How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Utah?

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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Utah?

By Steven Jensen
March 4, 2022

If you have been bitten and injured by a dog in Utah, you may be wondering how long you can file a lawsuit against the dog owner. This blog is dedicated to letting you understand the statute of limitations for dog bites in Utah and the consequences if you miss filing within the time limit. This may also apply to dog owners who may be held accountable for the victim’s injuries caused by their dog.

But, first and foremost, how serious is a dog bite?

Nearly 4.7 million humans have been bitten by dogs, which equates to 1:70 people each year being bitten by a dog. Being bitten by a dog can be life-threatening, even if it appears to be the cutest and most adorable pet. The infected wound is often severe and may require hospitalization.

Some individuals consider a dog bite a minor problem. But it’s not always the case. If a dog has bitten you, you must seek medical help ASAP! Here are some reasons why you should get medical attention immediately:

  1. Dog bite injury may transmit rabies.
  2. Dog bite injury may be infected.
  3. Dog bite injury may cause loss of blood.
  4. Dog bite injury may damage tendons and muscles.

What You Need to Know About Utah’s Dog Bite Law


Utah Code Annotated 1953 Section 18-1-1 was enacted to address dog bite liability.

This law states that “even if the owner did not know or have reason to know that the dog might cause injuries, the lack of a need for knowledge on the part of the owner is what makes Utah’s dog injury statute a “strict liability” law.”

The dog bite law covers injuries directly associated with the dog bite attack and injuries resulting from the dog’s actions. Suppose the dog knocks you to the ground, which causes you injuries. In that case, you are eligible to obtain compensation from the dog owner under Utah’s dog bite law. Furthermore, if the dog’s owner fails to exercise reasonable care that results in causing the injury, you can pursue a claim based on negligence.

Is Utah a “One Bite” State?

The “one-bite rule” states that owners are responsible if they knew or should have known that their animal is likely to cause harm or danger. But, this rule is not followed in Utah. Utah isn’t a one-bite state. The law, in this case, is based on the more logical concept of strict liability. It is the owner’s responsibility if an animal causes harm.

Owners are not allowed a one-free bite. The law in Utah goes so far as to say that a dog does not have to be previously shown to be vicious to be considered vicious.

The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases in Utah


Utah has its statute of limitations limiting the amount of time you can file a lawsuit in its civil courts.

A person injured by a dog in Utah has four years to file a lawsuit.

Because the four-year time limit often begins on the date of the incident, certain circumstances can change how the statute of limitations works.

It’s critical to understand how the regulation applies to your situation.

What Will Happen if You Miss the Time Limit?

Keep in mind that the court may dismiss your claim if your dog bite claim is not filed within the four-year time limit.

So if you’re having trouble filing your lawsuit or if compensation talks have come to a halt, it’s maybe necessary to engage an experienced personal injury lawyer to safeguard your rights. Even if you miss the deadline, a lawyer can determine whether your situation is eligible for an exemption to extend the statute of limitations.

How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawsuit Worth?


A dog bite injury settlement averages roughly $44,000. A successful dog bite claim will pay out between $25,000 and $50,000 in compensation to the injury claim.

Dog bite victims have several options for recovering their medical expenses and losses following a dog bite.

Assuming there is no doubt about the dog owner being liable, the victim can recover compensation for the following damages:

• Medical expenses

• Pain and suffering

• Lost income

• Disability benefits

Can I Still Sue the Dog Owner Even if I Am Partly Liable for the Dog Attack?

Because Utah’s dog bite injury statute is relatively thorough, people facing a claim under the state’s dog bite statute have a limited number of defenses.

Utah is classified as a state with “modified” comparative negligence. That is, if the injured party is found to be less than 50% at fault, Utah law requires the courts to limit the amount of compensation in damages that the injured party can receive by a percentage proportional to their responsibility. However, if the injured individual is found to be 50% or more at fault for the incident, they will not recover any claims from the dog owner or their insurance company.

Furthermore, if the injured party was trespassing at the time of the occurrence, the dog’s owner could argue that this would reduce their liability for the trespasser’s injuries. These factors may impact the amount of compensation a plaintiff can get in a dog bite injury case.

Common Defenses That Dog Owners Use to Evade Liability


To avoid or reduce responsibility for the victim’s injuries, dog owners may employ a variety of defenses. For example:

  1. You provoked the dog before the attack;
  2. The dog didn’t attack without justification;
  3. The owner didn’t know that the dog was predisposed to aggressive behavior;
  4. The owner took reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.

It’s crucial that you know these defenses used by dog owners so you can better prepare your counter-strategy with your lawyer.

Courts may discharge owners of liability depending on the circumstances where a plaintiff accidentally provokes dogs by:

  • Stepping on their tails by accident;
  • Caressing strange animals while they’re locked up or eating;
  • Stepping in to stop a dogfight;
  • In self-defense, spraying repellent on the pet.

In most cases, the owner will do everything possible to avoid accountability, including claiming that you were partially to blame for the situation. Declaring that you started the attack or were trespassing are two standard defense methods. Hiring a Utah dog bite lawyer to represent you or your family helps ensure that the defendant cannot avoid accountability.

The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for a Dog Bite Case

A severe dog attack can be a very traumatic experience. When dog attacks, it can leave people scarred for life or cause significant harm. You must hire a dog bite lawyer to protect your legal rights.

Here are the reasons why you need to keep a dog lawyer on your side:

  1. A dog injury attorney can take over your case while you recover from your injuries.
  2. A dog bite lawyer can get information from the dog owner.
  3. A dog attack lawyer will conduct an investigation.
  4. A dog lawyer can determine if you are at fault or partially at fault for the incident.
  5. A skilled dog attorney has a lot of experience with dog bite cases.
  6. A dedicated dog attack attorney can negotiate with the other party, preventing your case from going to trial.
  7. A lawyer can help secure fair compensation in your case.
  8. An attorney can deal with insurance providers on your behalf.
  9. An animal attack lawyer can help you understand the statute of limitations, preventing you from not meeting the deadline.
  10. An experienced lawyer can help you get results quickly.

It’s essential to try to take advantage of the assistance of a personal injury attorney to help you analyze your case and explain why these measures are so necessary.

Contact a Utah Dog Bite Attorney Today


If someone else’s pet has injured you, a loved one, or someone you know, and you’re thinking of suing the owner, hiring a dog bite injury lawyer can help you prepare to refute any accusations that you were at least partially to blame.

Hire the service of Parker & McConkie personal injury law firm that will work with you throughout your case to ensure you have a strong case against the irresponsible canine owner. Our attorney will help you with the following:

  • Discuss your possible legal rights
  • Propose a course of action
  • Speak with the insurance companies on your behalf
  • Make all efforts to get a positive result in your position

Our attorney is 24/7 available to assist you with a free consultation. Contact us now at (801) 845-0440.

How Can We Help You?

Schedule a Free Consultation Now By Contacting Our Team at (801) 980-9708