Dog bites are more common than you think. It’s estimated that 44 percent of all American households have a dog, and about 4.5 million dog bites occur every single year. Severe injuries are rare, but nearly one in five people bitten by a dog require medical attention. Dog bite victims also run the risk of contracting diseases like rabies, or coming into contact with harmful bacteria.
If you have been bitten by a dog or if your dog has bitten someone, it’s worth knowing the legal implications you may soon be dealing with. If a dog bite has caused severe injury, the victim may rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills, and they may soon be looking to you for responsibility.
Ultimately, if a dog bites someone, the owner is legally responsible. In the state of Nevada, dog bite victims may receive compensation under several laws. Read on to find out about the different types of dog bite laws in Nevada, and what you can do to seek fair compensation if you’ve been bitten by a dog.
Nevada Dog Bite Laws
In the state of Nevada, dog bites are not governed by specific statutes. Instead, the outcome of a dog bite case is based on case law precedent, or previous dog bite cases that have been seen in Nevada courts.
In order to receive compensation for a dog bite, a dog bite victim must file a suit against the dog owner. The victim needs to prove that the dog owner did not reasonably try to prevent the dog bite injury. The victim also needs to prove that they suffered damages due to the dog bite. These damages could include medical bills, missed wages from taking time off work, or even pain and suffering.
In Nevada, an injured person has two years to file their lawsuit from the time the injury occurred; this applies to dog bites as well. It is extremely important that the dog bite victim contacts a dog bite attorney to file a suit as soon as possible, and before the two-year deadline runs out. If not, the claim will not be heard in court, and the victim will not receive compensation for their injuries.
The “One Bite Rule”
Many states have adopted the “one bite rule,” which means that a dog owner will not face legal consequences the first time their dog bites someone when they have never bitten anyone before, with some exceptions. However, Nevada does not have a statewide “one bite rule.” Instead, dog bite cases are considered by traditional negligence law principles, including the “negligence per se” law.
Dangerous vs. Vicious Dogs
In the state of Nevada, dogs who have bitten people in the past are often legally classified by two different categories: dangerous and vicious. A dangerous dog is a dog that has behaved menacingly without provocation on two separate occasions within 18 months. In this case, the dog has behaved so menacingly that people have to defend themselves against bodily harm when the dog is not restrained by a leash, fence, or vehicle.
A vicious dog is a dog that has, without provocation, killed or injured a person. A vicious dog has continued to behave menacingly even after being classified as a dangerous dog. It is illegal to own or even give away a vicious dog in the state of Nevada.
“Negligence Per Se” Law
Dog owners may be held liable if their dog bites someone due to their own negligence. In some cities and counties in Nevada, dog owners are required to keep their animals restrained. This can include keeping dogs in fenced-in yards, as well as keeping them restrained on leashes.
If a dog is not restrained in some way, and proceeds to bite someone, the injured person could argue that their injury is the result of the dog owner’s negligence. The dog owner could face legal consequences even if their dog has not bitten anyone before, and even if they are not considered a dangerous or vicious dog.
The “negligence per se” law is not just limited to dog owners-anyone whose negligence is proven to lead to a dog bite injury can be held liable, even if they do not own the dog. See examples of “negligence per se” statutes here.
What to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
If you or your loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, time is of the essence. To present the strongest dog bite claim possible, contact the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Shook & Stone as soon as possible. Our personal injury lawyers specialize in dog bite law, and can discuss your case with you free of charge.