The Utah dog bite lawyers at Christensen & Hymas can help you recover compensation if you’re injured by a dog attack. Utah dog bite laws protect victims. However, to get a settlement, you must pursue a legal claim. Christensen & Hymas is a personal injury law firm dedicated to helping victims. We have the skill, determination, and compassion to help you through this traumatic experience.
Our law firm does things differently. You can expect to feel understood with clear communication from our legal team throughout your case. Someone who causes a dog bite may owe the victim compensation. It’s our goal to work on your behalf for you to receive the dog bite compensation that you deserve.
Have Medical Bills from a Dog Bite or Animal Attack Set You Back? We can Help!
Dog bites and animal attacks can be very traumatic, especially for children. These attacks can leave a victim with serious physical and emotional scars. If you live in Utah and have been attacked by a dog or another animal, we can help you recover from the cost of your medical expenses and other damages.
Our attorneys understand Utah dog bite laws and animal attack laws. We will work tirelessly to make sure you receive fair compensation. You don’t have to do this on your own. You need the guidance of a dedicated, qualified personal injury lawyer to help you through the pain and frustration of your case. Our firm strives to serve our clients with a professional and personal emphasis on integrity and compassion. Your case matters to us. Let us worry about your medical payments and accident claim so you can focus on moving on with your life.
What Are Some Types of Dog Bite Attacks?
When a dog attacks, it can cause serious damage to the victim’s body. Below is a list of types of dog bite attacks and injuries that can occur.
Hands, Arms, and Legs Dog Attacks
When a dog attacks, a person’s first thought is to protect themselves by putting out their arms or legs. Sometimes, a victim may be able to use this defense mechanism to stop the attack. However, this action sacrifices your extremities. The pain and damage that a dog can do to the hands and arms can be excruciating. Puncture wounds and broken bones can occur. The loss of use of hands or fingers can impact a victim for the rest of their life.
Puncture Wounds From Dog Attacks
A puncture wound occurs when the dog bites and the teeth enter the skin during an attack. Tearing of the skin can also happen, causing further damage to the extremity. Puncture wounds are also accompanied by scratches with a tooth or clawing from the paws. Left untreated, a puncture wound may become infected.
Broken or Crush Injuries
When a dog bites or attacks a person, it can cause crushed bones. A dog’s jaw is very strong. Even if the skin is not punctured, bones can still be crushed during the dog’s attack. Plus, the person might fall or get knocked to the ground which could result in broken bones that could hinder the victim’s ability to fight back.
Head, Neck and Face Dog Bite Injuries
A dog attack can cause head, neck, and face injuries. Unfortunately, these injuries are common in children. Children are smaller and shorter than most adults. When the dog attacks, it is likely to attack at the same level, causing serious injury to the child’s face. A child also can’t fend off the attack like adults can, which can lead to severe injuries. Disfiguring facial injuries can last a lifetime. The victim may need multiple facial reconstruction surgeries and still be left with disfiguring scars that could cause the victim life-long emotional trauma.
Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries From a Dog Attack
If a person falls or gets knocked down during a dog attack, they may hit their head on an object or the ground. Serious brain injuries can occur while trying to fend off the attack. Head injuries can also happen if the dog bites the head of the victim. Head injuries can be simple as a bump on the head or as serious as a fractured skull or a brain injury causing permanent disability.
Since the most frequent target of a dog attack is the face, these types of wounds can result in severe scarring. Disfiguring scars can have life-long consequences. Scars are an important factor in a personal injury case as the victim will forever be reminded of the dog’s attack.
Emotional and Psychological Dog Bite Injuries
A dog bite brings emotional scars. The psychological injuries that are sometimes present after a dog attack can affect every part of the victim’s life. The victim may even develop Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that could cause the person to carry frightening memories that could keep them from holding a job or sleeping at night.
What To Do if You Are Bitten by a Dog
Dog bites can be very scary. It can be hard to know what to do and what questions to ask. Here is some essential information to help you understand what to do after a dog bites you:
- Seek medical attention. If the injury requires medical attention, call 911. In any personal injury case, you must prove that you were injured. Having medical records is a great way to begin the process of the claim.
- Alert the authorities to document the incident.
- Get the information of the dog owner and witnesses. Try to find witnesses to the accident and get their information too. Your words can only go so far in a courtroom. Having a witness and other evidence could substantially help your case.
- Take photos of your injuries. As mentioned, your case relies heavily on the severity of your injuries. Be sure to properly document your injuries with photos to be sure you are fairly compensated for the damages and pain and suffering that likely ensued after the accident.
- Document everything. Memories sometimes fail us. Claims can sometimes take months or even years to settle. Remembering every detail of an accident can be very difficult. Inconsistencies with your story could ultimately end your claim. Do your best to take notes and ask important questions like: Was the dog on a leash? Was the owner in control of the dog? Did I provoke the dog? Documenting immediately following the attack is the best.
- Consider hiring a lawyer. You should not settle for less than what you deserve. Hiring an experienced dog bite attorney can help you maximize your claim and move it quickly through the legal system. Christensen & Hymas has dedicated and professional lawyers ready to help you with your dog bite case.
What Kinds of Things Are Compensated in a Dog Bite Claim?
Every case will vary, but in general, the following may be compensated:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Earnings
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Pain and Suffering
Working with an experienced dog bite lawyer can help you claim the maximum compensation you deserve. Legal experts will fully value your claim so you recover for all your damages.
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How Do I Keep My Dog and Others Safe?
