If your dog has recently bitten someone, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer that specializes in dog bites immediately. Even if the person who was bitten has not filed a lawsuit yet, talking to a qualified personal injury attorney will definitely be in your best interest.
Many people mistakenly think that personal injury lawyers are only for people who have been injured. However, lawyers that practice this area of law are well-versed in all of the requirements that must be met in order to receive compensation in a personal injury case. This means that a personal injury lawyer can help figure out if you are liable for the injuries that the victim sustained, and they can then counsel you on the appropriate steps to take next.
Am I Automatically Considered Liable for Damages if My Dog Bit Someone?
In Nevada, there are no dog bite statutes. You are not automatically considered liable for the damages that your dog might have caused. When a court is trying to decide whether or not the owner of the dog is liable for the damages, they will consider the following factors:
Nevada’s “One Bite” Rule
If your dog is considered to be dangerous or vicious, you could be held liable if it bites someone. In Clark County, citizens have a legal obligation to report dog bites to an Animal Control Officer or a health officer.
When you report the dog bite, the officer will check to see if this particular dog has ever bitten anyone before. If this is the first time that your dog has bitten another person, then you may not be held liable.
However, if the Animal Control Officer can determine that your dog has bitten someone in the past, you could be labeled as “vicious” or “dangerous.” Owners of vicious or dangerous dogs could be held liable for any damages that were sustained as a direct result of your dog’s actions.
Even if your dog does not have a history of violent behavior, you may still be held liable if the court can prove that you acted negligently. If it can be proven that you did not act in a responsible manner when your dog was around the person who was bitten, the court may find that you were negligent.
For example, if you allowed your dog to go around a young child without being supervised, it could be considered negligent if the dog bit the child. If the court finds that you did, in fact, act negligent, the “one bite” is no longer relevant.
Negligence “Per Se”
Nevada has a specific set of “negligence per se” laws when it comes to dog bites. If you were not following the current laws and regulations of a certain area, you could be held liable.
For example, the Las Vegas Strip has certain areas where dogs are restricted from being. If you had your dog in these areas when it bit someone, you could be held liable under “negligence per se” laws.
Also, in Henderson and Las Vegas, dogs have to be on a leash or in a fenced-in area at all times. If your dog happened to escape your fenced-in backyard and bit someone, that could also be considered ” negligence per se.”
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Can I Face Criminal Charges if My Dog Bites Someone?
Your dog is considered to be “dangerous” or “vicious” if it has bitten someone on more than one occasion. According to NRS §202.500, the dog is also considered to be vicious when it has “killed or inflicted substantial bodily harm upon a human being” without being provoked.
In Nevada, it is illegal to keep a dog that has been deemed “vicious.” It is also illegal to give away a vicious dog. If your dog has been declared to be a dangerous animal, you could face criminal charges if it bit another person. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you could possibly face up to four years in prison as well as have to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
How do I Pay for the Damages My Dog Caused?
If you are found to be liable for the harm that your dog caused when it bit someone, you will be responsible for paying any damages that the victim incurred. Some of the costs that are associated with a dog bite could include:
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
The costs that are associated with dog bites can be exceptionally expensive. However, you may not have too many out-of-pocket expenses if you have homeowner’s insurance.
Depending on your policy, your homeowners or renter’s insurance may pay for your legal fees as well as damages that you are liable for. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), some policyholders may be able to get between $100,000 and $300,000 if their dog bites someone. However, if the damages were more than what your insurance company is willing to pay, you would be responsible to pay for the remainder of the costs.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Cases in Nevada?
In Nevada, most personal injury cases – including dog bites – have a two-year statute of limitations. If the victim of the dog bite waits over two years to try to receive compensation, they will not be able to pursue damages or file a lawsuit.
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The Attorneys at Pacific West Injury Law Can Help You with Your Dog Bite Case
If your dog has recently bitten someone, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Our team of professional dog bite injury lawyers will look at your case and give you the best advice possible for your unique situation. If it looks like you may be liable, we can help you put this matter behind you as quickly as possible.