Family LawDog Bite Accidents And Criminal Liability: Understanding The Differences

April 29, 2023

It is hard to avoid the increase in incidents and the press coverage around dog bites in the past few years. It seems more and more people are becoming victims of dog attacks post-covid. Whether that is because of a surge in puppy purchases or the decrease in living standards owing to price inflations and the general cost of living crisis, there is a real problem afoot. If you or your loved one are a victim of a dog bite accident, or you own a dog that has attacked someone, it is time to learn the difference between what can be classed as an accident and what will be seen as criminal liability.

When Is a Dog Bite An Accident?

There is lots of room for interpretation when it comes to a dog bite incident.For example, if a dog has never shown aggressive behavior before the incident, there is reasonable cause to assume the bite was caused by other factors like aggravation or other types of fear-based responses. Where an owner can prove that their dog has a gentle temperament, has lived a peaceful life, is well-trained, and has posed no previous risk to people or animals, this becomes a bit more straightforward and it may be the case that no criminal charges are brought forward.

When Does A Dog Bite Become a Criminal Case?

However, when an owner is aware of aggressive habits with their dog but they have not taken the proper steps to ensure the pet does not have access to children, members of the public, or even other dogs, then the law becomes clear. This owner is liable and the dog may be removed and even put to sleep. In the majority of dog bite cases, the animal will be removed for observation. If these observations prove that there is ongoing aggression, the animal is likely to not be returned. There are also certain breeds that are banned or require a license like cane corsos, and if they are involved there will be a criminal investigation.

What Happens In An Investigation?

After the incident, there is a lot to think about. Victims will want to know that there is resolution at the heart of negotiations and this is to compensate for things like medical bills, time spent off work, and lost wages alongside the emotional toll of suffering through a traumatic event as well. All the details of the case will be represented thoroughly for the best possible outcome, and the owner will be held accountable if they are found to have enhanced the risk of the dog bite taking place. Because this is such a complex scope with so much room for misinterpretation and confusing narratives, It is best to call upon the services of a trained attorney to fight your case with expertise and knowledge.

Dog bites, are they an accident or a crime? It depends on the circumstance. Call a specialist attorney today and find the resolution you need to move forward.

Visit our offices at:

  • Olympia – 400 Union Ave SE, Ste 200, Olympia, WA 98501
  • Tacoma – 1107 1/2 Tacoma Avenue S, Tacoma, WA 98402

Call now for a free consultation on (253) 383-4500 and (360) 338-6886

We exist to champion the injured.


FREEMAN LAW FIRM, INC. ©  2023 All Rights Reserved | Website and SEO by Strike First Digital Law 


Mon-Fri : 8AM to 5PM
Sat-Sun : By Appointment Only


Mon-Fri : 8AM to 5PM
Sat-Sun : By Appointment Only
Translate »