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Utah Dog Bite Lawyer

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Dog bites happen frequently. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4,500,000 dog bites occur each year. One out of 5 of these bites become infected. Many of them are bites to children, particularly to children’s faces. Many of us personally know someone with a scar on their face from being bit by a dog as a child.

Most states have laws that make dog owners automatically responsible when their dog bites another person. These laws are called “strict liability.” Utah is a strict liability state that imposes that the person bitten by a dog does not have to show that the dog owner did anything wrong. The injured person does not have to prove that the dog was vicious or had a history of biting people, only that the dog bit him.

Utah has a strict liability statute for dog bites. In other words, if you are bit by a dog in Utah, 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 strictly 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 owner could be held liable if the injured person’s response to the dog was reasonable.

If you have suffered injuries from a dog 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.

How Can Our Utah Dog Bite Attorney Help You?

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Hiring a skilled and experienced Utah dog bite lawyer may be the best approach to get the most money for your dog bite lawsuit. 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 is worth from the insurance providers. Contact Parker & McConkie’s Utah Dog Bite Attorneys and ensure that they are dependable as required by Utah law. Here’s how we can help you:

1. Look into the incident

Our Utah Dog Bite attorney will look into your accident. They accomplish this by obtaining a copy of your 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 as quickly as feasible. This is a time-consuming process, so patience is key!

3. Come to an agreement

After you have recovered from your 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

Litigation is the most time-consuming step in the claim process, potentially prolonging the life of your claim by one or two years. If you decide to file a lawsuit, be aware that you may appear before a judge and jury.

Furthermore, if your total claim is worth less than $50,000, you may elect to arbitrate your dog bite claim. Arbitration is less formal than a trial and, therefore, less costly and can get done more quickly. You only want to elect to arbitrate your claim if you are sure that the damages are less than $50,000 because this is the most you can receive with arbitration for dog bite claims.

What Should You Do Right After Your Utah Dog Attack?

Usually, a dog bite happens when you least expect it. Our Utah dog bite injury lawyer has some suggestions for what you should do immediately following a dog bite incident in Utah:

  • Seek medical attention right away.

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 for the accident could result in a life-threatening infection or complicate your healing.

  • Obtain details on the dog and its owner.

Obtain the dog owner’s name, address, and contact information if at all possible. The dog’s owner could be held legally liable for your injuries and other losses.

  • Notify the authorities about the dog bite.

Dog attacks should be reported to the local authorities as soon as possible.

  • Take pictures of your injuries and keep a record of your recovery process.

After a dog bite accident, you should either take images of your injuries or have someone you trust to take pictures of them for you. Take periodic images of your injuries as they heal and your healing.

Keeping documented photographs of your recovery process, as well as doctor notes, appointments, therapies, and the time it takes for you to recover from your wound, can all be helpful evidence in a dog bite lawsuit.

  • Contact a Utah dog bite lawyer.

You may sustain significant injuries due to a severe dog bite event. 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 a representative from the dog owner’s insurance provider without a dog bite attorney on your side. They may offer you a lowballed settlement.

Utah Dog Bite Law: Overview

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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:

  • A dog owner or keeper of a dog is liable to another person for damages caused by their dog.
  • Police officers are not liable for when a police dog bites someone while trying to find or arrest a suspect.
  • A dog owner is not liable when their dog injures or kills another person’s dog if the attacking dog is on its property within a fence or enclosure.

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:

  1. The dog had bit previously or acted as if it wanted to bite someone.
  2. The defendant knew about the dog’s previous misbehavior.

If either of those elements is not met, the victim will be unable to use this doctrine as a basis for recovering compensation.

Common Injuries Caused By Dog Bites

Following a dog bite, the most crucial thing to consider is your health. The following are the most common dog bite injuries:

  • Damage to the nerves, tendons, and tissues
  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Infections
  • Bruising
  • Trauma or a dog’s fear
  • Face injuries
  • Leg injuries
  • Puncture wound
  • Disfigurement
  • Blood loss
  • Muscle damage

Whether your injury from a dog bite is minor or severe, you should seek maximum compensation with the help of Parker & McConkie, a Utah personal injury law firm.

Common Causes of Utah Dog Attack

Common Causes of Utah Dog Attack

Even though your pets are usually well-trained animals, they can be unpredictable and aggressive at times. As a result, dog owners and property owners have a legal responsibility to protect others from harm. According to the strict responsibility concept, any dog bite damage, regardless of the cause, is grounds for filing a claim against the responsible person. The following are some of the most common causes of dog bite injuries:

  • The behavior of the prey
  • Territorial conduct
  • Aggression redirected
  • Hunger
  • 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.

Compensation Available to Utah Dog Bite Victims

If you or a family member, such as a 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:

  • Medical Bills (Present and Future)

If your injuries are severe, they may require long-term rehabilitation and therapy.

  • Pain and Suffering

Non-economic damages may be available if you suffer emotional trauma from a dog bite injury. These losses are more difficult to prove and necessitate the assistance of a skilled dog bite attorney.

  • Current and Future Loss of Wages

Your injuries may limit your capacity to work or execute the same job functions as before the injury.

  • Permanent Disability or Disfigurement

If the injury is severe enough, it could lead to amputation, limb loss, and permanent scars.

  • Loss of Consortium

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

Punitive damages may be imposed on the dog owner if:

  • The dog’s owner gave the order to attack.
  • The dog has been hostile on a few occasions.
  • The owner is unconcerned about averting an attack.

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’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injuries

 Utah's Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injuries

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 very probably dismiss it.

