Dog Bites in Nevada
Owning a dog is more than just the joys of puppy kisses and playing fetch; it’s a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly. With around 44% of American households owning at least one dog, dog bites are an extremely common incident. If a dog bite does occur, the owner of the animal is likely to be held liable. You can pursue for 3rd party civil liability when:
The dog has previously bitten you or someone else
The owner was negligent in maintaining their legal obligations according to Nevada State Law
The dog has been classified by animal control as “dangerous” or “vicious”
One Bite Rule
The state of Nevada regulates the “One Bite” rule, meaning it protects a dog owner from liability when the animal bites a person for the first time – basically giving the animal a second chance. If it it can be proven that the owner knew the dog would potentially bite people without justification, this would be considered an exception to the one bite rule. In order to hold a dog’s owner liable for a bite or other injury, the injured person must prove the animal’s owner failed to use reasonable precautions to prevent the injury and that the injured person’s damages, such as medical bills or missing work to recover, resulted from the injury.
Under Nevada’s “negligence per se” laws, dog owners are automatically considered negligent when their dog bites someone while the owner was in violation of state or local animal control laws. For instance, most counties require dogs be kept securely on the owner’s property by a fence or other adequate means. This means that if you were bitten by an unleashed dog on a public street or sidewalk, the dog owner may be liable even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
According to Nevada law, a “dangerous dog” is one that has behaved threateningly toward people or other animals twice within an 18 month time period and/or bit or attacked without being harmed or provoked. A dog may also be declared “dangerous” by a local Animal Regulation Officer if it constitutes a physical threat to human beings or to other animals without regard to any previous behavior such as:
- The dog is used for criminal purposes by its owner
- While at large (not leashed) or restrained, the dog causes serious injury or death to another animal who is leashed
- The dog shows behavior that is ruled a threat to public safety by an Animal Regulation Officer
It is not necessarily against the law to own a “dangerous” dog, however, owners of dangerous dogs must comply with both Nevada and municipal laws and regulations regarding dangerous dogs, which include:
- Obtaining a permit from the Animal Regulation Officer
- Keeping the dog safely enclosed on the owner’s property
- Posting easily-visible warning signs on the owner’s property
- Keeping the dog leashed and muzzled when off owner’s property
- Spaying or neutering and microchipping the dog
- Holding a insurance policy no less than $50,000
- Obtain written approval from an Animal Control Officer before selling, moving, or giving the dog away
Failure to comply with these regulations is punishable as a misdemeanor. This could result in the owner being sued for damages due to a dog bite or attack.
A “vicious” dog in the state of Nevada differs from a “dangerous” dog. “Vicious” dogs are defined as dogs that have continued to behave menacingly after being classified as “dangerous” or have caused substantial bodily harm or death to a human being. Once a dog has been determined as “vicious”, it is no longer legal in Nevada for its owner to keep or give the dog away. Keeping or selling a “vicious” dog could subject the owner to both a lawsuit for damages and to penalties under Nevada’s criminal dog bite laws.
If you or someone in your family has been bitten by an animal, it is important to call our lawyers at Eric Blank Injury Attorneys. While we may not be able to completely erase the suffering you have experienced, here at Eric Blank Injury Attorneys, we will be able to relieve some of your stress when it comes to your personal injury claim. We are committed to representing injured plaintiffs, so if you have been injured due to the carelessness of a dog owner, do not hesitate to take action. Contact Eric Blank Injury Attorneys to assist you in holding that party accountable for your damages.