Dog bites can lead to serious injuries. Even the smallest pets can inflict severe wounds that take a long time to heal. Additionally, they could spread disease and contribute to infection while leaving you with sizable medical bills and lost wages.
In the United States, dog bite injuries are a significant health problem. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you could recover damages. By hiring a dog bite lawyer in Nevada, it’s possible to increase your chance of getting the money you deserve.
What Are My Legal Options After a Dog Bite?
Your legal options after a dog bite are:
- File a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company.
- Take the case to a small claims court.
- File a lawsuit against the dog owner.
While you take any of the above actions on your own, hiring a dog bite injury lawyer can help obtain higher compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call 702-602-HURT
What Does the Law Say About Dog Bites in Nevada?
A dog bite is a personal injury. If you’ve sustained personal injuries due to another person’s (in this case – dog owner’s) negligence, you could recover damages. However, just as with any personal injury, you would need to prove the other party’s negligence.
When it comes to dog bites in Nevada, doing this can be somewhat tricky.
Unlike some other states, Nevada doesn’t have a strict liability dog bite law. It follows a one-bite rule, which states that a dog owner is only liable for your injuries if they know or should have known that their dog could inflict them.
Many people mistakenly believe that the one-bite rule means that they can’t sue the owner unless the dog bit someone in the past. In reality, it means that if a dog exhibits dangerous behavior, the owner should know about it and act accordingly. Besides biting, dangerous behavior may include:
- Growling and snapping at strangers
- Jumping on people (even if the jump is friendly, a large dog can knock a person over and cause serious injuries like TBI)
- Fighting other dogs and injuring them
- Chasing cars (it means that when agitated, the dog may be capable of chasing people)
If you can prove that the dog exhibited such behavior in the past, you could have a strong case. Hiring a dog bite injury lawyer can help you get the most out of it.
Can I Sue the Dog’s Owner Without a Lawyer?
You aren’t obligated to hire a lawyer to recover compensation in your dog bite case. If your damages aren’t sizable, you could file a small claims complaint. In Nevada, the limit of a small claims court payout is $10,000. If your damages exceed $10,000, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that regardless of which court you take your claim to, you still need to file all the necessary paperwork, collect evidence, prepare your case, and present it. Doing this without legal representation is possible but complicated. With a dog bite attorney on your team, you can avoid numerous mistakes and get a shot at higher compensation.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Dog Bite Case?
If the dog owner’s unreasonable carelessness resulted in your injuries, you can prove negligence. Reasonable care includes:
- Putting up fences and warning signs to let people know there is a dog on the property.
- Knowing the dog’s past history of violence and acting upon it. This includes keeping a dog on the leash, letting it outside in a muzzle, and avoiding known triggers of dangerous behavior.
- Learning about the dog’s breed. Some breeds may be more inclined toward violent behavior than others.
In Nevada, dogs that exhibit dangerous behavior can be classified as:
- Dangerous dogs – the dog owner must take precautions to prevent injuries. That includes purchasing liability insurance.
- Vicious dogs – there is a law that prevents Nevada residents from keeping or selling vicious dogs.
If you can demonstrate that the dog is classified as dangerous or vicious, you could recover sizable compensation.
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How Much Money Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Case?
The average cost of a dog bite claim in the U.S. is over $50,000. The amounts increase every year due to the rising medical expenses and the overall tendency of judges awarding higher payouts. The damages you can try to recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
In many cases, a dog owner’s insurance can cover the damages:
- Homeowner’s and renter’s liability insurance (usually from $100,000 to $300,000).
- Animal liability insurance (limits depend on the premium).
What If My Damages Exceed My Allowed Insurance Limit?
If the amount of your damages exceeds the insurance limit, you can go to court and sue the homeowner for the rest of the money. To do that, you will most likely need an attorney. Otherwise, you could spend a substantial amount of time and effort fighting for compensation but lose your case anyway. The amount of recovered damages also depends on:
- The quality of evidence
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Expert witness testimonies
- The extent of the damages
With the one-bite rule making it harder to obtain compensation in a dog bite case, the attorney’s expertise is often the deciding factor.
Speak to an Experienced Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today
If a dog bite resulted in injuries, don’t try to deal with them on your own. In many cases, medical expenses can be substantial.
A dog bite injury attorney from Pacific West Injury Law will evaluate your case, discuss your legal options, estimate possible damage recovery, and take you through negotiations and court proceedings. To learn more, please contact our team today.