Being bitten by a dog is a scary experience that can have long-lasting consequences, in terms of both physical injury emotional distress. In many situations, the victim of a dog bite ends up with significant costs, and has to sue the person responsible for the dog. Because Nevada does not have clearly defined legal parameters around dog bite cases, it can be confusing for bite victims to come to grips with the law.
Dog bites and negligence
Nevada doesn’t have a statute that specifically addresses dog bites. Instead, lawsuits arising from dog bites in Nevada usually fall under the state’s negligence law. Negligence is a common cause of action in a wide range of civil tort lawsuits. A textbook negligence claim argues (1) that the defendant (that is, the person being sued) owed the injured person a reasonable duty of care, (2) that the defendant’s lack of care caused the person’s injury, and (3) that the injury caused the injured person’s claimed damages, such as medical expenses.
Dog bite cases can hinge on the question of what duty of care the defendant owed to the injured person. In many cases, a defendant’s failure to comply with local laws requiring leashes, enclosures, or signage can be used to establish that the defendant had a duty of care (for example, to keep a dog leashed or contained) and didn’t follow through. In Las Vegas, dogs are required to be leashed unless they’re on the owner’s property or in certain designated places.
Even if there isn’t a clearly applicable local ordinance, if a dog owner knows that his dog is aggressive and prone to biting people, there’s a good argument to be made that the owner has a duty to ensure that the dog is properly restrained where it can’t hurt anyone.
Comparative fault and dog bites
If an unrestrained dog comes running out of the blue and without provocation bites someone, the defendant’s negligence may be relatively easy to prove. But quite often, dogs bite people only after being provoked in some way. If the injured person contributed to his or her injury by doing something wrongful, the defendant might argue that the injured person bears some degree of responsibility. This is called comparative fault. In Nevada, the victim of a dog attack may not be able to recover for her injuries at all if the defendant shows that the victim was at least half at fault.
Just like negligence itself, comparative fault depends on the specific facts of the case. The question to ask is: would the victim have been bitten if she hadn’t acted the way she did? Taunting a dog, ignoring warnings like growling and bared teeth, or disregarding a “Beware of Dog” sign could serve as facts supporting an argument for comparative fault.
Dog bite lawsuits must be filed within two years
To avoid losing the right to sue, it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a dog attack. Dog bite victims in Nevada have two years from the attack to file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit after this statute of limitations has expired almost always causes the court throw out the case.
GGRM gets dog bite victims their just compensation
Dog bite lawsuits are highly fact-specific, and getting adequately compensated for injuries can often come down to how well a legal case is framed and argued. At Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez we have helped numerous dog bite victims in Las Vegas recover compensation for their injuries. If you are trying to understand your legal options after a dog bite, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. For a free consultation reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or contact us through our website.