Who is Liable for Injuries Suffered in a Dog Attack? - Shook & Stone

Who is Liable for Injuries Suffered in a Dog Attack?

Who is Liable for Injuries Suffered in a Dog Attack?

Victims of Nevada dog bite attacks often suffer devastating injuries. Bite marks, nerve damage, lacerations and broken bones caused by a brutal dog attack may require extensive medical care, medication, surgery and time away from work.

Victims of Las Vegas dog attacks may wonder where the money is going to come from to help cover these types of financial losses. A skilled Nevada dog bite injury lawyer can help victims understand the legal options available to them.


Legal Consequences of Negligent Dog Ownership?

Depending upon the circumstances of the attack, a dog owner could face criminal negligence charges. Negligent dog owners can also be held financially responsible for the physical injuries, damages, and losses sustained by the victim. Section 202.500 of the Nevada Code makes it possible for dog owners to face criminal charges if their dog causes substantial bodily harm.

Dog owners may not face criminal charges if the injured person provoked the animal before the attack. If the dog is involved in two separate attacks within 18 months, and those attacks were unprovoked, the pet owner may face criminal charges. It is important to remember that an injured party will not receive compensation as a result of a criminal proceeding.


Nevada Dog Bite Statute

Under the Nevada dog bite statute, known as NRS 604A.140, the law holds the owner liable for any injuries their animal causes on public property. This means that a victim does not have to prove negligence or fault on the part of the dog owner in order to recover compensation for his or her losses. Rather, it is enough for a plaintiff to show that he or she was injured by a dog owned by the defendant.

On private property, the victim must prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover damages. This means that the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the defendant knew or should have known about the dog’s dangerous propensities.


What To Do After a Dog Bite?

  • Clean the wound immediately with soap and water.
  • Seek medical treatment if the wound is deep or bleeding heavily.
  • Contact the dog’s owner to obtain information about the dog’s vaccination status and to report the incident.
  • Consider filing a report with animal control if the dog has a history of aggression or if the owner refuses to provide information.


Examples of Dog Bites in Las Vegas

In August of 2022, an elderly man in Las Vegas was mauled and killed by a pit bull which was subsequently put to death due to the attack. The dog’s name was Buck, and it had been previously pronounced a vicious animal by the city.  [1]

A mail carrier in Las Vegas, who had worked for the USPS for 24 years, experienced his third dog bite while on the job. He proceeded to start a training course for his fellow mail carriers to help them protect themselves from dog attacks when on the job.

The USPS reports that in Nevada, the number of postal workers bitten by dogs while on duty decreased from 51 in 2016 to 47 in 2018. The number of reported bites in the greater Las Vegas area and Philadelphia was the same, despite Philadelphia having more than twice the population. [2]


Types of Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause a variety of injuries to both people and animals. Some of the most common types of dog bite injuries include:

Lacerations/Punctures: Dog bites often cause deep lacerations or puncture wounds that can result in extreme bleeding and infection if not treated immediately. Puncture wounds may also damage underlying tissue, nerves, and blood vessels and may lead to permanent scarring. When these attack injuries are neck or facial injuries, the victim will need immediate medical attention.

Abrasions: This type of injury occurs when a dog’s teeth scrape against the skin, leaving behind abrasions and scrapes that can be painful and slow to heal.

Broken Bones: In some cases, a powerful dog bite can cause broken bones such as fingers or toes. The victim may require surgery or physical therapy to help them recover from this type of injury.

Infection: An untreated wound from a dog bite is at risk for developing an infection due to bacteria entering the wound site from the animal’s mouth or saliva entering through tears in the skin caused by sharp teeth.

Nerve Damage: Injuries caused by dogs can also lead to nerve damage or nerve compression which causes pain, numbness, tingling and decreased sensation in certain areas of the body near the site of the bite wound.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses an event that causes them to feel extreme fear, horror, or helplessness. This can include mental anguish from being attacked by a dog. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, feeling jumpy or easily startled, and avoidance of certain situations or activities. Emotional trauma may require counseling, medication, or both.

Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as bruising, swelling, or tearing of the skin, are very painful injuries suffered in dog attack cases. These injuries require emergency medical attention. In some cases, soft tissue injuries may require surgery to repair muscle or nerve damage.


Seeking Damages After a Dog Bite

In 2021, dog bites and other dog-related injuries resulted in over one-third of the total homeowner’s liability claim dollars paid out, amounting to $881 million, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and State Farm, the biggest provider of homeowners insurance in the United States. [3]

Attack victims of Las Vegas dog bites may seek financial compensation for their losses by filing a Nevada personal injury claim against the dog owner. Damages that may be covered include medical bills, time away from work, emotional distress, pain, and suffering.

Medical expenses may also include the cost of cosmetic surgery, which is often required after a dog attack in order to repair scars and bite marks. A personal injury lawyer will advocate for fair compensation for all damages, whether economic damages or non-economic damages.


Shook & Stone: Your Personal Injury Attorneys in Nevada

The experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Shook & Stone know how to get dog bite victims the compensation they need.

Our experienced attorneys can review the facts of your case and provide advice on how to proceed. They can also help you gather evidence, file paperwork and negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement amount.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a dog attack by a dangerous animal, call our offices today at 702-570-0000 for a free consultation and comprehensive bite claim evaluation with a dog bite lawyer.


[1] Dog euthanized after deadly attack on elderly owner. (2022, September 12). Las Vegas Review-Journal. https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/dog-euthanized-after-deadly-attack-on-elderly-owner-2638700/

[2] After 3 dog bites, mail carrier trains co-workers on safety. (2018, April 11). Las Vegas Review-Journal. https://www.reviewjournal.com/life/health/after-3-dog-bites-mail-carrier-trains-co-workers-on-safety/

[3] Triple-I: U.S. Home Insurers Paid Out Nearly $900M in Dog-Related Claims in 2021 | III. (n.d.). Triple-I: U.S. Home Insurers Paid Out Nearly $900M in Dog-Related Claims in 2021 | III. https://www.iii.org/press-release/triple-i-us-home-insurers-paid-out-nearly-900m-in-dog-related-claims-in-2021-041222