Washington State has strict liability for dog bites. This means that the owner of the dog is liable for bites.
The only exceptions are if the dog was “provoked” or if the person bitten is trespassing on property where the biting took place.
Mary H was riding her motorcycle home from Steamboat Rock state park on a summer evening. Her son was on the back of her motorcycle. She was following her husband, who was carrying their daughter on the back of his bike. They were keeping a safe speed and were watching out for deer. They were headed toward Electric City, Washington.
Suddenly, a dog shot out from underneath a guard rail and attacked Mary. She locked her brake on the motorcycle and the bike went down. Mary’s foot was caught by the foot peg and her knee was twisted, requiring surgery. The dog was caught in the front wheel of the motorcycle and was fatally mangled.
Attorney Mike Maxwell was able to identify the owners of the dog by referring to the police reports. He found several witnesses to the event and they were scattered around the state of Washington. He deposed witnesses in Wenatchee, Walla Walla, and Bridgeport, Washington. He retained a motorcycle accident reconstruction expert. He brought multiple motions for summary judgment in court in Moses Lake, Washington.
All along, the defense denied liability. It claimed that Mary’s injuries were caused not by the dog bite, but by the Mary’s own decision to brake her motorcycle excessively. The judge granted several defense motions, but allowed Mary’s case to go to trial. Shortly before trial, the case settled.
If you or a loved one is injured by a dog bite, please consider calling Maxwell Graham, P.S. at (206) 527-2000.