Every year in the United States, nearly 5 million Americans are bitten by a dog. Half of those bitten are under the age of 10. According to the Centers for Disease Control, twenty percent of bite injuries require medical attention. There is no singular profile of what “kinds” of dogs bite. They can be puppies, small or large adult dogs, a seemingly friendly dog or even a dog you know very well.
If you have been bitten by a dog, first and foremost, get any medical attention needed. It is also important to report the bite incident to the police and/or the local animal control division. Finding and contacting a personal injury lawyer, such as the lawyers at Richard Harris Law Firm, is the next best step to ensure your rights are protected and to discuss a possible case for your injury.
What are the laws in Nevada that govern dog bites?
Nevada is one of several states in the United States that does not have specific laws or statutes regarding dog bites. In those instances, the state is known as a “one bite” state. That means that a dog’s owner may only be liable if his or her dog bites someone and the owner had reason to believe that the dog was capable of biting or would be likely to bite. In essence, from the time immediately after a first bite, that owner should be aware from that point forward that the dog poses a bite risk and take action to protect others from the possibility of harm.
Most Nevada jurisdictions do have leash laws. Under Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.36.030, for example, it is a misdemeanor to allow a dog out in public without a leash. It is always the duty of a dog owner to take proper responsibility for his or her dog, especially in public places. The owner is expected to have proper control of the animal at all times.
If I’m bitten, what rights do I have?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, there are many factors that come into play to determine what rights you have, and what compensation you may be entitled to. For example:
- Were you on private property or in public at the time of the biting?
- Was the dog on a leash and under control by the owner?
- Did you do anything that may have caused the animal to bite you? Did you scare or antagonize the animal such that it acted out to defend itself?
- Was the dog known to the owner to pose a bite risk?
- Does the dog owner have insurance that may cover damages incurred by the victim? In some cases, homeowner’s insurance and/or an umbrella insurance policy may provide coverage.
If I have a case, what kind of compensation could I receive?
Each case is unique, and the value of your case depends on the details and circumstances of your particular dog bite incident. Your lawyer will work with you to investigate your case, establish liability and any negligence, weigh which laws may have been violated and ultimately determine the best course of action. You could be entitled to:
- Reimbursement for medical treatment and related costs.
- Money for pain and suffering.
- Payment for lost wages for any time you were unable to work.
- Payment for future/anticipated medical costs or inability to work stemming from the dog bite injury. This could include cosmetic surgery to restore damage you sustained.
When you meet with your attorney, you will be asked a number of questions. If you don’t already know the answers to these example questions, try to get answers or track down the information as best you can:
- Who owns the dog, and what is his or her contact information? Is the person someone you have known or a stranger?
- What was the exact site of the incident?
- Is the dog up to date on all vaccinations?
- Do you have contact information of any witnesses?
- Do you have photos/videos of the incident occurring or right afterwards?
- Do you have documentation of filing a report with authorities?
How can Richard Harris Law Firm can help with your dog bite case?
A dog bite incident is usually shocking and unexpected, and it can be downright scary and dangerous. There are many laws involved and potential rights you may have if you’ve been bitten by a dog. Immediately after getting medical attention, contact our attorneys, who have extensive experience in dog bite cases. We will listen to the details of your dog bite incident and evaluate your possible case.