Most pet owners agree that dogs really are their best friends. However, despite their generally sweet temperament, it’s important to remember that dogs are still animals who are driven by instinct. If they feel afraid, startled, or threatened, they will not hesitate to bite.
When dogs bite, the injuries can be extensive, especially for young children. If you or a family member was harmed in a dog attack, REA Law can pursue compensation for your injuries.
Start building your case by calling 775-300-7594 (NV) or 916-800-6090 (CA) for a free consultation with REA Law. We serve clients in and around Reno - Sparks and throughout Nevada. REA Law also has offices in Sacramento servicing California.
Dog Bite Injuries in Nevada and California
Like almost all types of personal injury cases, dog bite lawsuits in Nevada and California are bound by the same two-year statute of limitations to be eligible for recovery of damages. Nevada is one of only a few states to have no laws specifically governing dog bite liability. However, in California dog bites are governed by strict liability rules.
Therefore, it is possible for a dog’s owner to be held liable for dog bite injuries even if the dog has never exhibited aggressive behavior (in other words there is no “one-bite rule” protection like in other states). The dog’s owner and the lawyer for his/her homeowners or renters insurance provider will try to argue away liability by claiming that the dog bite was an unforeseen circumstance.
Should this happen, REA Law will take all steps to prove otherwise. In California, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite injuries. Strict liability generally means automatic responsibility.
In Nevada, a claimant must
Despite the lack of specific state laws on dog bites, one possible avenue is arguing that the dog is legally a dangerous dog according to Washoe County guidelines. According to Washoe County, dangerous dogs meet at least one of the following criteria:
- “Without provocation, on 2 separate occasions within 18 months, has behaved menacingly, to a degree that would lead a reasonable person to defend himself against substantial bodily harm, when the dog is off his own property”
- Seriously injured or killed someone, without provocation, on private or public property
- Killed or injured a pet, without provocation, while off property
- By police petition, if the dog is “used in the commission of a crime”
Additional local ordinances may apply in your dog bite case, which is why it is so important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after you or a loved one suffers injury
What to Do after a Dog Bite
Just like after any accident, you are the best line of first defense for preserving the integrity of your case. Some dog bite injuries are so severe that they require emergency medical attention, and this should be your top priority. However, if you aren’t severely injured or you were a bystander when a family member was attacked, you can take the following steps to protect your right or your loved one’s right to compensation:
- Get the owner’s information/type of dog/tag info: To recover damages for your injuries, you will need to know whom to name in a lawsuit. Make notes or take a picture of the owner’s driver’s license or any other ID. Also ask the owner what breed of dog the animal is. You can confirm the owner’s contact information and the vaccination status of the dog from the tag
- Document the facts of the event: If you or your family member isn’t transported immediately to the hospital, use the phone on your camera to take photos of injuries and conditions at the scene.
- See a doctor as soon as possible: Even if you aren’t transported to the emergency room immediately after the attack, you should still seek timely medical attention. Dog bites carry a high risk of infection due to the bacteria in a dog’s mouth, so you will want to get the wound cleaned and dressed as soon as possible.
- Contact an attorney: Liability in a dog bite lawsuit is not always clear-cut, and insurance companies will always argue some level of provocation on the part of the victim.
By hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer who understands how these cases proceed through court and how insurance agencies react, you will increase the likelihood of recovering the compensation you deserve for you and your loved one. Start building your case by calling 775-300-7594 (NV) or 916-800-6090 (CA) for a free consultation with REA Law. We serve clients in and around Reno - Sparks and throughout Nevada. REA Law also has offices in Sacramento servicing California.