If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog bite attack, you may be looking for a Utah dog bite lawyer to help you with your case. The lawyers at Harris, Preston, & Chambers are experienced with Utah dog bite law. They will investigate your claim and help you receive the compensation you deserve. We’re experienced dog bite and personal injury lawyers who can help you get the results you deserve. We serve the entire state of Utah from Logan to Salt Lake City to St George!
“I am very happy with the advice I received and every aspect of my interaction with J. Brett Chambers. He went above and beyond what I expected and helped me to resolve every issue and question I walked in with to a perfectly satisfactory degree. My experience was nothing but quality advice, and an actual interest in my case, however minor it may have seemed. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, or come back.
I think in most cases, people despise the notion of paying lawyer fees, but to me it was money extremely well spent.”
– Korban L.
Can I Claim Compensation for a Dog Bite in Utah?
After a dog bite attack in Utah, you may be wondering what kind of compensation you can receive. You may even feel hesitant about proceeding with a claim. Most people who are injured in a dog bite attack know the dog’s owner. They don’t want to sue their friends, neighbors, or family. But these claims are typically taken care of by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
In Utah, the victim of a dog bite injury may receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Cosmetic treatment of scars
- Pain & suffering
- Lost income & benefits
- Lost income opportunity
- Psychological treatment
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of quality of life
- Humiliation caused by scars
This list is not exhaustive. A dog bite lawyer near you can review your case and help you investigate. They will know how much compensation to pursue and will help you get the most out of your claim.
Are Dog Owners Liable for a Dog Bite?
In the state of Utah, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for any dog bite or attack. Some other states have what is called the “One Bite Rule,” where the owner is only liable if the dog has previously attacked someone or shown signs of aggression. But in Utah, even an attack that comes out of nowhere leaves the owner liable. “Beware of Dog” signs do not negate the fault of the owner, nor does the victim have to prove any sort of negligence.
While the dog owner is held liable for dog bite injuries, what most people don’t realize is that their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover the claim up to a certain amount. So when you are suing for compensation, it’s the insurance you’re suing, not your friend or neighbor.
Depending on the situation, the dog owner may also be held criminally liable for the dog attack. They may have to pay punitive damages. And if the dog is found to be extremely vicious, they may have to have their dog put down.
Utah Dog Bite Laws
Utah has a few laws you should know about if you’re pursuing a dog bite claim. First of all, if you’re injured by a police dog while being apprehended by the law, you aren’t eligible for compensation. If, however, the police officer and his trained dog violate the policies of their agency or are otherwise incautious, you may have a case.
Another Utah dog bite law you should be aware of is called comparative negligence. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault, you will not be eligible for compensation. If the dog was provoked by being hit, being teased, or otherwise bothered, a comparative negligence analysis will be done to determine the percentage of fault. Petting a dog doesn’t usually count as provocation, except if the owner warned the victim not to.
Comparative fault is not usually considered when a child is the victim. Depending on the child’s age, they are usually not expected to know how to give a dog space. Unfortunately, children are the most likely to be bitten by a dog. They are smaller, so they seem more like prey, and they don’t always know how to act appropriately around dogs.
Finally, the last Utah dog bite law to know is that there is a statute of limitations on dog bite injury cases. You have four years from the date of the attack to file a claim. The laws surrounding dog bite laws can be complicated. An experienced dog bite injury lawyer in Salt Lake City will know how to help you navigate the system for the best outcome.
Alternatives to Trial
If it looks like your case will head to trial, one alternative you might pursue is arbitration. In Utah, arbitration can be used to come to a binding agreement between you and the dog owner. Arbitration is less expensive than trial, which is beneficial to both parties, and typically moves more quickly.
On the other hand, the amount of compensation you can recover is less. The cap is $50,000, plus medical benefits and a property damage claim. Punitive damages cannot be sought in arbitration of a dog bite case. A Utah dog bite attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of arbitration to decide if it’s worth it.
Average Dog Bite Settlement in Utah
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in the state of Utah, you might be wondering how much your case is worth. Giving you an exact number isn’t possible, as there are many factors that determine your settlement, such as comparative fault, the severity of the injuries, etc.
According to a 2019 study, there are an average of 127 dog bite injury claims every year in Utah. The average dog bite settlement in Utah is $34,548.94, with the total payout being $4.39 million.
The severity of your injuries and the attack will determine what your own claim is worth. An experienced dog bite injury lawyer can help assess your case and determine how much compensation to pursue.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
The sun is shining and you’re out enjoying one of the Wasatch Front’s many beautiful parks. You pass someone walking their dog. Or maybe you’re over at a friend or neighbor’s house, grilling up burgers in the backyard on Pioneer Day while their dog roams free. Then, the worst happens the dog attacks. What should you do next?
- Get the contact information for the dog owner. If there are any witnesses around, make sure to get their information as well. You’ll want full names, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Get medical attention. Even if the bite seems small, infection is a big risk. In fact, one out of every five dog bites becomes infected. Your doctor will help you clean the wound and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a serious infection. Rabies is another possible complication after a dog bite. Your doctor will tell you whether or not you’ll need a rabies shot.
- Contact animal control. The dog’s owner will likely have to quarantine their dog following the attack to make sure it doesn’t have rabies.
- Document your dog bite wounds with pictures throughout the healing process.
- Find an experienced dog bite attorney in Utah. You’ll want to work with someone who knows the specifics of Utah’s dog bite laws. A dog bite injury lawyer will help investigate your case and prepare your claim.
