Dog bites happen frequently. Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4,500,000 dog bites occur each year. One out of 5 of these bites become infected. Unfortunately, many of these cases involved children.
Most US states instituted laws that make dog owners automatically responsible when their dogs bite another person. These laws are called “strict liability.” Utah is a strict liability state. Under the strict liability rule, a person bitten by a dog does not have to show that the dog owner did anything wrong. The injured person does not also have to prove that the dog was vicious or had a history of biting people, only that the dog bit him.
In other words, if a dog in Utah bites you, the owner must pay your damages, even if the owner took reasonable precautions to keep the dog from biting others. Dogs are unpredictable, and even if the dog owner uses the utmost care, the dog may still bite another person. Consequently, lawmakers have decided to put the burden on the dog owner when someone gets bitten.
In Utah, the dog doesn’t have to bite the person for the owner to be held liable for another injury. For example, a dog may be tied to a leash and aggressively and ferociously charge a person walking nearby, causing the person to fall and break his wrist. Although the dog did not touch or bite the person, the dog still caused his injury, and the dog owner could be held liable if the injured person’s response to the dog was reasonable.
If you have sustained injuries from a canine attack in Utah, contact Parker & McConkie to speak with a Utah dog bite attorney for a free consultation. Reach us at (801) 845-0440 for a free case evaluation.
Table of Contents
Hiring a skilled and experienced Utah dog attack lawyer may be the best approach to get the most money for your dog bite claim. Trying to settle your claim on your own may provide some insurance companies with a competitive advantage during your time of need. So don’t accept less than your dog bite injury case’s worth.
1. Look into the incident
Our Utah dog bite attorney will look into your accident. They accomplish this by obtaining a copy of the accident’s police report, reviewing any videos or photographs taken at the scene, and contacting any relevant witnesses.
2. Create a claim
After your recovery from a dog bite incident, our legal team will prepare a detailed medical record of your injuries. This is a time-consuming process, so patience is vital!
3. Come to an agreement
After you have been treated for your physical injuries and we have gathered your medical records, our dog bite lawyers will write a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Following that, the negotiation process begins. If negotiation fails, we’ll have the option to file a dog bite lawsuit.
4. Take your case to court, if necessary
If settlement agreement is not reached, then we have an option to bring your case to court. If you decide so, then we will represent you in court.
Usually, a dog bite happens when you least expect it. Our Utah dog bite injury lawyer has some suggestions as to what you should do immediately after a dog bite incident in Utah:
A dog bite might result in serious medical complications. You should call an ambulance or proceed to the nearest emergency room facility as soon as possible. Any delay in medical treatment could result in a life-threatening infection or complicate your healing.
Obtain the dog owner’s name, address, and contact information if possible. The owner can be held legally liable for your injuries and other losses. You should also take note of the dog’s breed.
Dog attacks should be reported to the local authorities as soon as possible.
After a dog bite accident, you should either take images of your injuries or have someone you trust to take pictures of them. Take periodic images of your injuries as they heal.
Keeping documented photographs of your recovery process, doctor notes, appointments, therapies, and the time you took to recover from your injuries can all be helpful evidence in a dog bite lawsuit.
You may sustain significant injuries due to a severe dog bite attack. Medical expenses and treatments may be costly even if you have insurance. You may also be required to take time off work while recovering from the dog attack.
An experienced and dedicated Utah dog bite injury lawyer can explain your legal rights. You should refrain from speaking with the dog owner’s insurance provider representative without a dog bite attorney on your side. They may tempt you to accept a lowballed settlement.
In Utah, a dog attack victim may be entitled to compensation under a particular dog bite statute as well as doctrines of negligence, negligence per se, scienter, & intentional tort. The dog bite laws hold dog owners and keepers accountable for all injuries caused by their dogs, except for police dogs.
Utah’s dog bite law is found in Utah Code Ann. § 18-1-1, Liability and damages for dog injury.
Utah Code Ann. § 18-1-1 states that “Every person owning or keeping a dog shall be liable in damages for injury committed by such dog, and it shall not be necessary for any action brought therefore to allege or prove that such dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper thereof knew that it was vicious or mischievous.”
Here are three key points from this statute:
The “Scienter” doctrine, often known as “common law strict liability” or the “one bite rule,” maintains that a dog bite victim can seek compensation from a dog’s owner, harborer, or keeper if:
If either of those elements is not met, the victim will be unable to use this doctrine as a basis for recovering compensation.
The following are the most common dog bite injuries:
Whether your injury from a dog bite is minor or severe, you should seek compensation for your damages with the help of Parker & McConkie, a Utah personal injury law firm.
Even though your pets are well-trained animals, they can be sometimes unpredictable and aggressive. As a result, dog owners and property owners have a legal responsibility to protect others from harm. According to the strict liability concept, any dog bite damage, regardless of the cause, is grounds for filing a claim against the responsible person. Here are some of the most common causes of dog bite injuries:
• The behavior of the prey
• Territorial conduct
• Sickness or injury
• Fear of injury
All of these factors can cause a dog to bite someone. Because of the wide range of potential risks, dog owners should always keep their dogs leashed and maintain control when out in public.
If you or a family member, such as your kid, has been severely injured by a dog, our dog bite attorneys can work with you to ensure that you receive just and fair financial compensation. In many circumstances, the victim may be entitled to compensation for the following:
If your injuries are severe, they may require long-term rehabilitation and therapy.
