Most dog bite cases do settle before going to trial, although it may take filing a lawsuit to get you the compensation you deserve. If the insurance company and/or lawyer representing the dog’s owner refuses to offer you fair compensation, your lawyer may advise you to go to trial.
Dealing with a dog bite claim should be managed by an experienced dog bite injury lawyer. In Las Vegas and Henderson, Kris Helmick of Pacific West Injury Law has that valuable experience in dealing with such cases.
After Receiving Medical Care for Your Dog Bite, Consider Hiring a Lawyer
If you have seen a doctor and are on the mend after suffering a dog bite, it is time to see a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and has experience with dog bite law cases. He will advise you on how to move forward.
If you have not already done so, you need to file a report with the police department that has authority over the location the bite occurred.
You should also notify animal control. A report is important for health reasons. If the dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, it will be quarantined. You may need additional medical attention. The report can also help prove negligence on the part of the owner.
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What Your Attorney Will Need from You
Your attorney will be there for you. He should explain the legal process step-by-step. For your lawyer to get to work on your case, he will need:
- The police report
- Your testimony
- The name and contact number of the dog’s owner
- The names and contact numbers of any witnesses
- Photographs of the dog and your injuries
- Your medical records following the attack
- Copies of any bills you have incurred
Nevada’s Statute of Limitations for Filing a Dog Bite Claim
If you suffered a dog bite in Nevada, you have two years from the day of the incident to file a claim. Compiling a case can take time. It is best to provide all information to your dog bite attorney as soon as possible, so he can get started on your case.
Proving Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Nevada has a one-bite rule. If there is no record that a dog has bitten anyone previously, there is a chance the owner may not be held responsible for your bite. That is not always the case, however.
If it can be proven the owner did not properly supervise or control their dog, he or she may be held accountable. Furthermore, if there is a report the dog has bitten someone before, the owner is accountable for a subsequent bite. As the victim of that bite, you have the right to compensation.
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Compensation You May Be Entitled To
Following a dog bite, you can expect to have your medical bills reimbursed. That includes the initial visit, x-rays, stitches, and prescription medication. You also should receive reimbursement for follow-up doctor visits, surgery, and physical therapy.
But compensation is not limited to physical injury. If you have suffered emotional trauma from the attack, or develop post-traumatic stress disorder, these issues also need to be addressed by a medical professional.
You may also lose time from work and suffer a loss of income. And you may not be able to do the things you normally do in your leisure time, suffering a loss of enjoyment in life. All these things should come into consideration when addressing the compensation you deserve.
Requirements for Keeping a Dangerous Dog Include Insurance Coverage
In Las Vegas and Henderson, if the dog has bitten before and is deemed a dangerous dog, the owner must have a minimum of $50,000 in liability insurance in case of a subsequent occurrence. Furthermore, a permit must be obtained through local animal control for the owner to keep the dog.
Getting that permit requires an inspection of housing and containment for the dog on the owner’s property. The dog must be neutered, microchipped, and registered in a national microchip registry. Warning signs regarding the dog must be posted on the property.
Choosing Whether to Settle or Go to Trial
Every dog bite case is different. While there is a deadline to file, there is no set amount of time a claim will take. While your attorney can offer advice on whether to accept an offer from the defendant’s attorney or insurance company, the decision is ultimately yours.
Attention must also be paid to your recovery. If you have not completely healed, it may be unwise to settle. You should at least have an estimate of future medical costs before agreeing on a settlement.
Before taking your case to court, consider that doing so will take more time. During that time, your case expenses will rise through court fees and more attorney hours. A settlement can take place up until you step into the courtroom for the trial and sometimes even during the trial.
But, if the dog’s owner, attorney, and insurance company are not willing to make or accept a reasonable offer, you may have no choice but to move forward.
What Does a Dog Bite Court Trial Entail?
A dog bite is considered a personal injury. Personal injury cases are civil cases that have the right to a jury under Nevada law. If you decide to take your dog bite case to trial, the decision of whether to ask for a jury trial or have a bench trial in which the decision comes down to a judge’s verdict is up to you and your attorney.
Many choose a trial by jury, but that is actually what many defendants are hoping for. That may work in his or her favor. It only takes one of 12 jurors to waffle or vote in the defendant’s favor to lose your case.
While there aren’t many statistics available, one study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) did reveal that plaintiffs did better in bench trials at 66% over jury trials at 53%. Damages awarded didn’t seem to vary much between the two.
Seek Help from an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you have suffered from a dog attack, call on a lawyer who knows how to navigate local and state laws to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Kris Helmick at Pacific West Injury Law to get a free consultation for your case. Let’s get started, today.