What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone
As a dog owner, you love your good boy or girl. You could probably never imagine it biting someone else. But in spite of being domesticated, dogs still have animal instincts. If, for example, your dog is under stress, they are more likely to bite, even with no previous signs of aggression.
If the worst does happen, one of the first things you will need to do is quarantine your dog. Animal control will likely contact you to give you the specifics. Basically, you’ll need to keep your dog away from people for around two weeks to make sure it doesn’t develop signs of rabies.
In Utah, if your dog has bitten someone, you are held strictly liable. The victim of the dog bite does not have to prove negligence in any way. This makes things less complicated for you in many ways. However, hiring a dog bite defense attorney in Utah can help you through the process. If the victim shares any of the fault in the cause, your dog bite defense lawyer will help you build your case so you aren’t made to pay more than you should.
What to Look for in a Utah Dog Bite Lawyer
When looking for the best dog bite lawyer for your case, you’ll want to consider your options. A family member or friend who practices law isn’t necessarily your best option. And trying to settle the claim on your own will be difficult. You want someone who has experience. Dog bite injury cases can be complicated. A dedicated dog bite attorney in Salt Lake City will know the ins and outs of Utah laws and statutes. They will help you negotiate with the insurance company and go to trial if necessary.
At Harris, Preston, & Chambers, we know that dog bite attacks and injuries can come with a lot of psychological trauma in addition to physical injuries. We’ll put in the hard work on your case so you or your loved one can focus on healing. We serve clients in Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, and throughout the state of Utah. Give us a call today for a free consultation on your dog bite injury case.
Utah Dog Bite Injuries FAQ’s
Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to dog bite injuries in Utah:
How much is my Utah dog bite injury case worth?
The value of your dog bite claim can vary quite widely so there is no way to estimate a value. The outcome of your case will depend on the following factors;
- Total amount of your medical bills
- The number of dogs involved in your attack
- Size and severity of your scarring
- The duration of the animal attack
- If any complications such as infections occurred from the bite 6. The number of times you were bitten
- Your need for emotional counseling and support
- Loss of income
- The age of the person injured by the bite
- The age of the person injured by the bite
- The breed and size of the dog
All the factors mentioned above will play a part in determining the worth of your Utah dog bite case. However, the location and size of your scarring tend to have the largest bearing on the value. The more noticeable your scar, especially when on the face, the more your identity is compromised. When severe scarring or deformity of the face are involved, the value of the case will generally be higher.
Is the dog put down after a dog bite?
Putting a dog down after its first bite is not necessarily the norm. In some areas, dogs are required to be put down after their third biting offense. If there is proof that the dog is especially dangerous, the city may require the dog to be put down after the first time it bites.
Can I be blamed for causing the dog to bite or attack me?
Utah law states that you can actually share some of the fault when a dog bites you. It’s extremely rare, but if there is evidence that proves you provoked the attack, a jury could find you partially at fault which could reduce the amount of compensation you receive for your case.
What is the statute of limitations for Utah’s dog bite lawsuits?
The statute of limitations in Utah for this kind of a case is four years. This means that you have 4 years from the day of the dog attack to file a lawsuit. If you wait longer than four years, you won’t have a viable case.
Is proof of aggressive history need?
No. There doesn’t need to be any proof that the dog has a history of biting or even that the dog is aggressive.
Can I receive punitive damages for a dog bite injury?
Yes. In the state of Utah you may be awarded punitive damages. However, this is a rare occurrence as there would need to be strong evidence proving that the dog owner was malicious and willful in his intentions with disregard for the safety of others.
Can I sue a dog owner if their dog bites my dog?
Yes, you certainly can sue another dog owner when the attacking dog harms or kills your dog. Keep in mind that there is one exception to this rule. If the attacking dog is secured behind a fence or other enclosure and your dog wanders uninvited onto the dog owner’s property, the attacking dog owner isn’t liable for the death or injuries of your dog.
Can I receive damages for a minor dog bite injury?
Yes as there is no minimum requirement for dog bites. You are able to pursue a claim no matter how minor the injury is.
Is it required in the state of Utah to report a dog bite?
Yes, you are required to report a dog bite in the state of Utah. If you fail to do so, you could receive a citation along with a fine. According to Utah dog bite laws, the following are required to report a dog bite:
– Any medical professional who treats a dog bite
– A person with personal knowledge that the dog bite happened – The person that is bitten by the dog
– The owner or keeper of the dog that did the biting
Can I receive compensation if a police dog bites me?
If a police dog bites someone while not engaged in official police business, the law enforcement agency may be held liable. However, if the police dog is pursuing a suspect and bites someone, the dog is given immunity.
Am I required to go to trial in order to receive compensation for my dog bite injury?
No. Negotiations will typically happen with the dog owner or their insurance company before ever filing a lawsuit. When the insurance company offers fair compensation, your case should be settled and will never go to trial.
Are there criminal charges against the dog owner?
Yes. The dog owner can be cited by Utah animal control authorities. Generally, the owner will receive a Class B misdemeanor. In certain circumstances, other penalties may be given. These may include destroying the dog, revoking the dog license, muzzling the dog, or impounding the dog.
If a dog bites you or one of your family members, don’t hesitate to contact Harris, Preston, and Chambers. Our experienced team of Utah dog bite attorneys will be there to navigate the process with you every step of the way.