Do You Need A Lawyer For A Dog Bite?

From providing companionship to assisting us with difficult tasks, such as guarding and rescuing, dogs truly are man’s best friend. However, the keen instincts and physical attributes that make them so useful can also make some dogs dangerous. If you’re the victim of a dog bite, it’s natural to want to seek compensation for the physical injuries and emotionally challenging experience you’ve been through.

What Is a Valid Dog Bite Claim in Nevada?

Dog guarding his home

U.S. states have various standards and definitions for situations where a dog’s owner can be held liable for a dog bite. The three conditions that must be met for a successful dog bite claim in the state of Nevada are:

The Dog Has a History of Aggressive Behavior

If an otherwise friendly dog with no prior instances of aggressive behavior bites you, you’ll probably be unsuccessful when arguing for compensation in a court of law. Nevada laws state that you, as the dog bite victim, must prove that the respective dog has a history of an abnormally high level of aggression for its breed. You must also prove that the dog’s owner was aware of their pet’s aggression but failed to take any action to prevent an attack, such as using a muzzle or taking the animal to a trainer who specializes in reducing aggressivity.

The Owner Failed To Prevent the Dog From Attacking

Since a dog’s owner is responsible for their pet’s actions, failing to prevent a dog from attacking an individual makes them liable for a lawsuit.  Some specific signs  that can indicate that a dog is likely to become aggressive that its owner should notice are:

  • It makes a low-pitched threatening growl.
  • It looks into the victim’s eyes and shows its teeth.
  • It perks up its ears and sticks up its tail.
  • It sits still, with its legs apart.

The Owner’s Actions or Negligence Facilitated the Attack

Besides showing that the owner failed to notice the signs their dog was about to attack, you must also prove that they failed to take action to prevent it. This generally refers to them not taking the necessary measures to keep the dog under control. Examples of negligence by a dog’s owner include the following:

  • Walking a dog in a public space without a muzzle or leash.
  • Not respecting local animal control laws and regulations (for instance, dogs are only allowed in the area of Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara Avenue to Sunset Road from 5 a.m. to noon).
  • Being negligent and allowing the dog to escape by not properly restraining it.
  • Allowing the dog to interact with vulnerable individuals, such as young children and elderly people.

What Makes a Dog “Dangerous” or “Vicious” Under Nevada Law?

As previously mentioned, a dog must have a history of dangerous behavior for its owner to be liable. Nevada laws place these types of dogs into two distinct categories: “dangerous” and “vicious.”

What Is a “Dangerous” Dog?

Nevada laws describe a dog as “dangerous” if it has displayed menacing behavior toward humans at least twice in 18 months while off-leash and without any provocation. While owning a dangerous dog isn’t against the law, its owner must follow a specific set of municipal and state regulations. Some of the actions they’re required to take are:

  • Ensuring that the dog is securely kept on the owner’s property.
  • Making sure that the dog is properly muzzled and leashed while outside the owner’s property and under the owner’s control at all times.
  • Getting a special permit from Nevada’s Animal Regulation Officer.
  • Spaying or neutering the dog.
  • Agreeing not to sell, give away, or relocate the dog without obtaining approval from an Animal Control Officer.
  • Obtaining liability insurance for the dog of at least $50,000.

What Is a “Vicious” Dog?

Under Nevada laws, a “vicious” dog is one that has either been previously classified as “dangerous” or has caused significant injuries or death to a human. Unlike dangerous dogs, you’re not legally allowed to own or sell a vicious dog in the state of Nevada. Owners who disobey these laws and keep vicious dogs are liable for any injuries they cause to others.

How To React to a Dog Bite Injury

If you’ve been the victim of a dog attack resulting in one or more bites in the state of Nevada, you may be entitled to compensation. Consider taking the following steps to protect your health and your rights:

  1. Try to locate the dog owner and notify them that their dog attacked you. Also, try to get their contact information.
  2. If you’ve suffered serious wounds as a result of the attack, get a physician to examine you as soon as possible. They can treat your wounds, administer antirabies medication, and provide documentation that demonstrates the severity of your injuries.
  3. Write down all details you think may be relevant to your case and take photos of the area where the incident occurred. It’s especially important to document the specific ways the dog owner failed to control their animal, such as a hole in their fence that allowed it to escape.
  4. Call the police or a local animal control office and file an official incident report.
  5. Speak to an attorney with experience in these situations, such as those at De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers. They can advise you on whether you’re likely to have a case and help you build a strong claim.
  6. Make sure that you follow all treatment recommendations from your doctor.
  7. Keep ahold of anything that may constitute evidence. This includes medical records, photos, bills and invoices for your medical expenses, and evidence for the income you’re missing due to taking time off work to recover from your injuries.

De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help You Get Compensation After a Dog Bite

If you’re in Nevada and have been the victim of a dog attack, you can maximize your chances of getting proper compensation for your physical wounds and emotional damage by consulting with a specialized lawyer. Contact us at De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers today. We’ll work with you to build your case.

Photo Credit: shallow focus photo of short-coated brown dog by Gabriel Jimenez is licensed with Unsplash License