Obtain Just Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injury in St. George, Utah
If you have suffered a dog bite injury in St. George, Utah, you need a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to help you obtain just compensation. At Boyack Christiansen Legal Solutions, we have a dedicated St George dog bite attorney who knows how to navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
Our legal team has extensive experience seeking compensation for a variety of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, reconstructive surgery, pain and suffering, and more. We understand the complexities involved in personal injury claims, and we provide legal counsel to seriously injured clients based on our years of experience.
Taking on the insurance company alone can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from a dog bite injury. That’s why we urge you to let our legal experience work on your behalf. We handle every facet of personal injury claims, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery.
If you have suffered a serious personal injury in St. George or elsewhere in Utah, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our St George dog bite attorney is dedicated to providing aggressive, competent, and superior legal representation to our clients. We will investigate the incident, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for your damages. Let us fight for you and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Why Do I Need a Dog Bite Attorney in Utah?
Hiring our skilled and qualified St George dog bite attorney may be the most effective way to maximize the compensation for your dog bite claim. In your time of need, some insurance companies may gain a competitive advantage if you attempt to settle your claim on your own. Don’t settle for less than your injury claim is worth.
Investigate the Incident
Our competent St George dog bite will investigate your incident. This is accomplished by obtaining a copy of the accident’s police report, examining any videos or photographs taken at the scene, and contacting any pertinent witnesses.
Create a Claim
Our legal team will compile a thorough medical report of your injuries following your recovery from a dog bite incident. This is a lengthy process, so patience is essential.
Come to an Agreement
After your physical injuries have been treated and your medical records have been gathered, we will send a demand letter to the insurance company of the party at fault. Afterward, the negotiation process commences. Our dog bite attorney St George Utah will have the option to file a dog bite lawsuit if negotiations fail.
Represent You in Court If Necessary
If a settlement cannot be reached, we have the option of bringing your case to court. If you choose to have us represent you in court, we will do so.
What is Utah’s Dog Bite Law?
In Utah, a victim of a dog attack may be entitled to compensation under a specific dog bite statute in addition to the doctrines of negligence, negligence per se, scienter, and intentional tort. The dog bite laws hold dog owners and keepers responsible for all injuries their dogs cause, except for police dogs. Section 18-1-1 of the Utah Code addresses liability and damages for dog injuries.
Section 18-1-1 of the Utah Code states, “Every person owning or keeping a dog shall be liable in damages for injury committed by such dog, and it shall not be necessary to allege or prove that such dog had a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper thereof knew it was vicious or mischievous to bring an action for damages.”
Here are three essential provisions of this statute:
- A keeper or dog owner is liable for damages their dog causes to a third party.
- Officers are not liable when a police dog bites a person while searching for or apprehending a suspect.
- If the attack occurs on the owner’s property, surrounded by a fence or enclosure, the owner is not liable if their dog injures or kills another dog.
The “Scienter” doctrine, also known as “common law strict liability” or the “one bite rule,” holds that a dog bite victim may seek compensation from the dog’s owner, harborer, or keeper if the following conditions are met:
- The dog had previously bitten or appeared to want to bite someone.
- The defendant was aware of the dog’s history of misbehavior.
If either of these conditions is not met, the victim will be unable to recover compensation under this doctrine.
Does Utah Require the Reporting of Dog Bites?
Under Utah law, dog bites must be reported by the dog’s owner, the victim, or any medical professional who treats a dog bite injury. Additionally, many cities and towns have ordinances mandating the reporting of dog bites. However, failure to report the bite does not prevent you from filing a claim for damages.
If you are unsure of who to contact to report a dog bite, call your local animal control center. Each animal control facility will either assist you in filing the dog bite report or direct you to the appropriate agency.
Why Report a Dog Attack?
Sometimes a dog bite victim doesn’t want to file a report because he or she is friends with the dog’s owner, is afraid of the owner, or doesn’t want anything to happen to the dog itself. However, authorities strongly suggest or require dog bite victims to report the incident to the local animal control agency for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- It provides legal documentation which helps if you need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the owner. Filing a report will allow you to obtain information regarding the dog’s owner, its history, and vaccinations. The investigation may also provide evidence you can present to the insurance company or during a lawsuit.
