While Las Vegas doesn’t have a statute specifically governing dog bites, there are some laws in place to protect those who are injured. If you have been bitten and are considering a personal injury case, the following information will help you understand your rights.
Like other personal injury cases in Las Vegas, dog bite injuries also have a two-year statute of limitations. This means you have up to two years from the date that you were bitten to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file within that period, your case will not be heard in court, which means you cannot seek compensation of any kind.
The “One-Bite” Rule
One important rule in some states is the one bite rule, which basically states that if the owner did not have knowledge that the dog would bite, such as through previous experiences or as part of breed specific characteristics, he or she is essentially given one bite without being liable. However, if there were any reasons at all that would show that the owner should have expected that the dog might bite, he or she will be held liable if someone else is injured by the dog.
If the owner did have knowledge that should have shown that the dog in question might pose a risk, he or she may be held responsible – especially if proper safety precautions were not followed. However, this is not an easy fact to prove in most cases. Some factors that may play a role in the determination are the breed of the dog, whether the dog was trained to attack or for protection, how the dog was restrained, and previous warnings from the owner.
At this time, Las Vegas has not adopted the one-bite rule.
Las Vegas also has a comparative fault rule that applies in dog bite lawsuits. This rule states that if the person who was injured was partly responsible for the dog biting him or her, then the responsibility will be split between the owner of the dog and the person who was bitten. For example, if you walked into a yard that was clearly marked with ‘Beware of Dog’ signs when you were bitten, you may be partly responsible for your injuries. As long as it is found that you are less than 50% responsible for the injuries, you may be entitled to a settlement. However, if your responsibility hits the 50% mark or higher, you will not be able to claim any damages in the case.
Dog bites can have serious long-term effects, including scarring, repeated surgeries, and other serious, life-altering consequences. As such, it is very important that you enlist the help of a Las Vegas dog bite attorney to help you with your case. This will ensure you can gather the appropriate information and evidence needed to prove you were not at fault in the incident. As insurance companies frequently try to include the comparative fault rule in settlements, you need to make sure your rights are protected and upheld during your claim.