When you or a family member suffers injuries from a dog bite, the dog’s owner may be financially responsible for the medical bills and other associated costs. While Nevada does not have a state dog bite law, case law and local ordinances establish guidelines for liability.
Plan your next steps after getting the answers to these common dog bite questions.
What is the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit?
If you plan to take legal action to cover the costs of a dog bite injury, you must file a claim within two years of the incident. Otherwise, the court will dismiss your case as outside the statute of limitations.
What constitutes dog owner negligence in Nevada?
Most dog bite cases in the state follow the precedent of the 1995 case Harry v. Smith. Based on this decision, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The dog owner did not take reasonable steps to prevent the animal from biting.
- This lack of action directly caused the dog bite injury.
- The injury resulted in legal damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
In Clark County, dog owners must leash dogs everywhere except their own property and designated rural off-leash areas. If an off-leash dog bit you in a public place, the court will likely find the owner negligent and thus financially responsible for damages.
Nevada uses a modified comparative fault rule in dog bite cases. If the court finds that you were partially responsible for the injury, the damages decrease based on your fault percentage.
What damages does the court award?
You may receive coverage for the cost of your past, current and future medical bills associated with the dog bite injury. Other damages include compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and lost future earning capacity.
Visit a doctor for a dog bite injury to avoid complications such as infection and scarring. Document the circumstances of the incident so you can file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company. If the person does not have sufficient insurance and/or the insurer rejects your claim, you can seek legal recourse.