If you are a dog owner in Nevada, you can be held responsible for the actions and misbehaviors of your pet. However, the law in Nevada does not hold dog owners strictly or automatically responsible for dog bite injuries. Instead, there must be proof that the pet owner was negligent.
Nevada’s One-Bite Rule and Dog Bite Injury Liability
Nevada does not have a specific dog bite statute. Instead, the courts determine dog bite injury claims on a case-by-case basis. The courts in Nevada have historically applied a negligence or one-bite rule when deciding dog bite cases. Under this rule, a pet owner will only be held liable (legally and financially responsible) for a dog bite injury that he or she reasonably should have prevented. In general, this means if:
- The dog owner had knowledge that the dog had previously bitten someone.
- The owner was negligent in controlling or leashing the pet according to Nevada’s leash laws.
- The dog owner was in violation of a municipal pet owner law.
- The dog had been classified as “dangerous” or “vicious” by animal control.
To be held liable for a dog bite injury that occurs on your own property, the victim typically must have evidence that you were negligent. Negligence means to fall short of the required duty of care, or the obligation to exercise reasonable care in preventing a dog attack, such as by allowing a dog to run at large in public. Collecting evidence and proving liability can be tricky in these cases, getting help from a Las Vegas dog bite lawyer can help create a clear path forward.
Dog Bite Injuries on Private Property – Was the Victim Trespassing?
Your duty of care to prevent a dog bite injury depends on the circumstances. You have different duties of care in a public place compared to your own home or private property, for example. When you take your dog out in public, you are obligated to follow state and local animal control laws. In Las Vegas, the municipal code requires a pet to be restrained by a leash or lead when not confined within the real property limits of its owner or keeper. If you violate any of these laws and your dog bites someone, this could be grounds to hold you liable.
As a property owner in Nevada, you have a responsibility to prevent foreseeable harm to lawful visitors, including harm from a dog attack. On your own private property, however, you are typically not required to keep your dog leashed or restrained, with exceptions for dangerous or vicious dogs. If you know that your dog might bite someone, this could give you a duty to prevent the attack, such as by putting your dog away before welcoming someone onto your property.
If the person your dog attacked was trespassing (entered your property without your permission or consent), you are absolved of the duty to keep the trespasser safe. Short of intentionally injuring the trespasser, you do not owe him or her any duties of care. This means you do not have a responsibility to prevent your dog from biting the trespasser. There is an exception, however, for child trespassers under the age of 18.
What if I Had a Beware of Dog Sign?
Posting a sign that warns visitors to “Beware of Dog” could be beneficial in protecting you from liability for a dog bite injury in Nevada. Since the state uses a negligence-based law to determine liability in most dog bite injury claims, any evidence that shows you were not negligent as a pet owner could protect you. This includes a sign visibly posted on your property to make people aware of a pet’s aggressive tendencies. At the same time, this type of sign also shows that you were aware of the dog’s vicious propensities. This can place additional responsibilities on you to prevent dog attacks.
For more information about your potential liability for a dog bite injury on your property in Las Vegas, contact a Las Vegas personal injury attorney from Koch & Brim, LLP for a consultation.