Dog Bite Laws in Utah
States have their own laws that apply to dog bite cases in the legal system. In Utah, all individuals who have been injured in dog attacks have four years from the date of injury to bring their case to court – any case filed after the deadline will most likely result in the court denying your case and you won’t be able to secure compensation.
When it comes to establishing liability after an attack, Utah specifies that “every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed to the dog.” This is known as “strict liability” and also means that all dog owners have a responsibility to pay for damages when their dog causes injuries – not just dog bites. For example, the owner would be held liable for damages if their dog knocked a person onto their back and caused their back or head injuries.
Individuals can also file a claim based on negligence and allege that the dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care when restraining their dog, and the negligence is what directly led to their injuries.
Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites
Depending on the nature of the accident, dog bites can lead to a range of injuries that extend beyond abrasions. Abrasions include any superficial injuries that don’t go past the outer layer of your skin, such as scrapes, grazing, and minor bleeding that may result in some scarring.
- Punctures: When a dog’s teeth pierce your skin, they can sink deep and cause heavy bleeding. These injuries will likely result in scars and can potentially lead to infection if left untreated.
- Infections: Dog bite injuries can worsen when they get infected by bacteria or germs, and around 10 to 15 percent of all dog bites will result in infection. Some signs include swelling, redness, pus, and pain, and require the use of antibiotics. The worst infection a person can get from a dog bite is rabies, and though the risk is minimal in the U.S., there are irresponsible dog owners out there who don’t vaccinate their pets.
- Loss of body parts: Some of the most serious dog bite injuries occur when a dog rips skin or tissue completely off the body, including entire body parts like ears. Known as avulsion, these dog bite injuries usually require reconstructive surgery and will result in scarring.
- Nerve damage: When a dog bite sinks deep enough into the skin and penetrates tissue, it could extend to the nerves and cause nerve damage. Serious nerve damage can result in you losing the ability to use that part of your body completely or lose feeling or sensation.
Why Are Children More Likely to Suffer from Dog Bite Injuries?
Statistics show that children are more likely to be the victims of serious dog bite injuries and related fatalities because of their inability to pick up on behavioral cues such as growling, bared teeth, and other signs of aggression. Children are also more likely to want to pet or play with dogs and may reach out, triggering a dog to bite them. However, dog owners are still liable for any injuries that their pet inflicts upon another person.
If you or your child has been injured by a dog bite, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and damages and hold the negligent pet owner responsible. Jeff Metler and his team care for each client and can handle the details of your case while you focus on getting better.
Our Utah dog bite attorney understands what you may be going through and can meet with you personally.