In Nevada, a person who owns or keeps a dangerous or vicious dog is liable for injuries when the dog bites or attacks someone. But collecting damages in a Nevada lawsuit can be a challenging undertaking.
That's where we come in. Our experienced Las Vegas dog bite lawyers help victims recover compensation for losses such as:
- Medical bills,
- Reconstructive surgery,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of a spouse's consortium, and/or
- Damages and funeral expenses under Nevada's wrongful death law.
In cases of particularly reckless or intentional behavior (such as siccing a vicious dog on someone), we can sometimes even help dog bite victims recover additional compensation under Nevada's punitive damages law.
To help you better understand how to recover money for a dog bite in Nevada, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. Who is responsible for a dog bite in Nevada?
- 2. Conditions for dog bite liability in Las Vegas
- 3. Does homeowners or renters insurance cover dog bite injuries in Nevada?
- 4. “Dangerous” dog insurance in Nevada
- 5. What damages can I get for a dog bite in Nevada?
- 5.1. Damages for a family member's dog bite injuries
- 5.2. Settling a claim for a Nevada child's dog bite injuries
- 6. What other dog-related injuries can I sue for in Nevada?
- 7. Finding a Las Vegas doctor to treat your dog bite injuries
- 8. The process for making a claim for dog bite injuries in Las Vegas
- 8.1 Documenting your dog bite injuries
- 8.2. Discovering who owns a dog in Las Vegas
- 8.3. Contacting the dog's owner after a bite
- 8.4. Making a dog bite insurance claim
- 9. Filing a lawsuit in a Las Vegas dog bite case
A person who owns or keeps a dog in Nevada is liable for injuries when their dog bites someone if:
- The dog has previously bitten someone and the owner has received actual notice of it; or
- Within the prior 18 months the dog has, without provocation, behaved in a menacing fashion while off-leash (a Nevada “dangerous dog”); or
- The dog was illegal (a “vicious” dog) or the owner was at the time of the injury in violation of a local statute, such as leash laws (“negligence per se” in Nevada).
Nevada does not have a statewide “dog bite” statute. As a result, there is no strict liability in Nevada for dog bite injuries.
Rather, under Nevada's “one-bite” rule, an owner is generally not liable for dog bite damages unless their dog has previously bitten someone and the owner knew about it.
However, a dog's owner might still be liable for injuries the first time a dog bites someone if:
- The dog had a history of threatening behavior, or
- The owner was negligent.
For more information on Nevada's “one bite” rule and dog owner negligence, you may wish to review our article on “Nevada Dog Bite Laws.”
If the person who owns or keeps the dog has homeowner's or renter's insurance, chances are that the policy will cover dog bites as long as the dog was legally kept.
In 2016, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in the United States.1 The average payout per claim was over $33,000.
However, some policies may have restrictions on what breeds they cover. Others require special endorsements or have lower policy limits for dogs kept as guard dogs or that have been designated as dangerous under a city or county municipal code.
It is not against the law to own a dangerous dog in Nevada.
However, most city and county municipal codes impose strict requirements on owners to keep dangerous dogs from hurting others. Importantly, they also require people who keep dangerous dogs to maintain a liability insurance policy with limits of not less than $50,000 to cover dog bite injuries.2
Our Las Vegas dog bite lawyers and investigators can help you determine whether a dog's owner has a policy of insurance or other assets to pay for your Nevada dog bite injury claim.
If you've been bitten by a dog in Nevada, an attorney may be able to help you get compensation for:
- Medical bills (including reconstructive surgery, if needed),
- Physical or occupational therapy,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of use of a limb,
- Loss of life enjoyment, and
- Pain and suffering.
If the dog was previously categorized as vicious, you may even be entitled to punitive damages under Nevada law.
You may be entitled to recover compensation under Nevada's negligent infliction of emotional distress law if you personally witnessed a brutal attack on a family member by a dangerous or vicious dog.
And if someone in your family was killed by a dog in Nevada, you may be entitled to medical bills and funeral expenses in a Nevada wrongful death lawsuit.
Parents and legal guardians have the right to enter into an out-of-court settlement when their minor child has been bitten by a dog in Nevada.
However, such a settlement is not legally binding unless and until it has been approved by the district court in:
- The county in which the minor resides, or
- If the minor is not a resident of Nevada, in the county in which the dog bite occurred.3
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites.4 The rate of dog-bite–related injuries is highest for those 5 to 9 years old.
If your child was bitten by a dog in Las Vegas, our lawyers can help your child get the care and compensation he or she needs.
For more information on settling a dog bite claim involving a child, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. You may also find useful information in our article on “Compromise of a Minor's Claim in Nevada.”