Non-economic damages may be available if you suffer emotional trauma from a dog bite attack. These losses are more challenging to prove and necessitate the assistance of a skilled dog bite attorney.
Your injuries may limit your capacity to work or execute the same job functions before the injury. So you are also entitled to recover income losses as a result of your dog bite injuries.
If the injuries were severe, they could cause amputation, limb loss, and permanent scars.
It occurs when an injury causes considerable physical harm to someone close to you but not to yourself. The death of that individual has an impact on your relationship with them.
Punitive damages may be imposed on the dog owner if:
Parker & McConkie’s Utah dog bite lawyers will work tirelessly to optimize your recovery. We can assist you in filing a wrongful death claim and recovering expenditures for funeral damages and loss of consortium in the unfortunate event of a loved one’s death.
Utah has its own “statute of limitations,” which establishes a deadline for filing claims in Utah courts like every other state. In Utah, a dog attack victim has four years to file a lawsuit.
This four-year time limit usually begins on the day of the injury. But because certain circumstances can affect how long the statute of limitations runs, it’s vital to know how the law applies in your case.
Remember that if you don’t file your case within the four-year deadline, the court will probably dismiss it.
Parker & McConkie can assist you with your case. Here are some reasons why you should choose Parker & McConkie Utah Dog Bite Attorneys:
Our Utah dog attack lawyer will work hard to remove as much stress from your life so you can focus exclusively on your recovery. We’re not going to stop until you’ve been fairly paid for all that’s owed you.
Cuts and scarring from a dog bite can permanently and seriously alter a person’s appearance. In rarer circumstances, dog bites can turn fatal. You must seek medical treatment ASAP if you or your child is bitten. Also, the law requires you to report an animal bite incident to animal services. Here is a list of animal control centers throughout Utah where you may report your dog bite:
Here are the most asked questions regarding dog bite injuries in Utah:
Yes. Utah dog bite law states that you can share some fault for a dog biting you. If there’s evidence that you provoked the dog to bite you, then a jury can put some fault on you. As you can imagine, this is extremely rare. Most people don’t go around angering dogs to bite them.
However, your percentage of fault reduces the compensation amount you receive. For example, if a jury awards you $100,000, and you are considered 30% at fault for the dog attack, your award is reduced to $70,000.
You receive nothing if you are considered 50% or more at fault for the dog biting you.
There is no definite answer to this. The value of your dog bite claim can vary. It can depend on the following factors:
The location and size of scarring from a dog bite tend to be the biggest drivers behind the value of your case. Scars to the face are especially noticeable; most of your identity as a person is contained in the face. When scarring and deformity affect the face, the case’s value is usually higher.
Yes. In Utah, you don’t need to show that the dog has a history of biting. You don’t even need to show that the dog is vicious or mean.
In Utah, you have four years to file a lawsuit from the day of the dog attack. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the 4-year deadline, your claim is barred.
Yes. Utah allows a jury to award general damages.
It’s not easy to get awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages may be awarded if you show the dog owner was more than just negligent. According to this Utah law for punitive damages, you must show “by clear and convincing evidence that the acts or omissions of the dog owner are the results of willful and malicious or intentionally fraudulent conduct or conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others.”
Yes, you can sue another dog owner when the attacking dog injures or kills your dog.
There is one exception: if your dog goes onto the dog owner’s property uninvited, and the attacking dog is within a fence or enclosure, then the attacking dog is not liable for injury or death of your dog.
Yes. There is no minimum requirement for dog bites. You might have minor scratches from a dog bite. You can still pursue a claim to recover.
Yes, you are required to report a dog bite. Failing to report can lead to a citation and fine.
Many cities have specific laws on reporting requirements. For example, Salt Lake City’s law requires all of the following to report a dog bite:
If the law enforcement officer is pursuing a suspect, and the officer’s dog bites you, the law enforcement cannot be held liable for damages. Utah’s dog bite statute gives immunity to law enforcement when attempting to find or arrest a suspect.
If the law enforcement dog bites someone while not on official police business, the law enforcement agency is liable for a dog bite.
No, not necessarily. Some cities require that a dog be put down after its third bite. Others may require it after only one bite if the facts show the dog is especially vicious.
For example, the South Salt Lake Animal Code, entitled 6.20.060 – Destruction orders, say that a dog “may” be put down if:
So, as you can see, in South Salt Lake, a dog may be put down after only one bite in certain situations.
On the other hand, St. George, Utah requires that a dog be put down or “destroyed” after three bites.
No. We negotiate with the dog owner’s or keeper’s insurance company before filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company is reasonable and fair, we can get your case settled in the early stages of the claim. Most dog bite cases settle before even filing a lawsuit.
Yes, animal control authorities in Utah can cite and find the owner or keeper of a dog that bites someone.
Most of the time, it’s a Class B misdemeanor. Other penalties might include impounding the dog, destroying the dog, muzzling the dog, or revoking a dog license.
Here are a few examples of city and county criminal penalties for dog bites:
If a dog bites you or a member of your family, don’t hesitate to contact a Utah dog bite attorney near you. We will be there guiding and helping you throughout your injury claim so you can get the total and fair compensation you deserve!
Call the skilled and aggressive Utah dog bite attorneys at Parker & McConkie if a dog bites and injures you in Utah. Our legal team has helped many people recover compensation for their injuries throughout the state.
Our team is 24/7 available to assist and support you. We are always willing to assist. Contact us now at (801) 845-0440.
Call 801-845-0440 to get in touch with a member of our firm after your accident. We can review your case for free!