- It aids local authorities in enforcing state and local laws regarding dog bites. A report of a dog bite initiates an investigation into the incident, and if the dog is deemed dangerous, the owner may be required to carry special insurance or take additional precautions to ensure public safety. They may also face fines or even criminal consequences if they fail to comply.
- It prevents other individuals from being attacked by the same animal. Once the authorities are aware of the dog’s dangerous behavior, individuals are more likely to take additional precautions, especially if they are required to do so by law. In extreme circumstances, a particularly vicious dog may need to be euthanized to prevent fatal attacks. Local animal control agencies also protect dogs that are abused or neglected, so it may be in the dog’s best interest to file a dog bite report.
How to Report a Dog Attack?
Following a dog bite, you should seek medical attention immediately. After taking this initial measure, research your local animal control agency to determine how to file a report of a dog bite in your area. Animal control may be a division of the local police department, the humane society, the health department of your county, or another entity.
Others require a phone call to initiate the reporting process, while some have online or faxable forms. Lastly, you must assist in the investigation of the incident by animal control. Local agencies may issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, and conduct hearings to determine what transpired and whether or not they must impose penalties or remove the dog from its owner’s custody.
What Are Some Potential Injuries From Dog Bites?
It is nerve-wracking to wait in an ambulance or hospital to learn the severity of injuries. The majority of people are concerned about the potential long-term effects and medical expenses. Dog bites can result in serious injuries and disabilities, so these concerns are valid. Here are some potential dog bite-related injuries:
Dog bites typically result in puncture wounds and severe lacerations. Frequently, these require sutures or surgical repair. Lacerations may occasionally cause nerve or muscle damage, resulting in long-term complications.
Severe bites might sever arteries or veins. In addition to the obvious risks of blood loss, this may also result in infection. Internal bleeding may also occur, which is fatal and even more difficult to detect.
One of the most common complications associated with dog bites is infection. Even if the injury seems minor, you should seek medical attention. Bacteria in the mouth of a dog can cause severe infections.
When dogs bite, the face is frequently the target. This disposition can harm the teeth, lips, nose, and cheeks. In certain instances, this may require reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, facial injuries are common in dog bite cases involving children.
Dogs frequently shake their heads violently when they bite. This can result in bone fractures, particularly in the extremities. Broken bones can also be caused by falls and bites.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Dog Attacks?
Aggression refers to a spectrum of behaviors displayed by dogs and other animals for various reasons. Aggressive behavior can occasionally result in nipping, biting, and attacking. By understanding the causes of aggression, pet owners can reduce the likelihood that their dog will harm another animal or person.
- Anxiety. Dogs may experience anxiety in response to changes in their home environment, such as a recent move, a new pet, or a new baby. Some dogs express their anxiety through aggression.
- Illness. When a dog is ill or in pain, it may display aggressive behavior toward others, including its owners.
- Fear. When a dog or other animal experiences fear, its fight-or-flight response is activated. If the dog is cornered and unable to flee, it may respond aggressively to defend itself.
- Distress or Boredom. Some dogs exhibit aggressive behavior when frustrated or bored. The dog becomes frustrated when it is unable to do something it desires. Dogs become bored when they are unoccupied or neglected.
- Restraint. Because they do not enjoy being restrained, some dogs become aggressive when placed on a leash or in a dog crate.
- Protection. A dog can become possessive of its perceived territory. If another animal or unknown person enters their territory, they may defend it aggressively.
- Inadequate Socialization. Most dog breeds are social animals. When lacking socialization, individuals can become aggressive in social settings. They may also behave similarly toward other dogs to establish hierarchy, as is typical for pack animals such as dogs.
- Resource Protection. Some canines guard their food, toys, and even their owners. Their aggression can be directed toward household pets and people, as well as strangers.
- Earlier Abuse. Unfortunately, some individuals mistreat their dogs, causing them to behave aggressively toward others.
What to Do Following a Utah Dog Bite Incident?
Typically, dog bites occur when you least expect them. Our St George dog bite attorney recommends the following actions immediately following a dog bite incident:
Seek Medical Care Immediately
A dog bite could cause severe medical complications. You should immediately contact an ambulance or proceed to the nearest emergency room. Any delay in receiving medical care could result in a life-threatening infection or hinder your recovery.
