Dog Bites

Residents throughout Las Vegas love their dogs. Numerous families throughout the area have more than one dog living with them. Just because these dogs are friendly to the owners does not necessarily guarantee they will be friendly towards you.

Dog Bites Can Be Debilitating

Imagine you that you’re walking down the street with your family and a neighbor’s dog runs up and bites you. Or even worse, the dog bites your child. As a result, your child suffers facial disfigurement from the bite or sustained a broken bone or nerve damage as a result. You now have stacking medical bills and most likely you are unable to work now because of the dog bite trauma and the long recovery process ahead.

If a dog bite was to bite you on property that is owned commercially, such as, an apartment building or business, your legal situation is even more complex. Each year, numerous individuals suffer dog bite injuries that are debilitating and can lead to premises liability cases. What’s worse is that dozens of people die each year from dog bites, which means a wrongful death case.

Aside from death, individuals that are attacked by dogs often suffer:

  • Tissue loss
  • Broken bones
  • Extensive scarring
  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Rabies
  • Cellulitis
  • PTSD

These permanent damages take a toll on a dog bite victim both physically and mentally. We help dog bite victims like you pursue premises liability claims to recover medical costs, lost wages, and other related expenses. Contact the Aaron Law Group today for a free case evaluation.

What Damages Can Be Recovered For A Dog Bite?

If you or your child suffers a dog bite in Las Vegas, you can be compensated for your injury. Some losses covered by the compensation include:

  • The cost of medical bills
  • The need for reconstructive surgery
  • Lost wages
  • Scarring
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of spouse’s consortium
  • Damages and funeral expenses (where applicable)

In cases where owners are particularly reckless or send a dog after someone intentionally, additional compensation can be recovered under the state of Nevada’s punitive damage laws.

Punitive damages are typically awarded as punishment for wrongdoers and do not have to prove losses like compensatory damages do. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages when conduct is fraudulent, malice, or oppressive.

Dog Bite Statistics In The United States

Although dogs are often selected based on their companionship, a lot of people seek aggressive dogs to protect their home in case of burglary. Unfortunately, some dogs cannot differentiate safe people from intruders. For this reason, numerous dog bites occur each year in the U.S.

Over 4.7 million people in the United States suffer dog bites each year. Over half of these attacks involve young children. Roughly 20% of dog bites are serious enough to require medical attention.

Over 2/3 of dog bites occurred on or near the victim’s property. Most of the time the victim knows the dog. Either they have had personal contact with it or they have seen it in their neighborhood on previous occasions. Over 24% of victims killed by dogs each year are involved in incidents that occur off the dog owner’s property while 58% of human deaths occur on the owner’s property.

Children are common victims of dog attacks across the United States. Over 82% of emergency room visits for dog bites involve children under 15-years-of-age. Over 50% of attacks involve children under ten, and over 70% of individuals killed by dogs are under the age of ten.

Dog Bite Injuries And Liability Claims

In Las Vegas, certain individuals are more likely to suffer dog bites than others. Real estate professionals, home repair workers, and estate sales workers generally walk into unknown homes with dogs more often than others. Dogs think the people are intruders and attack them in an effort to protect their homes.

The state of Nevada does not have any specific laws applicable to dog bite cases. For this reason, dog bite victims often seek damages for their injuries under general negligence rules. A person is considered having acted negligently by failing to use reasonable care under the circumstances.

This generally accounts for individuals being careless or having a disregard for the safety of others. For dog owners, it is considered a negligent act when a dog bites another person and the owner fails to take reasonable steps to prevent them from being bitten. Letting the dog roam without a leash on public streets is an example of negligence that could lead to a dog bite injury.

Establishing Fault In Dog Bite Cases

In order for a premises liability claim to be successful, a claimant must prove that the dog’s owner acted negligently and, as a result, the victim sustained a dog bite. The fault is typically proven by providing proof of it by way of testimony from witnesses, photographs, videos, or the defendant’s own admissions. Medical records and physical evidence also helps to boost a claim against a defendant and also helps to prove damages sustained from the dog bite.

The state of Nevada does not recognize the “one bite rule” for dogs. This rule generally allows dog owners to get off being held liable for dog bites if they have never bitten anyone before. As Nevada does not recognize this rule, dog owners are held liable for damages sustained from their dog’s actions regardless of how many times it has happened in the past.

Dog Laws In Nevada

The state of Nevada does not have any laws that explicitly cover dog bite laws. Instead, they define a “dangerous dog” under Nevada statute §202.500, which describes it to be any dog that behaves menacingly toward other people on two or more occasions within an 18-month period. This includes dogs being off their premises and not confined to a cage or vehicle.

