Dog Bites

Dog Bites

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 that has a scar on his or her face from being bit by a dog as a child.

Most states have laws that make dog owners automatically responsible for when their dog bites another person. These laws are called “strict liability.” Strict liability means that the person who is bit does not have to show that the dog owner did anything wrong, only that the person owned the dog. 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. The idea being that dogs are unpredictable, and even if the dog owner uses the upmost care, the dog may still bite another person. Consequently, law makers have decided to put the burden on the dog owner for when someone gets bitten.

In Utah, the dog doesn’t have to actually bite the person in order for the owner to be held strictly liable for injuries to another. 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.

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

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
  • Duchesnes 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

Whether your injury from a dog bite is minor or serious, you should seek compensation with the help of Jensen Law.

If you have suffered a dog bite due to negligence, please contact our law firm to discuss compensation.

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