Collect Information About the Dog and Its Owner
If possible, obtain the dog owner’s name, address, and contact information. The property owner is legally responsible for your injuries and other losses. You must also consider the dog’s breed.
Take Photographs of Your Injuries and Document Your Recovery
After a dog bite incident, you should photograph your injuries or have someone you trust to photograph them for you. Take periodic photographs of your wounds as they recover. In a dog bite lawsuit, photographs of your recovery process, doctor’s notes, appointments, therapies, and the length of time it took to recover from your injuries can all be useful evidence.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
In the event of a severe dog attack, you may sustain serious injuries. Even with health insurance, medical costs, and treatments can be expensive. In addition, you may be required to take time off work to recover from the dog attack. Our knowledgeable and devoted St George dog bite attorney can explain your legal rights.
You should not speak with the dog owner’s insurance provider without our dog bite attorney St George Utah present. You may be tempted to accept a lowball settlement offer.
What are the Possible Long-Term Effects of a Dog Attack?
Dog attacks can leave victims traumatized for years. Some people never recover fully from their injuries, and many have been forced to endure amputations. Consider the following prospective long-term effects:
Severe nerve damage is a common long-term effect of dog bites. This damage may result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and persistent pain. As they struggle to control their pain, individuals with nerve damage are also at a greater risk of developing opioid addiction.
Severe bites may result in amputation, permanent scarring, or other deformities. These cases can result in a loss of confidence and difficulties with employment, social interactions, and interpersonal relationships. Occasionally, surgery can reduce the appearance of scars.
In some instances, you may know the negligent dog owner personally. If this is not the first incident, local authorities may opt for euthanasia to eliminate further risk. The loss of an animal companion and the strain of legal proceedings may strain relationships. It is essential to remember, however, that the sole responsibility for managing a dog’s behavior rests with the owner.
This could manifest as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental disorders. Both the physical and psychological effects of a dog attack can be incapacitating.
Death and Sorrow
Unfortunately, some victims of dog attacks do not survive. If you have lost a loved one due to a dog attack, you may experience intense grief and a sense of injustice. No amount of money can replace a lost life, but compensation can alleviate the burdens of medical expenses and caring for dependents.
What is the Importance of Identifying a Dog’s Ownership?
In cases of dog bites, it is crucial to correctly identify the dog’s owner. After correctly identifying the owner, you can file a lawsuit. The dog’s owner is liable for any injuries the pet causes. Identifying the dog’s owner can be difficult if the animal is kept outside.
You have the option of collaborating with a private investigator or an analyst to locate the dog’s owner. Keep in mind that the amount of compensation you can receive depends on the severity of your injuries.
Is Anyone Else Accountable Besides the Dog Owner?
In Utah, if you are bitten by a dog, the owner of the dog at the time of the bite may be held liable under the state’s dog bite law. In Utah, a party to a dog bite claim must be the dog’s owner or the person who should have had control of the dog.
What is the Importance of Identifying the Dog Owner’s Insurance Provider?
If you’re a victim of a dog bite, it’s crucial to identify the dog’s owner and their insurance provider. Once you’ve identified the owner, the next step is to file a claim for compensation. However, before you can do that, you need to determine the defendant’s insurance provider. This information is essential as it can significantly impact the outcome of your claim.
One way to obtain this information is to ask the dog’s owner directly. Alternatively, you can obtain it from a police report if one was filed. In Utah, victims of dog bites can file a third-party claim with the insurer of the defendant. A third-party claim is made by someone other than the policyholder, in this case, the victim of a dog bite.
Identifying the defendant’s insurance provider is essential because it determines the amount of compensation you’re likely to receive. If the dog’s owner has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, their policy will typically cover the damages resulting from a dog bite. However, if they don’t have insurance, you may need to pursue other avenues to receive compensation.
In addition to determining the insurance provider, it’s also essential to understand the policy’s coverage limits. Some policies may have limits on how much they will pay out for dog bites. Knowing these limits can help you understand the amount of compensation you can expect to receive.
What If the Dog Owner Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If you have been bitten by a dog whose owner does not have insurance, you can still file a claim against the dog’s owner. We recommend that first you seek any medical care that you need to heal from the injuries. Then, we advise you to consult with our dog bite attorney St George Utah, who can explain what potential compensation avenues may be available in your case.
How to Prove the Dog Has Caused Your Injuries?
