What to Expect When You File a Dog Bite Claim in Las Vegas
Dogs may be considered docile, loveable, and loyal companions, but even historically well-behaved breeds can attack without warning. Victims of these violent incidents often suffer long-term injuries such as scarring, disfigurement, and even loss of limb.
However, the consequences of an attack won’t just take a toll on your physical health. It’s not uncommon for victims to incur thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost income, and other kinds of damages. When you also consider the mental scars left behind in the wake of these incidents, even a minor dog bite can add up to a considerable burden.
Unfortunately, unlike many other states, dog owners in Nevada aren’t held strictly liable for harm caused by their pets. As such, they won’t automatically be on the hook for your damages.
You will either need to prove that the animal has a history of aggressive behavior or demonstrate that the owner was negligent. In this article, we look at a few of the basic stages you can expect to navigate throughout proceedings:
1. Investigating the Attack
To succeed in your claim, you will likely have to show that the dog’s owner behaved negligently. For instance, in many parts of Las Vegas, owners are legally required to keep their animals on a leash at all times while out in public. If, for instance, you were attacked by a dog that was not adequately restrained by its owner, this could be a strong sign of negligence.
Alternatively, if a dog has been declared dangerous by law enforcement agencies—i.e., it has exhibited “menacing” behavior on two or more occasions within a period of 18 months— you might also have a strong case for pursuing compensation. However, you won’t prevail without access to strong evidence to corroborate your version of events.
As such, it’s important to return to the scene to investigate exactly what happened. Ultimately, you will have to identify both the dog that bit you and the animal’s owner. Additionally, obtaining any surveillance camera footage, dashcam recordings, or cell phone videos of the attack may be useful. Such evidence could help show, for example, that the dog was not on a leash when it bit you.
Eyewitness statements could also help support your side of the story. You should make sure to report the attack to law enforcement so that there is an official record of the incident.
2. Tracking Your Damages
You will not receive compensation for losses you cannot prove, so keeping track of any expenses stemming from the incident is important. Such proof could include hospital bills, pay stubs to show lost income and receipts for the replacement services you’ve been forced to shell out for in the wake of the attack.
In addition to these tangible losses, you may also be able to recover compensation for so-called non-economic damages. Such losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
However, as there are no receipts for the mental scars left behind by this violent incident, you might need to employ many kinds of evidence to build a case for these damages. Psychological evaluations, statements from family members and friends, and personal injury journal entries could all help give others a window into how you have suffered because of your injuries.
3. Negotiating a Fair Settlement
Once you’ve investigated the attack and gathered the necessary evidence, opposing parties may be ready to negotiate compensation. However, as these individuals and/or entities will be looking to minimize how much they pay out, they might attempt to undervalue your claim in the hopes that you’ll take the money and run.
A skilled personal injury attorney can assess any offers you receive, determine whether they are fair, and take steps to counter these offers if necessary. If opposing parties refuse to agree to a fair amount, you may be left with no other option than to take the liable party/parties to court.
Discuss Your Situation with a Dog Bite Attorney in Las Vegas
Were you left seriously injured after an animal attack? It’s important to consider your options carefully before filing a personal injury claim. At Maier Gutierrez & Associates, we can review your claim as part of a free consultation.
With decades of experience representing injury victims throughout Nevada, we have the knowledge, resources, and experience to provide reliable guidance and aggressive representation in the weeks ahead. Call us today at 702-629-7900 or jump to our contact page HERE to request a case assessment with a Las Vegas dog bite attorney.