Dog attacks can be terrifying and cause severe injuries to the dog bite victim. Recovering compensation after being bitten by a dog can be critical when you are faced with expensive medical costs.
At Pacific West Injury Law, we are dedicated to ensuring that all dog bite victims have access to experienced legal counsel. Our team of dog bite attorneys in Winchester, NV, is dedicated to helping you get the money you need after an attack.
Determining Liability for a Dog Bite Injury
The first thing you must do before you can personally sue for a dog bite injury is to determine who is at fault. In most cases, the dog’s owner will be liable for your damages. However, a dog walker or another party taking care of the dog at the time of the attack could also be responsible.
Things get a bit trickier when the dog is loose at the time of the attack. A dog bite attorney may be able to help you track down the dog’s owner in this situation. If the dog is a stray, the government entity responsible for the public property where the attack occurred could be held liable.
It is also essential to note that if the dog does not have a prior attack history, you may not be able to recover compensation for your dog bite injury at all under Nevada’s “one-bite rule.”
Steps of a Dog Bite Lawsuit
When pursuing compensation through a dog bite lawsuit, there are several steps between hiring an attorney and recovering compensation. After hiring a dog bite lawyer in Winchester, they will get started on your case by launching an independent investigation into the attack. The purpose of the inquiry will be to identify who is liable and collect evidence to support your claim.
The next step will be for your lawyer to assess your damages and calculate the full value of your claim. Then, your attorney will draw up the necessary paperwork and file your lawsuit with the court. Once your lawsuit has been filed, the pretrial process can begin. Steps in the pretrial process include:
In discovery, both parties will share the evidence they have accumulated. This sharing of evidence helps ensure a fair trial by giving both sides a chance to review all the evidence and prepare a response supporting or refuting the details of the case in court.
At the end of the discovery process, depositions are taken. A deposition is a testimony given by witnesses and parties involved in the incident. Depositions are taken outside the court in the presence of a court stenographer, who will record the proceedings. Legal counsel for both parties will take turns asking questions of the deponent. This testimony may be used in court.
The final step before a case moves to trial is mediation. Mediation is presided over by a non-partial third party, who will help the two sides attempt to find mutual ground and reach a settlement agreement that will allow them to avoid a courtroom battle.
Throughout the entire pretrial process, your attorney will be in contact with opposing counsel, attempting to negotiate a settlement deal. If a deal is reached at any point, your case will end, and you’ll be able to recover the agreed-upon compensation.
However, if a dog bite settlement is not reached by the end of mediation, your case will go to trial, where your attorney will attempt to win a favorable ruling on your behalf.
Dog Bite Attorneys Work on a Contingency Fee Basis
People are often hesitant to hire a lawyer because they fear that they will not be able to afford to pay what the lawyer charges. While this may be a valid worry in many situations, it should not be a worry when it comes to hiring a dog bite attorney. Rather than charging a high hourly rate, these lawyers charge their clients based on results.
When you hire a Winchester dog bite lawyer, you will agree to pay them a fixed percentage of the money you recover from the liable party. This fee will be the only one that your attorney will collect for their services. That means their pay will be higher the more money they get you, and failure to recover compensation on your behalf means they work for free.
Damages You Can Recover After a Dog Bite
After being bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for several different types of damages. These damages are divided into three primary categories.
Any losses occurring as a result of your dog bite that has a direct impact on your finances are considered economic damages. Common economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Property damage
- Home or vehicle modifications needed to accommodate a disability
- Lost income
- Diminished earning ability
The rest of the losses resulting from your dog bite fall into the much broader category of non-economic damages. Common non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Lowered quality of life
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and other disfigurements
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are far different than the compensatory damages listed above. The purpose of awarding punitive damages is not to replace a loss suffered by the dog bite victim. Instead, punitive damages are meant as a punishment for the at-fault party.
Punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases where the dog owner acted in a manner that was criminally negligent or ordered or encouraged the dog to attack.
Be Sure to File Your Dog Bite Lawsuit on Time
Under Nevada law, dog bite injury victims have two years from the date of their attack to file a claim. However, this statute of limitations can be altered in certain circumstances. This could mean that you might still be able to file a lawsuit after the two years have passed. Alternatively, you could find that you have far less time to pursue compensation.
The best way to ensure you meet all deadlines and protect your right to recover compensation is by hiring a dog bite lawyer shortly after your attack. An experienced dog bite attorney will be able to identify if any special circumstances apply to your case and make sure your lawsuit gets filed without any problems.
Reach Out to a Dog Bite Attorney in Winchester Today
At Pacific West Law, our dedicated team of Winchester dog bite lawyers will do everything possible to ensure you get the compensation you need after an attack. If you have been bitten by a dog and need legal assistance, you can contact us by phone or through our online contact form to schedule a free case review today.