To establish liability in a case involving a dog attack, your side will need to present convincing evidence. Our skilled St George dog bite attorney can assist you in establishing your case and obtaining credible evidence to present to the court. We can employ various legal defenses depending on the nature of your case.
What Are the Different Types of Dog Bite Claims?
There are two distinct approaches to handling dog bite cases in court. The case will be handled differently depending on the specific circumstances. Regardless of which of the two types of claims is pursued, victims will have the best chance of acting against the dog’s owner if they are represented by our skilled personal injury attorney.
The victim would have a case for the intentional tort if they can prove that the dog’s owner intended for their dog to attack. This includes owners “siccing” their dog on another person or using their dog with the intent to cause harm to another. Even though these cases are uncommon, they are taken extremely seriously and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.
The best strategy to take is to claim strict liability. This does not require evidence that the dog has previously been bitten or is dangerous. Under strict liability, no second chances exist. The dog’s owners owe compensation to the victim of the dog bite.
How Does Comparative Fault Apply to Dog Bite Claims in Utah?
Utah utilizes a modified comparative negligence law. According to the state’s law on negligence, plaintiffs who contributed 50% or more to the accident’s cause cannot recover compensation for their injuries. For this reason, retaining our skilled dog bite attorney St George Utah is essential for recovering compensation.
Your objective is to demonstrate that you contributed less than fifty percent to the accident. Although fleeing from the attacking dog can be used against you, it cannot account for more than fifty percent of your contribution.
What Compensation is Available to Utah Dog Bite Victims?
If you or a family member, such as your child, have been severely injured by a dog bite, our qualified St George dog bite attorney can assist you in obtaining just and fair financial compensation. In numerous situations, the victim may be eligible for compensation for the following:
Medical Expenses (Present and Future)
Your injuries may require long-term rehabilitation and therapy if they are severe.
Pain and Suffering
If you suffer emotional trauma due to a dog bite, you may be eligible for non-economic damages. These losses are more difficult to prove and require the assistance of our skilled dog bite attorney St George Utah.
Current and Future Wage Losses
Your injuries may restrict your ability to work or perform the same duties as before. Consequently, you are also entitled to compensation for income losses resulting from your dog bite injuries.
Permanent Impairment or Deformity
If the injuries were severe, amputation, limb loss, and permanent scarring could result.
Loss of Consortium
It occurs when an injury causes significant physical harm to a close relative but not to the victim. The passing of that person affects your relationship with them.
Punitive damages may be imposed against the owner of the dog if:
- The dog’s owner issued the attack command.
- Several times, the dog has been hostile.
- The owner is unconcerned with preventing an attack.
Our personal injury attorney will diligently work to maximize your recovery. In the unfortunate event of a loved one’s death, we can assist you in filing a wrongful death claim and recovering expenses for funeral damages and loss of consortium.
What is Utah’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims?
State law governs the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim. In Utah, you have four years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit alleging that a dog bite caused your injuries. This deadline for filing a claim is referred to as the statute of limitations. A few exceptions exist to the four-year limit.
Talk to Our Seasoned St George Dog Bite Attorney Today
Suffering a dog bite injury can be a traumatic experience, and it’s essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. At Boyack Christiansen Legal Solutions, we have experienced St George dog bite attorneys who can help you pursue a claim for compensation and guide you through the process.
When you contact our office, our attorneys will take the time to understand the circumstances surrounding the dog bite incident and the injuries you have sustained. We will then work with you to build a strong case and fight for maximum and fair compensation to cover all the damages resulting from the incident.
It’s important to note that seeking compensation for dog bite injuries is not a personal attack against the dog’s owner. If the dog’s owner is your friend or acquaintance, there’s no need to feel guilty about pursuing a claim. The dog owner’s insurance policy is typically responsible for compensating victims of dog bites. Pursuing compensation for your injuries is your right, and you owe it to yourself to seek justice.
At Boyack Christiansen Legal Solutions, we handle not only dog bite injury claims but also a variety of legal matters, including estate planning, family law, business law, and bankruptcy cases. Our team of attorneys has the knowledge and expertise to handle a wide range of legal issues and can help you navigate complex legal matters. We can help you pursue maximum and fair compensation for your injuries and guide you through the legal process. Let us help you get the justice you deserve. Call us today to take the first step.