Have you or your child recently been hurt in a dog bite incident? This can be an overwhelming and even confusing experience, and one that causes you to question whether the owner of the dog can be held legally responsible for your injuries.
Nevada Dog Bite Laws
While many other states have specific laws to address liability for dog bites, Nevada does not. Nevada does, however, follow the “one bite rule” which holds that dog owners are not automatically responsible for their dog biting a person for the first time—though they could still be negligent depending on the circumstances—they are likely to be found liable for any subsequent bites, as their dog will be considered a “vicious” dog.
If you are attacked by a dog in Nevada, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, especially when you have sustained devastating medical conditions like an infection or scar, or if you require plastic surgery to repair damage from a dog bite.
Dog Bite Injuries
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports that that nearly 5 million individuals are attacked every single year by a dog, and approximately 20% of those incidents are critical enough to need intensive medical care. This makes it extremely important for anyone who has recently been bitten by a dog or is the parent of a child who has been attacked to get medical attention immediately.
While certain breeds of dogs have been associated with a higher likelihood of biting than others, it is important to remember that any dog can exhibit dangerous or aggressive behavior.
Dogs may bite due to:
- A perceived stressful situation;
- Feeling threatened;
- Protection over themselves, their owners, or their puppies; or
- Being startled suddenly or provoked.
Most dog bites are not serious in nature, but the circumstances of the bite will dictate whether the victim requires advanced medical help. Since even the dog owner might not know or tell the truth about the dog’s vaccinations or medical history, every person bit by a dog should seek medical treatment and consider getting the rabies vaccine.
Child Victims of Dog Bites
About half of victims of dog bites are children, and most of these victims are between the ages of 5 and 9. For a young child, a dog bite can lead to devastating physical and emotional injuries. Children injured by a dog bite may carry a fear of dogs for years, even into adulthood. If your child has suffered a dog bite, it is crucial to get them both the medical and emotional help they need and set up a consultation with a knowledgeable dog bite attorney.
How Much is a Dog Bite Claim Worth?
The owner of the dog might attempt to approach you with a settlement offer to avoid a claim through their homeowner’s insurance. However, it is important to remember that, as a victim, you should consult with an experienced dog bite attorney to identify the recommended route for recovery of compensation.
Accepting a settlement offer from the owner of the dog might resolve your case quickly but could also mean that you accept an amount that is far less than what your case is actually worth. It is important to consider many factors when determining the value of your claim, including the nature and extent of your injuries.
The exact value of your claim will depend the severity of your injuries, medical treatment, need for future medical treatment, medical bills, time off from work, degree of temporary or permanent disability, and emotional distress.
Holding A Dog Owner Liable
If you have suffered a dog bite, you must be able to prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover compensation. You must prove that the owner of the dog failed to use appropriate care to prevent the injury, which caused your injuries and resulting monetary and/or non-monetary damages. Current Nevada law does not require that a dog owner have knowledge about the aggressive or dangerous nature of the dog for the victim to recover damages, though proving that the owner did have such knowledge will likely strengthen your claim.
You must file a claim against the dog owner no more than two years from the date your injury occurred. The longer you wait to file your claim, the more difficult it may be to collect evidence essential to proving your claim, like testimony from witnesses who observed the incident.
Many dog bite cases in Las Vegas can be successfully resolved outside of court, but it is also important to have a dog bite lawyer determine the value of your claim and evaluate proposed settlement offers.
If you or a loved one have been injured in the Las Vegas area by a dog bite, contact The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC. We will use our years of experience in personal injury law to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
Gina Corena is a skilled litigator that has practiced in Nevada her entire career. Ms. Corena prides herself in her devotion to representing injured clients and has acquired millions in settlements and litigation awards for her clients since founding The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC. Named a Top 40 under 40 Attorney by the American Society of Legal Advocates and one of the “Ten Best Attorneys” in Nevada for her exceptional and outstanding client services, Gina Corena is a litigator that will fight for you.
For a consultation and review of your case, contact us online or by phone at (702) 680-1111.