Few things are more terrifying than learning your child was the victim of an unprovoked dog attack. Statistically, dogs are more likely to bite children than adults. While some dog bites are caused by family pets, others occur in parks, in playgrounds, or on the street in residential areas.
In addition to causing severe pain, dog bites can lead to infections, and victims often spend their lives in fear of being attacked again.
When your child or someone else in your home suffers a dog bite, you need to know about liability and what steps you can take.
Read on for more information, and reach out to the experienced dog bite lawyers at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC with additional questions.
State Statutes and the One-Bite Rule
Nevada law explicitly covers liability for dog bites. The specific statute holds that dog owners who knowingly own vicious dogs are liable for any harm their dogs cause. However, if an owner does not have reason to believe that his or her dog has a propensity to bite, chances are that a court may not find the owner liable.
This presents some challenges for victims of dog bites, but contacting a Henderson dog bite attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, immediately may help you protect your rights to financial compensation—whether you or your child is the victim.
Potential Compensation Following Henderson Dog Bites
It’s difficult to guess how much compensation a particular dog bite victim should seek from the liable party because several factors may determine final compensation. (Keep in mind that when you file a lawsuit against homeowners, their homeowner’s insurance coverage will likely work out the settlement.)
Some of the potential compensation that you may seek includes:
Initial medical expenses – These are expenses that you incurred immediately following the incident, including for an ambulance, emergency room visit, other first-aid care, and hospitalization, if necessary. You may claim other expenses, including pain medication, rabies vaccines, and antibiotics.
Future medical expenses – These are expenses that victims may potentially need in the future to care for their dog bite injuries. Some victims may opt to have plastic surgery to repair the damage, particularly if the scarring is highly visible. During 2018, more than 26,000 people had some type of reconstructive surgery following a dog bite.
Psychological counseling expenses – Dog bites are traumatic. Numerous studies clearly show the emotional trauma caused by dog attacks, which may not appear for weeks or months following an attack. Depression, problems eating and sleeping, and general fear may require extensive counseling.
Personal property damage – Victims of dog bites can claim costs associated with torn clothing, broken eyeglasses, and any other personal property damage sustained during the dog attack.
Earnings loss – Should a child be attacked, a parent may have to take time off work to care for the child. In the event the victim is an adult, he or she may have to take time off for the wounds to heal. Families should not have to bear the financial burden of losing time from work following a dog attack.
You may recover additional compensation after a dog bite or attack, and you can discuss this with your attorney. Making sure that you hire someone who has experience dealing with these complex issues is important. You should always work with a lawyer who understands the challenges associated with dog bites, so you get the guidance and advice you need to make the best decision for your family.
At Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, we have experience handling dog bite cases in the Henderson area and throughout Nevada.
Approaching Dog Owners Following a Henderson Dog Bite
Victims who have suffered a dog bite may instinctively wish to contact the owner of the dog. This is generally not a good idea, since the owner may attempt to deflect blame from the dog to you (or your child, if your child was the victim). The best thing you can do is notify the local dog enforcement officer of the incident, seek medical attention, and immediately follow up with a lawyer.
The reasons to take these steps include:
Notifying animal enforcement – By notifying Washoe County Animal Control services, you will accomplish two things. First, you may schedule a dangerousness hearing, and second, you will be on the record as having been the victim of an attack.
Seeking medical attention – Any dog bite that punctures the skin may become infected, require stitches, and/or leave a scar. It is generally better to have a qualified medical professional take a look at your injuries to make sure that they are not more serious than you think.
Seeking legal advice – An attorney in Henderson who has experience working with dog-bite and dog-attack victims can help you understand your rights. While an owner may have some cover under the One-Bite Rule imposed by Nevada law, this does not mean that you cannot hold the owner liable for your injuries.
Keep in mind, you should avoid speaking with the dog’s owner or with his or her insurer without seeking legal advice. Whether a dog attacked your pet, your child, or you, the best option is always to speak with an attorney before speaking with the dog owner or involved insurance company.
Insurance Company Involvement in Henderson Dog Bite Cases
Homeowners typically pay for liability policies as part of their overall homeowners’ coverage. In most cases, these liability policies also cover damage caused by pets, including bites and attacks.
You should understand the following about insurance companies, however, before you start talking to them about dog bite injuries.
Not accepting responsibility – In some instances, the homeowner will attempt to accept no responsibility for the dog bite or attack. Chances are that he or she will inform the insurer of this—though this may not be the first time the dog has behaved aggressively. This is one of the many reasons it is important to report all dog bites, regardless of how minor they may seem. You want to make sure any attack is on record with the county to help other victims avoid problems down the road.
Offering low settlement amounts – The insurance company may offer you a reasonably fast settlement. Keep in mind, once you have accepted any settlement offer, the insurer will ask you to sign a waiver that waives your right to seek any future compensation for this dog bite. An attorney can review the waiver and explain what it means.
Hiring a Henderson Dog Bite Attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
The experienced legal team at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, will carefully investigate the circumstances leading up to your dog bite injury. We want to help you and your family move forward and get your life back to normal.
We know nothing will reverse the trauma and damage following a dog attack, but we can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, thanks to our years of experience, we also have a trusted network, including board-certified reconstructive surgeons who can do amazing work on scars left following a dog attack.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC serves residents of both northern and southern Nevada, including Henderson.
Please call our experienced Henderson dog bite injury attorneys immediately if an animal injured you or a loved one to schedule your no-cost consultation at (775) 600-6000, or contact us online.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC (Henderson Office)
9230 S Eastern Ave #155
Las Vegas, NV 89123
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