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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34728
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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Last Monday I was home with my dogs. The front door was open

Customer Question

Hello, Last Monday I was home with my dogs. The front door was open with the front gate closed to contain the dogs. My husband was at work. I was in the room adjacent to our front entrance when I heard the doorbell ring. I ran into the entry to find a man with flowers at our doorway. I saw the front gate wide open. My 12 year old hound dog ran in and when she saw the complete stranger at the open doorway she bit him on the abdomen. The flower delivery was completely unexpected. When we are expecting a delivery (pizza for instance) we keep our front door closed and open the window by the door to pay, sign for and receive. We also have a no soliciting sign on our front gate. I took two pics of his abdomen. The bite did break the skin, no bleeding. He said he was going to the doctor and wanted our homeowners insurance info. We do have homeowners through Liberty Mutual but I felt it was his fault for breaching the dogs confined area so I didn't give it to him. I took his information and called his boss to let her know what happened and that I was upset that he came in to our yard without permission. He had my name, address and phone number on his clipboard and I and feel that he should have called when he saw the open door. Animal control came a little later and I gave him the full story. He said that the drivers story matched mine and did not feel a fine or citation was in order. I adopted the dog 10 years ago as a rescue and she has never bit anyone. She has been to the dog park hundreds of times with no aggressive incidents. I received a message from the driver this morning that he wanted our insurance info or he would pursue legal action to get his doctor bills covered. Before I call him back I wanted to solicit legal advice. Thank you! Dawn Barr
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.

I am sorry for this dilemma. The answer will depend on state law...can you verify this happened in WA?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
in the city of Seattle
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thank you
I have some thoughts...a few moments please as I type this up...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your patience. WA state has a very specific can be seen here

I will paste it below (so you can read it)

RCW 16.08.040
Dog bites — Liability.

(1) 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.

As you can see, this is a "strict liability" statute.

What you are describing, you are liable for the injuries to the delivery person. They were "lawfully" in your yard...and bit. So you are liable for the injuries.

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you could refuse to negotiate with this person because their presence was unexpected, but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.