Nearly 77 million dogs are living in households across the country, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. And millions of people are bitten by dogs every year. Gratefully, Nevada does not rank near the top of the list of states for the number of dog bites each year.
Many states follow the one-bite rule including Nevada. Instead of an actual legal statute, the one-bite rule can protect a dog owner in the first occurrence of their dog biting someone, but not always.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite you should call upon a Las Vegas or Henderson attorney familiar and experienced with Nevada law and rulings about such an incident.
Nevada’s One Bite Rule
In some cases, a dog owner may be responsible for a dog bite on a first occurrence. However, if a dog has bitten before, and there is a record of it, the owner is responsible for subsequent bite injuries.
If you have experienced a dog bite, you can file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner for recovery of medical costs and other damages. According to Nevada law, definitions of a dog that may bite include:
This is a dog that has been subjected to pain or tormented in the past and reacted by biting.
A dangerous dog is one that behaves menacingly without being provoked in two separate incidents within an 18-month period.
A vicious dog is defined as one that inflicts substantial bodily harm without being provoked. Following such an instance and after the owner has been notified by authorities, if the dog continues to show potentially dangerous behavior to anyone, it is deemed vicious.
There are exceptions to the above. For example, a dog that defends its owners and/or property against someone committing a crime. But the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog should be held accountable.
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Other Dog-Related Injuries
A dog can be to blame for injuries other than a bite. Other related injuries in which a dog owner may be held liable include:
- Severe scratches which can become infected,
- Injuries resulting from running away from an aggressive dog,
- A slip-and-fall accident when an untrained eager dog jumps or in another way knocks someone down.
Dangerous Dogs and Insurance
In Nevada, there is no law stating you cannot own a dangerous dog. In Las Vegas, there are conditions in which one can keep a dangerous dog, one of which is that owners must keep a liability insurance policy with no less than $50,000 in case of a dog bite. Other conditions include:
- The dog will not leave the property unless leashed, muzzled, and under control of an adult,
- The property on which the dog lives must have properly posted warning signs that include the name and phone number of the owner,
- The dog must be neutered or spayed, and records kept of the date of, and the veterinarian who performed the surgery,
- The dog must be microchipped with the number included in a national database as well as given to local animal control.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nearly 18,000 dog bite claims across the country in 2019 and 17,000 in 2020. The cost of claims averaged close to $45,000 in 2019 and more than $50,000 in 2020, although liability limits typically average between $100,000 and $300,000.
What to do When You Suffer a Dog Bite or Other Dog-Related Injury
The City of Henderson recommends anyone bitten by a dog should wash out the wound(s) carefully and seek medical attention. If the wound(s) is severe and potentially life-threatening, you should call 9-1-1. Otherwise, a trip to the emergency room or urgent care may be warranted.
If the injured party has an open wound, the dog owner will be required to show proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination.
Photographs of the injury should be taken before treatment and immediately following, if possible. It is a good idea for the injured party to write down everything about the incident including a description of the dog and how the encounter came about.
The bite should be reported to the governing animal control agency where the bite occurred. They will want a description of the animal, the name and contact information of the owner if known, and the location of the incident.
You should then contact an experienced dog-bite attorney experienced with Nevada’s one-bite rule and liability cases regarding dog bites.
While it may be tempting to contact the dog’s owner, especially if you know him or her, it may be crucial to your case to wait and let your attorney take care of that for you. The owner may not be aware of the incident or may have witnessed the bite, but either way, he or she will, most likely, be defensive of their pet. Leave it up to your attorney to make that call.
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What a Dog-Bite Attorney Can Do for You
When seeking compensation for a dog bite injury, you need a lawyer by your side. Pacific West Injury Law has the expertise you need. There are various approaches to getting you the appropriate compensation following a dog bite, whether it was the dog’s first time biting someone, or it has caused injury to someone before. Only an experienced dog-bite lawyer knows the proper approach to take.
Your attorney will reach out to the dog owner for you and collect evidence about the attack. He can also ascertain whether there is insurance coverage that may provide proper compensation or whether a lawsuit may be necessary. If a lawsuit is filed, there is a good chance that it can be settled without having to go to court.
What You Can Expect in Compensation
A dog bite can result in more than immediate care medical bills. Depending upon the severity of the bite, some other compensation could include:
- Prescription medication,
- Physical and/or occupational therapy,
- Reconstructive surgery,
- Recovery of lost wages from time off work,
- Pain and suffering.
Statute of Limitations
In Nevada, you must file a dog-bite claim within two years from the day of the injury. If you miss the two-year deadline, there is no way to recover damages. It is best to file as early as possible following recovery and when the total damages are known. Your dog-bite lawyer can help determine the best timeline for your case.
Injured by a Dog Bite, Contact Pacific West Injury Law
Being bitten by a dog can be a harrowing experience. No matter the extent of your injuries, you need an experienced legal firm to help you navigate the legal system. The staff at Pacific West Injury Law can provide decades of experience in dog-bite litigation while you recover from your injuries. Contact us for your free consultation today!