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How Breed Can Affect Dog Bite Lawsuits

How Breed Can Affect Dog Bite Lawsuits
Depending on who you ask, some dog breeds are more dangerous than others. Owners of pit bulls argue that the breed gets a bad rap, but a study by the Centers for Disease Control identified pit bulls as the breed most often involved in dog-bite fatalities over a twenty-year period. As a result, many insurers charge higher rates to homeowners who keep pit bulls and other breeds that are considered dangerous. Many landlords who otherwise allow tenants to keep dogs will refuse to rent to people who have certain breeds. When a supposedly dangerous breed bites someone the dog’s breed is often less important than the individual dog’s history for determining liability.

The duties of dog owners in Nevada

Nevada does not have a dedicated statute for dog bites. Whether an owner bears liability for someone being bitten by their dog is typically a question of the owner’s negligence. In the case of dog bites, the central question is often whether the owner failed to comply with a legal duty of care. Various local and state rules govern dog ownership generally. In Las Vegas all dogs over four months of age must be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. Owners are required to keep their dogs on leashes unless they are contained within the owner’s property, such as behind a tall fence, or in designated places like dog parks. Failing to comply with these requirements can support a grounds for negligence, provided that the lack of compliance was a cause of the dog bite. For example, someone who unlawfully walks a dog off-leash in a public park may be liable for damages if the dog attacks another person’s pet.

A dog’s “dangerousness” is not a question of breed, but of behavior

Specific rules dictate when an animal is legally considered dangerous. Importantly, those rules are not concerned with the dog’s breed, but whether the dog has behaved aggressively in the past. Chapter 7.16 of the Las Vegas Municipal Code authorizes the Department of Public Safety to declare an animal dangerous “if it constitutes a physical threat to human beings or other animals” and either:
  • on two separate occasions within an eighteen-month period behaves menacingly or bites a person without causing substantial bodily harm; or
  • is used in commission of a crime, causes serious injury or death to another animal that is not at large or otherwise being kept in violation of the law, or exhibits a condition like rabies that poses a threat to public safety.
The Municipal Code further authorizes dogs to be declared “vicious” if they kill or seriously injure a person or another animal, or if they continue to exhibit behaviors that previously justified them being declared dangerous. If an animal is declared vicious the dog must be euthanized, unless the owner can successfully challenge the declaration of viciousness at a formal hearing. An owner of a dog that is declared dangerous or vicious must comply with a range of special rules, described in section 7.16.030 of the Municipal Code. There are numerous requirements for owners of such animals, including the following:
  • The city must inspect and approve the enclosure where the dog will be kept.
  • The dog must be muzzled, leashed, and under the control of an adult whenever the dog leaves the owner’s property.
  • Warning signs must be posted around the owner’s property.
  • The dog must be sterilized.
  • The owner must carry at least $50,000 of liability insurance covering potential injuries caused by the dog.
  • Sales or other transfers of ownership of the dog must first be approved in writing by the Department of Public Safety.
If an owner fails to comply with these rules and the dog bites someone, the owner may be liable for the injuries under the theory of negligence per se.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served dog bite victims in the Las Vegas area. If you have been injured by a dog please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Dog Bites in Nevada

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Dog Bites in Nevada
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.

Why Having a Las Vegas Dog Bite Lawyer is Important

Unfortunately, millions of people seek the aid of a dog bite lawyer after being attacked.  With the annual costs of medical treatments totaling $165 million, insurance carriers may not be covering all expenses. When your insurance no longer covers your treatment, where do you turn? Because dog bites are almost always serious, lengthy medical intervention may be required. Even a puncture wound on the arm may require stitches and antibiotics to prevent infection. Those unfortunate to be mauled by a vicious dog may end up disfigured and require numerous surgeries, ongoing physical therapy and psychological counseling. Both adults and children can become victims of dog bites, but children are often the easier, more frequent targets.  Approximately 50% of school-aged children have been bitten by a dog at some point in their young lives. While some breeds may be targeted as “aggressive breeds” it’s important to understand that any dog can attack, sometimes unprovoked. Read More… Las Vegas Dog Bite Lawyer: How to Identify the Signs of an Impending Dog Attack A skilled dog bite lawyer can not only fight for you in court but can also advise you on how to avoid becoming a victim. Take a common sense approach to animals and avoid getting bitten:
  • Never approach or try to pet an unfamiliar dog
  • If the dog approaches you, avoid making eye contact with the dog
  • Don’t make funny noises or growl at the dog
  • If the dog sniffs or comes near you, calmly stand still like a tree – never scream and run
  • Never disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating or taking care of puppies
Most importantly, teach children proper respect for animals as it will help keep them safe and reduce their risk of animal attacks and dog bites. Although many people attempt to practice this common sense approach, some dogs will still attack. If you’ve been bitten, contact an experienced Las Vegas dog bite lawyer to ensure you are compensated. For more information or a free consultation, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez online or call 702-388-GGRM (4476).