A dog is further defined as being vicious when it kills or injures a person without being provoked. It is illegal to own a vicious dog in the state of Nevada. Individuals that do own these dogs can be held liable in court for injuries their dog causes.

Dog owners in Las Vegas are required to control and restrain their animals in order to avoid risking public safety. This is generally true in cases where:

  • The dog was not properly secured while on the premises
  • The animal was not on a leash in public
  • The owner had knowledge of the dog’s violent nature

Although there are no specific dog laws established under Nevada law, punishment for negligence in these cases often relies on extensive case law. According to Harry v. Smith, 893 P.2d 372 (Nev. 1995), a dog owner must be proven negligent in order for an injury victim to succeed in their claim.

The case must demonstrate that the dog owner specifically failed to use reasonable care in an effort to prevent the injury from happening. Additionally, the lack of care had a direct impact on the victim sustaining the injuries. As a result of the injuries sustained, the victim must prove that their suffered damages, like lost wages and medical expenses, as a direct result from the injury. This enables them to sue the pet owner and recover these costs.

An injured party does not have to prove that the dog owner had knowledge about whether the dog was dangerous or not. The claimants need only prove that the owner was negligent.

Las Vegas has a law regarding pet leashes on the books. The law specifically states that all dogs must be on leashes whenever they are off the owner’s property unless the area specifically says leashes are not required (i.e.: some pet parks throughout the area do not require leashes).

If a person violates the lease law, they can be held negligent per se, which means other evidence does not need to be shown to prove any other extent of negligence. Leash laws were established for this particular reason – to keep people safe in public. Directly ignoring this law is reckless and dangerous in itself.

If you are injured by a dog on public property or while you legally on private property, the owner of the dog may be held liable for your injuries.  Contact the Aaron Law Group has more than two decades of experience handling these types of complicated personal injury claims.  We can help you too.

Common Questions From Dog Bite Victims

Individuals that sustain dog bites are often flooded with endless questions. Some common questions asked by these individuals are:

What Happens If A Child Is Bitten After Teasing A Dog?

Quite often, dog owners assert that their dog was teased, harassed, or provoked to bite. This is particularly common in cases where young children are bitten by dogs. This type of defense is extremely fact-specific. A dog owner making this claim must show proof that the dog was truly being provoked and that the person provoking the dog should have known that their actions could result in a dog bite.

It is generally assumed that young children do not fully comprehend their actions, which means we have to take all necessary steps to protect them from dangerous conditions. Unless a dog owner can clearly prove provocation, they are generally responsible for the injury and the resulting damages.

Additionally, Nevada recognizes comparative negligence, which means both parties can be at fault. The plaintiff must prove that they are less than 50% responsible for the dog bite in order to file a successful claim.

What Happens If There Are Multiple Dogs And Owners?

In cases where a pack of dogs attacks a person, each owner is responsible for the extent of damage inflicted by their own dog. If there is no way to prove what each dog is responsible for then each owner will be responsible for the debt in full.

How Much Money Can I Recovery From A Dog Bite Injury?

There is no way to predict how much compensation an injured party will receive from a dog bite injury. This amount is generally determined by the severity of the bite itself. Some attacks do not cause extensive damages, so victims are able to have their wound treated and go back to a semi-normal schedule. When bites are severe and cause permanent damage, extensive scarring, and result in multiple surgeries, the recovery amount is generally higher.

Additional factors, like lost wages, are also taken into consideration when determining how much compensation can be recovered. Further, if the attack is proven to be intentional, individuals can receive punitive damages up to $300,000 when compensatory damages are under $100,000 or up to three times the amount of compensatory damages when they are equal to or greater than $100,000.

How Long Do I Have To File A Dog Bite Claim?

In Nevada, injured parties generally have two years to file a claim against a property owner for dog bite injuries. The statute of limitation begins on the actual day of the attack and extends two years to allow injured parties to gather information and put together a case. Generally, it is best to file a lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid any delays. Doing so ensures that you do not miss any deadlines as being even one day over the 2-year statute of limitation will get your case thrown out.

Filing A Dog Bite Injury Claim

If you are injured by a dog bite, it is important that you contact the Nevada Law Offices of Aaron Law Group as soon as possible to file your claim. We will need to know the location where the attack took place, see any pictures of the injuries sustained from the attack, and the dog owners name and contact information.

The Aaron Law Group has worked in the personal injury field for more than 26 years.  We understand that each case is truly unique as are the circumstances surrounding each incident. We will analyze the wounds inflicted by the dog, any unwillingness by the dog to end the attack on different parts of the body, and other important to help build a stronger case.  If a dog, or another domestic animal, has bitten or attacked you or your child, contact us today for a free consultation to explore what legal options are available for you.  Call the Aaron Law Group today for a free consultation at 702-550-1111.