Not all injury claims related to dogs occur from bites. Other injuries a dog owner or her insurer may be liable for in Nevada include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents caused when an overeager dog jumps on someone,
- Scratches that become infected,
- Injuries incurred while running away from an aggressive dog.
It is important if you have been bitten by a dog in Nevada to seek immediate medical treatment.
For longer-term care, we can refer you to a doctor with experience treatment and documenting dog bite injuries in Nevada. And if you cannot afford a doctor, our Las Vegas dog bite attorneys can help you find a doctor willing to accept a medical lien in Nevada.
For more information, please see our articles “How to Get Your Medical Bills Paid After a Nevada Accident or Injury” and “Medical Liens in a Nevada Personal Injury Case.”
Most successful Las Vegas dog injury claims settle out-of-court.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to make a more formal claim with an insurance company or by filing a lawsuit in a Clark County, Nevada court.
The steps you take prior to filing your claim or lawsuit are critical to your success in obtaining a favorable settlement or judgment in a Las Vegas dog bite case.
Let's take a closer look at the most important of these steps.
It is critical to obtaining a settlement in a Nevada dog bite case that you document your injuries carefully.
Steps you can take include:
- Photographing your injuries as soon as possible;
- Keeping records of time lost for work if you need to recover compensation for lost wages in Nevada; and
- Notifying and filing a report with your city or county Health Officer or Animal Control Officer.
Note that most Nevada cities and counties legally require both owners and dog bite victims to report dog bites, usually within 48 hours. Municipalities with a mandatory reporting law include (without limitation):
- The city of Las Vegas;5
- The city of Henderson;6 and
- Unincorporated areas of Clark County.7
However, even if your city or country does not legally require reporting, it is a good idea to have a police report on record. This is true even if you do not know who owns the dog.
If you don't know who owns the dog that bit you, your local animal control officer or a private investigator may be able to discover the information.
Our Nevada dog bite lawyers offer free consultations that can help you determine whether you have enough information so that our team of skilled investigators can track down the owner of the dog that bit you.
The first step to recovering for dog bite damages is to contact the dog's owner.
While it is tempting to take this step yourself, especially if the owner is your friend, we cannot stress how important it is to consult with an experienced Nevada dog bite lawyer first.
People are very attached to their dogs. Making a claim for a bite can be upsetting to them. Often, the dog bite victim will be inclined to try to make the owner feel better.
This can result in the dog injury victim saying something that will jeopardize a claim.
Our Las Vegas dog bite attorneys can help you decide whether and how to approach the dog's owner so that you do not lose the right to be compensated for your Nevada dog bite injury.
If the dog's owner has liability insurance that covers dog bites, the next step is to get an insurance adjuster assigned to the case.
The good news is that when there is insurance in a Nevada dog bite case, you can usually rest assured that there will be money to pay your claim.
The bad news is that insurance adjusters are experts at delaying and finding ways to say “no.”
But our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers know all their tricks. Before we even contact insurance we will have everything we need to make a compelling claim for an out-of-court settlement of your Nevada dog bite case.
If all else fails, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover for dog bite injuries in Nevada. Sometimes it is required in order to preserve the statute of limitations (discussed below).
At other times there is no other way to make a reluctant dog owner pay up. And sometimes it is the only way to recover a judgment, especially when damages are significant.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean you cannot settle your Las Vegas dog bite claim out of court. Our attorneys keep working on settlements right up until a jury returns a verdict.
You have two (2) years to file a lawsuit to recover damages for a dog bite in Nevada. This period is known as Nevada's “statute of limitations.”
The statute of limitations begins to run (“accrues”) when the dog bites you.
If the statute of limitations expires and no lawsuit has been filed, you will lose your right to sue for damages arising from the dog bite or injury.
Even if you win your Las Vegas dog bite lawsuit, you need to collect the damages from the dog's owner.
If the owner has a policy of insurance, this should not present any major problems.
However, in cases in which the award is obtained against the dog owner personally, it may be necessary to locate and execute judgment on the owner's assets. Common ways to satisfy judgments in Nevada dog bite cases include (without limitation):
- Garnishing the dog owner's wages,
- Filing a lien against the owner's property,
- Attaching the owner's bank account, and/or
- Entering into an out-of-court settlement that contains a legally enforceable payment plan.
Nevada NRS 112.180 (d) prohibits dog owners from disposing of assets in order to avoid a judgment after someone has threatened them with legal action. Locating assets before you sue is the best way to ensure that the dog owner is able to satisfy a judgment and does not unlawfully dispose of them.
Bitten by a dog in Las Vegas? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know is looking for an experienced dog bite lawyer in Las Vegas, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our team of proactive lawyers, investigators and medical professionals fight to get dog bite victims in Nevada the compensation they need and the justice they deserve.
Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
You may be entitled to substantial damages for your Las Vegas dog bite injury.