Why Choose Parker & McConkie for Your Utah Dog Bite Claims?

Parker & McConkie may assist you with your case. Here are some reasons why you should choose Parker & McConkie Utah Dog Bite Lawyers:

  • A track record of success;
  • Available 24/7;
  • We’ll get you medical assistance, and we’ll take care of everything;
  • We’ll speak with insurance companies on your behalf;
  • We’d be pleased to discuss your possible rights with you;
  • Propose a course of action;
  • We will be there to assist you throughout the compensation process;
  • With over 40 years of experience in personal injury law in Utah;
  • Make all effort to get a positive result in your position;
  • We provide a free initial consultation and do not charge you a penny unless we win.

Our Utah Dog Attack Lawyer at Parker & McConkie 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 to you.

Animal Control Centers in Utah

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 should seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you or your child is bitten. Also, the law requires you to report a dog or cat bite to animal services. Here is a listing of animal control centers throughout Utah where you may report your dog bite:

  • Cache County, Sheriff’s Office: 435-716-9400
  • Davis County: 801-444-2200
  • Duchesne County: 435-738-2424
  • Roosevelt County: 435-781-7297
  • Salt Lake County: 801-743-7045
  • Summit County: 435-615-3985
  • Utah County, Sheriff’s Office: 801-851-4000
  • Washington County: 435-627-4350
  • Weber County: 801-399-8244

Utah Dog Bite Injuries FAQs

Here are the most asked questions regarding dog bite injuries in Utah:

Can you get compensated for a dog bite injury in Utah?

Yes, you can get compensated for a dog bite. Utah law allows you to bring a claim against the dog owner or keeper of a dog that bit you. Your damages might include incurring medical bills, scarring, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and wage loss.

Dog owners should carry homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover against a dog bite. Coverage limits are usually between $100,000 and $300,000 for homeowners and renter’s insurance policies. However, Utah does not require dog owners to carry insurance for dog bites.

In Utah, we have a “strict liability” law. This means that the dog owner is automatically liable when their dog bites someone. It doesn’t matter that the dog had never bitten someone before, that the dog was well-trained, or that it was scared. None of these defenses will work. Utah lawmakers decided that if you own a dog, there’s always a risk it will bite someone. Therefore, you must be willing to accept responsibility when that happens.

Can I be blamed for causing the dog to bite or injure me?

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.

The amount of compensation you receive is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury awards you $100,000, and you are considered 30% at fault for the dog biting you, your award is reduced to $70,000.

If you are considered to be 50% or more at fault for the dog biting you, then you receive nothing.

How much is my Utah dog bite injury case worth?

Your dog bite case can range from $10,000 on the low end to $500,000 on the high end (or even higher), depending on the particular facts of your case.

The value of your dog bite claim can vary. It can depend on these several factors:

  • Amount of your medical bills;
  • Any infections or complications;
  • The length of the animal attack;
  • The number of dogs attacking you;
  • Size of your scarring;
  • Location of your scarring;
  • Nature of your scarring, such as discoloration, keloid scarring, sensitivity to touch;
  • Number of times you were bit;
  • The breed and size of the dog that bit you;
  • Your age;
  • The need for counseling for emotional trauma;
  • Wage loss; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, activities, or hobbies.

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 value of the case is usually higher.

Can I still sue for a dog bite injury if it was the dog’s first bite?

Yes. You don’t need to show the dog had has a history of biting. You don’t even need to show that the dog is vicious or mean.

How long do I have to file a dog bite injury lawsuit in Utah?

In Utah, you have 4 years to file a lawsuit from the day of the dog attack. If you do not file a lawsuit within the 4-year deadline, your claim is barred.

Can I get punitive damages for a dog bite injury?

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.”

Can you sue someone for biting your dog?

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 to your dog.

Can I recover damages for a minor dog bite injury?

Yes. There is no minimum requirement for dog bites. You might have minor scratches from a dog bite. You can still bring a claim to recover damages for your injuries.

Do I have to report a dog bite to the Utah government?

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:

  • The owner or keeper of the dog that bit a person;
  • The person that is bit by the dog;
  • Any person with personal knowledge that the dog bit a person;
  • Any doctor or medical professional who treats a person bitten by a dog.

Can I recover damages if a police dog bites me?

It depends.

If the law enforcement officer is pursuing a suspect, and the officer’s dog bites you, the law enforcement agency is not 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.

Is the dog put down after 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:

  • the dog bites someone more than once within a twelve-month period;
  • the dog inflicted “substantial” injury to a person with a single attack;
  • bites multiple people and animals in one attack;
  • has bitten a person or animal once, and according to a vet, is likely to attack again.

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 3 bites.

Do I have to go to trial to get compensated for my dog bite injury?

No. In fact, most dog bite cases settle before even filing a lawsuit. 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.

Utah allows dog bite victims to arbitrate their case against the dog owner if the injuries are $50,000 or less. Arbitration is less formal and less expensive than going to trial. The arbitrator, usually a retired judge, reviews all the evidence and decides what to award you for your dog bite. This process is also much quicker than going to trial.

Are there criminal charges against the dog owner?

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 revocation of a dog license.

Here are a few examples of city and county criminal penalties for dog bites:

Dog Bite Attorney Near Me | Call Our Utah Dog Bite Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation

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If a dog bites you or a member of your family, don’t hesitate to contact a Utah dog bite attorney near you. We’ll be there to help and guide you throughout your injury claim so you can get the total and fair compensation you deserve!

Call the skilled and aggressive Utah dog bite lawyer at Parker & McConkie if a dog in Utah bites and injures you. 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!

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