Nevada has no explicit laws that state when a dog owner can be held responsible if their dog bites another person. The evident lack of clarification usually leaves dog bite claims open to interpretation and determined by common law.
The one law that comes close to holding a dog owner responsible for a dog bite is the ‘one-bite rule. The one-bite rule states that a dog owner is typically liable for any incidents if their pet has had a biting incident before. If the dog has bitten someone before, the law expects the owner to assume that the dog is possibly aggressive or violent towards humans and other dogs.
When is a Dog Considered ‘Vicious’?
Following the animal’s first bite, a dog is considered vicious, and the owner has to take precautionary measures to protect those around them from the dog. After the attack, the owner is mandated to report the incident to Las Vegas Animal Control, where the mutt will be isolated for ten days to ensure it wasn’t diseased or rabid.
Most times, the liability of such claims following the one-bite rule, is a comparative liability when an attorney has to prove negligence. This ultimately means that a court of law must find you, the plaintiff, less than 51% responsible for your dog bite injuries.
Suppose the court determines you participated in causing the dog to attack (say, tried trespassing or robbing the dog owner, causing the animal to attack). In that case, you won’t be able to go forward with your legal action against the owner or pursue damages. The state of Nevada provides a two-year statute of limitations for which you have to file your dog claim.
What Qualifies as a ‘Dangerous Dog’ in Nevada
Nevada states that a dog can be labeled a ‘dangerous dog‘ if it has behaved viciously towards people in the following ways:
- Bites twice in 18 months
- Acts without any provocation by torment or pain
- When the pup is at large or off its leash
The tricky part about this aspect of the law is that the owner isn’t necessarily breaking any rules by keeping a dangerous dog in Nevada. However, anyone who owns a dangerous dog must comply with laws and regulations that apply to dangerous dogs. The laws typically include:
- Getting a permit from the Animal Regulation Officer that shows the dog is vicious
- Spay or neuter the animal
- Obtain a microchip for the dog
- Keep the dog securely enclosed on the owner’s property and posting visible warning signs
- When the animal is away from the confines of the property, it has to be muzzled, leashed, and placed under control
- Obtaining written approval from the control officer before selling the animal or giving it away
Refusal or failure to comply with these laws is typically punishable as a misdemeanor. The owner could also be held in negligence “per se” for any dog bite. This means that the owner can be held accountable and sued for any damages in Nevada.
How to Prove a Dog Bite Claim
When assessing a dog attack liability in Nevada, three critical elements come to play in a claim:
1. The Dog Behaved in a Vicious Manner
As a victim, you need to show the dog’s owner was aware that the pet was dangerous. The animal must have shown behaviors considered abnormal for the specific breed. An owner who knows that their dog behaved strangely but neglects to take action to prevent an attack can be held liable for any harm the dog causes.
2. The Owner Played a Part in the Attack
If a dog owner’s actions led the pup to attack, they would be liable for any damages the dog causes. Even if an animal hasn’t bitten anyone before, dog owners are still responsible if the plaintiff can prove that the owner failed to follow reasonable precautions. Negligence has four elements:
- The dog owner had a duty of care
- The defendant breached his duty
- The breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff
- The injury resulted in damages
A good example is when a dog owner allows the dog to launch an unprovoked attack on a passerby. If the dog causes harm to the person, the owner could be held responsible for any injuries the passerby gets, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
3. Owner Refused or Failed to Take Action
Every dog owner has to be responsible for their pet’s actions. This includes attempting to stop or prevent their dog from attacking someone else. If they neglect to take responsibility and allow the attack to happen, they could be liable if the animal bites another person.
Whenever a dog starts attacking another person, they usually show signs of aggression that can serve as indicators of an impending injury. The signs include the following:
- Makes direct eye contact with the victim
- Wags its tail stiffly
- Spreads its legs apart and throws its chest out
- Makes a low rumbling growl
If the owner fails to notice any of these signs and doesn’t intervene to prevent the possible attack, they could be liable for negligence.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today for Help
At Pacific West Injury Law Firm, we offer the legal help you might need to have a shot for your dog bite injury claim to hold in court. You can reach the firm by filling an online case evaluation form. Contact our skilled attorneys today for more help.
We provide initial free consultations and don’t collect legal fees unless we successfully get you your much-deserved compensation. If you or your loved one has been a victim of a Nevada dog bite attack, get in touch with a Pacific West Injury Law Firm attorney today to discuss liability and determine whether you are eligible for compensation.