms, face, neck, chest and nose in 2007, filed a lawsuit against both Pierce County and the owners of the two pit bulls.

Gorman woke up in the bedroom of her home to find the two pit bull dogs mauling her service dog and another dog she was carrying for. She was injured when she tried to save the two dogs. The pit bulls had entered her home through a sliding glass door.

The Pierce County jury found that the county was 42% to blame in the mauling because county animal control office had received numerous reports — 14 in all — that at least one of the dogs was running loose and “terrorizing people.” In fact, Gorman had filed two complaints about the dog previous to the August, 2007 attack.

The jury assigned 52% of the liability to Shellie Wilson and her son, Zachary Marti, owners of one of the pit bull. They also assigned 5% of the liability to Jacqueline Evan-Hubbard who owned the second pit bull that was entrusted to the care of Wilson and Martin.

1% of the liability was assigned to Gorman herself. It is not clear what the jury was thinking here whether it was because Gorman’s door was left open or because she intervened in the attack against her dogs.

Washington state has a dog bite law, 16.08.040 which states that any owner of a dog that bites a a person whether in a public place or in a private place is liable for damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness or a dog.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog bite injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney who has experience representing dog bite victims. At The Farber Law Group, a Bellevue, Washington based personal injury firm, we have more than 40 years experience in representing dog bite victims. With our help, you may recover compensation for your medical costs, rehabilitation costs and for pain and suffering. 

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