You must know what to do if a dog bites you to improve your prognosis and better your chances of recovering compensation. Like any other premises liability case, you must provide evidence to satisfy specific elements for your dog-bite injury claim to be successful in Las Vegas, Nevada. These elements include the dog’s dangerous behavior, the owner’s failure to take action, and the owner’s negligent actions that led to the dog-bite injury. You can only receive compensation if you prove all these elements.
Nevada follows the one-bite rule, which states that a dog is considered vicious or dangerous once it has bitten someone. Nevada law defines a dangerous dog as a dog that has behaved threateningly toward people without getting provoked when off-leash or at large. A premises liability lawyer can guide you if you are considering pursuing compensation after a dog bite.
What Are Nevada’s Dog Bite Laws?
Dog owners are not automatically liable for damages if their dog attacks another person. They can only be held responsible for the attack under the one-bite rule, or if their actions provoked or contributed to the attack.
You are still entitled to compensatory damages, even if you sustained an injury from a dog with no biting record. The reason is that Nevada law considers vicious and dangerous dogs a major cause of dog bite accidents. The law also considers the following negligent acts as the source of many dog bites:
- Allowing a dog to interact unsupervised with a vulnerable person, like a young child
- Violating local animal ordinances
- Failing to intervene when the animal starts showing aggression signs towards a person, like pinning ears back, barking, and growling
- Allowing the pet to escape and failing to fix gates or fences
Steps to Take After Getting Injured by an Aggressive Dog
You can pursue compensation if you suffer injuries or losses due to someone else’s negligence. If you are wondering what to do after a dog attack, hire a lawyer to offer insights on maneuvering the dog-bite injury claim process. Your lawyer will advise you to locate the pet owner and notify the owner about your losses or injuries.
You should also get the owner’s primary contact information for communication. If you can, take photos of details that may help your case. The photos may cover your physical injuries or a broken fence that allowed the pet to break free.
Visit a physician to examine the bite injury and treat any other physical injuries you may have. Then, report the accident to the relevant authorities.
After seeking treatment, stick to the physician’s instructions and recommendations. You should also see the physician for further treatment if there is a sign of infection in the bite wound.
Keeping copies of receipts, bills, and invoices from any medical costs you incurred can help build your injury claim. The same applies to income statements or pay stubs if you took time off work to recover from the injuries.
When to Get a Lawyer
There’s no specific deadline or guideline for hiring a lawyer to help you with your claim if a dog bites you. However, you should enlist the professional services of a lawyer shortly after sustaining an injury or suffering any loss. Do not handle any step of the compensation process without trusted legal counsel.
Knowing when to work with a lawyer can determine your claim’s course. Attacks from dogs usually happen unexpectedly. As such, you may not be prepared to contact a lawyer immediately. You should, however, get a lawyer on board as soon as possible.
A lawyer can help you get the dog owner’s contact and insurance information. This is especially true if the owner is unwilling to share this information. You may also count on your legal counsel to dig up information on the dog owner’s insurance and dog’s vaccination records.
Your lawyer may send investigators to collect evidence to prove the dog owner was negligent during the attack. The lawyer may also investigate the dog’s history of biting or showing aggression to people. Your lawyer will help you with your claim by:
- Informing you about your legal compensation options
- Filing your claim with the dog owner’s renters or homeowner’s insurer
- Aggressively negotiating for settlement
- Preparing the case to proceed to court if the insurer denies your claim
- Representing you fully at trial if necessary
In Nevada, When Is a Dog Considered Dangerous?
Nevada law describes a dangerous dog as a dog that has presented menacing behavior to a level that would cause a reasonable individual to defend himself or herself against significant bodily injury. The dog should have displayed the menacing behavior in two different instances within 18 months. Additionally, the dog should have been unconfined or outside the owner’s premises.
Note that a dog is not considered dangerous if it attacks a person who is engaging or attempting to engage in criminal activities, or who provokes it.
While it is not mandatory to avoid adopting dangerous dogs in Las Vegas, some laws apply. The municipal and state laws and regulations require dog owners to obtain a valid permit from the Animal Regulation Officer, keep the pet muzzled and leashed under a top-security space and neuter, or spay the animal.
They also require dog owners to get an Animal Control Officer approval letter before relocating or giving the pet away.
What Is the One-Bite Rule?
Under the one-bite rule, dog owners are liable for damages if they knew or should have known the animal might act in a harmful or dangerous manner.
Dog Bite Statute of Limitations in Nevada
The statute of limitations for dog-bite injuries is two years. The deadline starts on the day you got attacked and runs up to two years to allow both parties to investigate the attack, gather information, and prepare a case.
Proving a Dog Bite Claim in Las Vegas
Dog owners in Nevada are liable for damages and other expenses suffered by a bite victim if they are found negligent, and the dog is declared vicious or dangerous. If you successfully prove a dog bite claim in Las Vegas, Nevada, you may recover different types of damages.
Compensation after the dog bite will largely depend on the state laws and the extent of your injuries. Either way, you can get compensated for economic damages (lost wages and medical bills) and non-economic damages (emotional distress and pain and suffering). Before you get there, you must provide compelling evidence to prove the following:
The Dog’s Behavior Was Dangerous
Scavenging and aggression are considered two of the most common dog behavioral problems. These behaviors may be annoying or considered harmful to people who are strangers to the dog. If a dog bites a person after displaying these signs, chances are that it portrays dangerous behavior.
As you pursue a claim for your losses or injuries, you must show that the owner knew or should have known through reasonable diligence the dog’s dangerous disposition. Your lawyer should also help you show that the dog had certain behaviors associated with danger.
In circumstances of dog attacks, certain signs can suggest that a dog is aggressive toward you. These suggestive signs include wagging its tail stiffly and sticking it up, making direct eye contact with the potential victim, and showing its front teeth. The dog may also make a low, rumbling growl, perk up its ears, and spread its legs wide apart while throwing out its chest.
The Owner Failed to Take Action to Prevent Injury
Nevada law mandates dog owners to be accountable for their pet’s actions. As such, they should always attempt to stop or prevent the animal from inflicting pain or injury on someone else. The owner can be liable for the bite injury, damages, and other losses sustained by the bite victim if the owner fails to assume this responsibility and allows the dog to attack another person.
The Owner’s Actions Contributed to the Dog’s Actions
A dog owner can be liable for damages caused by a dog if his or her actions caused the attack. The owner may be considered negligent if the owner was careless in ensuring the dog was on a leash or at a safe distance from the dog bite victim. However, the owner’s liability may get eliminated or lowered if the person who made the claim provoked the dog.
Liability on the owner’s side will also get reduced if the victim provoked the dog, trespassed, or broke the law at the time of the loss or injury, and risked getting hurt by the dog. The victim may not have a case if the victim cannot show that he or she got bitten by a dog. The victim may also have to prove he or she was not careless.