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I’ve Been Bitten By a Dog. What Do I Do?

Dogs can be wonderful companions, but even the best trained animal can be unpredictable at times.  Even a chance encounter with a dog can result in a dog bite.  Dog bite injuries can range from minor scrapes to severe injuries. You should not underestimate a dog bite injury. If you are injured, it can be vital to talk with a lawyer familiar with dog bites as soon as possible. Once people realize they can be held liable for the actions of their pets they often want to be as unhelpful as possible. A skilled dog bite lawyer will be able to help you be compensated for injures.

It is estimated that 44 percent of all American households have a dog, and about 4.5 million dog bites occur every single year. Thankfully, severe injuries from dog attacks are rare. However, nearly one in five people bitten by a dog require medical attention. 

A dog’s front teeth will often grab and compress your skin. At the same time their smaller teeth can also tear your skin causing open jagged wounds. Due to the jagged nature of these wounds, they can become infected with bacteria. This bacterial can from the dog’s mouth or other sources.

Dog bite victims also run the risk of contracting diseases like rabies. These dog bite injuries can require costly treatment. Disfiguring injuries are also possible, that can require lengthy healing time, plastic surgery, or scar revision being necessary to undo the damage of a dog attack.

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.  A skilled dog attack attorney can be vital to recovering for your injuries. 

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 heard in Nevada courts. An experienced dog bite lawyer will know Nevada’s specific case law to assist you in recovering for your injuries.

In order to receive compensation for a dog bite, a dog bite victim must file a suit against the dog owner. Many dog owners, and potentially their homeowner’s insurance, are unwilling to pay for the injuries caused by their dog attacks. They may deny the dog bite was that bad, or argue the victim provoked the animal.

To prevail in a dog bite claim, the victim 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. Further they need to prove that the dog owner did not reasonably try to prevent the dog bite injury.

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. This makes it even more important to work with a skilled dog attack attorney to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries.

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. A dog bite lawyer will be able to determine if a dog has a history of being classified as a dangerous, or vicious dog. 

“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. This can be important if you are bitten by a dog under the control of a dog walker, or pet sitter. Even if it is not their dog, if they are responsible for it, they can still be liable for injuries. This can also create a situation where your dog attack attorney would need to sue both the owner of the animal, and the pet sitter.

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.

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