The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 out of 5 dog bites are serious enough to warrant medical attention. Frustratingly, many of these dog bites can be prevented if dog owners act responsibly.
When a dog owner’s carelessness leads to your suffering, you may have a right to financial compensation. Our Utah dog bite lawyer can review the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and explain if you are eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 816-0755 for a free case review.
Utah Dog Bite Law
Utah’s dog bite law provides strict liability in cases involving dog attacks. Under Utah Code (UT) §18-1-1, dog owners are liable for injuries their dog causes regardless of whether the dog is vicious or mischievous or whether the dog owner knew the dog was vicious or mischievous.
This legal approach is different from the one-bite rule that many states use that basically excuses the dog’s first bite due to the notion that the dog owner did not know the dog would bite someone until it did.
The strict liability rule does not apply to make a claim against the state, city, or local government or a peace officer if the dog was trained to assist law enforcement and the dog is reasonably and carefully being used to apprehend, locate, or arrest a suspect.
Notably, Utah’s strict liability law is not restricted to only dog bites. It states the dog owner is liable “for an injury caused by the dog,” which may include scratching, trampling, and other injuries that are common in dog attacks.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, including:
- Avulsion: Avulsion injuries are caused when a dog rips skin or tissue off your body. These are serious injuries that can cause lifelong scarring. Sometimes, they may require reconstructive surgery.
- Puncture wounds: Puncture wounds occur when a dog’s teeth puncture your skin, leading to deep wounds.
- Broken bones: You may suffer from a broken bone if a dog jumps on you and causes you to fall down. Broken hips, legs, arms, wrists, and other bones can cause significant pain and a long recovery period.
- Crushing injuries: Crushing injuries may occur with medium to large dogs that lunge at victims. Infants and toddlers are particularly susceptible to these injuries. Sometimes a dog may crush the head of a baby, leading to death.
- Nerve damage: Some bites extend to the nerves, which may cause temporary or permanent paralysis to the affected area of the body.
- Abrasions: Abrasions include scrapes and grazes, including serious ones that can cause scarring or infections.
- Lacerations: Lacerations include deep cuts or tears in the skin, which may require surgery or stitches to treat.
- Facial injuries: Some dogs may bite victims in the face, which may require reconstructive surgery.
- Rabies: Rabies can cause a person to become aggressive and to suffer muscle spasms. If left untreated, rabies can be fatal.
- Emotional injuries: Some dog bites may lead to psychological injuries, including anxiety and fear surrounding dogs. Extensive counseling may be necessary to treat this.
Some dog bites can lead to infections due to the bacteria from the dog’s mouth or bacteria from the environment that seeps into your wound. Others may lead to scarring that, if left untreated, may lead to permanent marks on a person’s face or skin. Skin grafts or laser therapy may be used to minimize the appearance of scars.
How Our Utah Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
If you are considering filing a dog bite claim, our Utah dog bite lawyer can help in various ways, including:
Investigate Your Injury
Our team can investigate your injury and gather proof that your claim falls under Utah’s strict liability law, including:
- Photos of your injuries
- Information about the dog
- Medical records
- Video evidence, if any
- Eyewitness testimony
Calculate the Full Extent of Your Injuries
Dog bites and attacks can cause extensive injuries, potentially leading to:
- Expensive medical costs related to the treatment of your injuries, potentially including ambulance costs, surgery costs, hospitalization, ongoing treatment, counseling, and physical therapy
- Property damage for any items that were broken during the attack
- Lost wages for the time you missed from work
- Pain and suffering, embarrassment, and mental anguish
Identify All Potential Sources of Recovery
Our lawyers will also help to determine the identity of all individuals or entities legally responsible for your injuries.
Handle Your Insurance Claim
In many situations, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered through a homeowner’s insurance claim. We can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, supplement your claim with important information, and negotiate for a fair settlement of your claim.
Resolve Your Claim Through Arbitration
Under UT §18-1-4, dog bite victims have the option of resolving their claim through arbitration. This process can sometimes speed up the time it takes to resolve a case while avoiding litigation. Arbitration is a binding method of resolving claims that is often much faster and cheaper than litigation.
Litigate Your Claim
In some situations, the insurance company or defendant may fail to take responsibility for the harm you have suffered, and litigation may be necessary. Our lawyers can represent you throughout litigation by filing your legal claims, conducting formal discovery, and representing you at trial.
Contact Us for a Free Review
If a dog bit and injured you, you may have a right under Utah’s strict liability law to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other harm you endured because of the dog bite.
A Utah dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review the circumstances surrounding your injury and determine your legal options. We offer a free case review so you can get a better understanding of your legal rights and options. Call us today at (800) 816-0755 to get started.