More than one-third of Nevada households have one or more dogs. They can bring joy and emotional support to their families. Some provide even more by working as guide dogs or service dogs.
But some dogs are not so friendly to strangers, and others can become defensive when frightened or protecting their owners, resulting in a severe bite. If you have suffered a dog bite in Nevada, you should be seen by a medical professional, file a dog bite report, and make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer.
Why and Where Should You Report a Dog Bite?
Whether you know the owner of the dog that bit you or not, a dog bite should be reported to officials. In fact, in most areas of Nevada, including Clark County, that states dog bites are a daily occurrence, it is your legal duty to report a dog bite to local animal control or the city or county health officer. This applies to the owner of the dog, as well as the individual who was bitten.
Filing a dog bite report will:
- Provide you and your lawyer with records on the dog, its owner, a history of any previous bites, and the dog’s vaccination history.
- Provide legal documentation of the incident, which can help you down the line should you need to file an insurance or legal claim.
- Trigger an investigation into the dog. If the dog has a history of biting, it could be deemed dangerous, and the owner may be required to carry a liability insurance policy with no less than $50,000 in case of a bite. The owner will also have had to take extra precautions to prevent the dog from biting again, else risk criminal consequences.
- Help protect others. If the dog was not considered dangerous before, it could become so after your incident providing those extra precautions and special insurance by its owner.
With any bite which breaks the skin, you need confirmation the dog is up-to-date with its rabies vaccine. If the dog has not received its rabies booster, or if the dog is a stray and its vaccination record is unknown, you may need to receive rabies shots for your own protection in addition to your other treatment.
Why Do You Need a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer?
Many dog bites cause severe injuries and even if the wound isn’t deep, you can easily get an infection. You may have nerve or tendon damage, broken bones, and permanent scarring.
Your medical costs could be well into the tens of thousands of dollars, and you may have suffered emotional trauma as well. You need compensation for your injuries and a dog bite injury attorney to help you get it. In Las Vegas, Henderson, or the surrounding area turn to Pacific West Injury Law.
What Compensation You Should Fight to Receive
Damages from a dog bite your lawyer can help you pursue include:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses including emergency department visit, hospitalization, and treatment
- Physical therapy
- Reconstructive surgery
- Future medical care costs
- Mental health counseling
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earnings
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
Every dog bite injury is different and so is every dog bite lawsuit. The damages and compensation you can file for will depend upon your specific case.
Nevada’s One-Bite Rule
Nevada is one of 16 states that has a one-bite rule. While there are some instances for which a dog owner may not be held responsible the first time their dog bites someone, that isn’t the case if the dog bites again.
If there is evidence the dog has bitten before, it has likely been cited as a dangerous dog. If that is the case, the owner will be held accountable for any subsequent bites.
Timeframe to File a Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit
In Nevada, you have up to two years to file a civil lawsuit for a dog bite injury. Failure to meet the deadline could mean:
- The court could dismiss your case
- The insurance company may avoid paying your claim
- The financial burden of your dog bite injuries could be yours alone
There may be some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations and to which an experienced Nevada dog bite injury lawyer would be familiar. Pacific West Injury Law has that knowledge and will file your case within the necessary timeframe.
What Can You Expect from Your Dog Bite Injury Lawyer?
When you first meet with Kris Helmick, founding attorney of Pacific West Injury Law, you can expect a free consultation. This gives Kris a chance to review the facts of your dog bite injury, and you time to get to know Kris.
If you and Kris agree on the validity of your case, you can move forward. Your attorney, case manager, and legal team will further investigate the incident. Your attorney will then write a demand letter to the liable party’s insurance company. The letter will be written on the firm’s letterhead and will:
- Provide the circumstances of your dog bite, including the date and time of occurrence
- Provide a list of your damages
- Explain what you expect in compensation
- Have attached a copy of the dog bite report filed by you or law enforcement immediately after the incident and will include a report of the findings from animal control’s investigation
Showing that you have legal representation and how serious you are in pursuing compensation for your injuries may make the insurance company more apt to consider a settlement out of court.
Negotiating a Settlement or Going to Court
The majority of personal injury lawsuits, including dog bite injury claims, are settled out of court. You can count on Pacific West Injury Law to fight to get you the best settlement possible for your injuries.
But, if the defendant’s attorney and the insurance representative will not meet our terms, you can count on us to be ready to litigate your case in a Nevada courtroom.
Why Hire Pacific West Injury Law?
A dog bite claim can be complex. Pacific West Injury Law has experience in dog bite law and winning cases. If you, your child, or any other loved one has recently suffered a dog bite, contact Pacific West Injury Law for your free initial consultation today!