Keeping your dog safe, as well as keeping others safe from your dog, is very important as nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Not all dogs are vicious. However, it is difficult to know when a dog may turn violent. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe:
- Give your pet a collar and ID tags: Include up-to-date information for the best way to reach you if the dog is lost or stolen like your name, phone number, and address. ID tags can be purchased at any pet store.
- Have your pet microchipped: Microchips are implanted identification for the pet that has all of the owner’s contact information.
- Spay/neuter your pet: Sterile pets are less likely to roam, and it saves you the hassle of additional unwanted pets. Sterile animals are also less likely to become violent as they age.
- Plan for your absence: Pets love the outdoors. But keeping them safe while you are gone is difficult. Keep them close to home and away from traffic, unfamiliar animals, and those who may not have your pet’s best interests in mind.
- Leash your pets while out and about: A leash decreases the likelihood of fights with other animals. It should be strong enough to hold the dog’s weight if they begin to pull.
- Don’t leave your animal unattended: Don’t leave your pet leashed outside of a store or in your vehicle, even if it is locked or the windows are rolled down.
Tips for Keeping Others Safe From Your Dog
Here are some ways to keep others safe from your dog:
- No hugs or kisses: Teach people who may be around your dog that hugs and kisses around the dog’s face are not safe. Face-to-face contact with the dog is a common cause of bites.
- Stand still if a strange dog approaches: If you don’t know the dog, don’t attempt to pet it or play with it. Teach your child to stand still when a strange dog approaches. The dog may want to sniff, but they will usually move on to something else.
- Don’t tease: Never tease a dog. Also never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or protecting something.
- Supervise: When family or friends are over, supervise the dog to make sure that everyone is being safe. You may put the dog in another room while you have visitors.
Dog and Animal Safety With Children
Children are always ready to explore everything around them. This friendly and outgoing tendency is extended to dogs and other animals.
When around dogs and other pets, instruct children to:
- Treat pets properly. Do not pull their tails/ears or poke their eyes.
- Act calmly around dogs. Do not jump at them or scream in their presence.
- Not hug dogs too tightly. If they want to pet the dog, tell them only to pet the dog’s back.
- Don’t sneak up on a dog.
- Do not disturb a sleeping dog.
- Stay away if the dog seems angry or agitated.
- Don’t approach a dog that is eating.
- Don’t feed any strange or wild animals.
- If your child gets scratched or bitten by an animal, seek medical attention immediately.
- Have your dog regularly vaccinated, especially for rabies.
- Keep your dog healthy with plenty of exercise.
- If deciding to have a dog for the first time, carefully select a breed that is ideal for children. Choose a breed of dog known for its good behavior.
Utah Dog Bite Laws
Each year, nearly five million people are bit by a dog in the U.S. These injuries can be traumatic and cause long-term problems. Medical bills can pile up. Unless you know what to do, you may end up paying for all of them. We at Christensen & Hymas want to help you avoid more problems and worries after you or a loved one is bit by a dog. This page will inform you of the basic laws surrounding dog bites in Utah. While we cannot give you specific legal advice unless you hire us, this page will give you a simple overview of Utah’s laws on dog bites.
Who Is Legally Responsible for a Dog Bite in Utah?
According to Utah law (Utah Code 18-1-1), the owner is nearly always legally responsible for any injuries the dog causes. The only exception applies to dogs used by police officers. Under Utah law, the injured person does not need to prove that the dog was vicious or that the owner knew the dog was vicious. While some states do not hold owners responsible until the dog’s second bite, Utah holds owners responsible from the very first bite.
However, just because a dog bit someone does not mean the owner must automatically pay for the injuries. Utah compares the fault of the owner to the fault of the injured person. A person cannot intentionally provoke a dog and then blame the owner for the injury. Joint liability may apply if there are multiple dogs involved in the attack.
Utah Dog Bite and Attack Legal Handbook
A dog owner is generally liable for the actions of their dog. They may not be liable if the victim provokes or teases the dog before the attack. If you are a dog owner, you need to realize your responsibility for your dog. If a dog attacks another animal, a person can injure or kill that dog without legally getting in trouble.
If you want to understand more about dog bites and attacks, feel free to request our free book on this subject. It will help you avoid eight common mistakes injured people make as they deal with the legal claim. It also includes testimonials from our clients on how we helped them with their dog bite cases.
Dog Bite Statistics
Dog bites affect adults and children about equally. If the dog is particularly hard to manage, parents must weigh the benefits of having a pet dog over the possible risk and problems keeping it could create. Forbes lists the top ten breeds that insurers do not cover because of risks of aggression. Families and children often do not consider the dangers these dogs are exposing them to until it’s too late.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares the following statistics on dog bites:
- Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually. 50 percent of the victims are children. 20 percent of dog bites require medical attention.
- In 2012, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery because of dog bites.
- Children ages 5 to 9 have the highest incidents of dog bites of any age group.
- Male adults are more likely than female adults to be bitten.
- As the number of dogs in the home increases, so does the incidence of dog bites. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.
- From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 73% of fatal dog bite attacks.
- 32% of all dog bite fatalities were visiting or living with the dog’s owner at the time.
- 18% of all fatal dog attacks occur off owner property. Pit bulls are responsible for 81% of these attacks.
- The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay is $18,200. That’s about double the average injury stay.
- Dog bites occur every 75 seconds in the United States. Each day, over 1,000 people need emergency medical care.
- Dog bites are the 5th-highest activity for children seeking emergency room treatment.
Dog Bite Resources
If you have been bitten by a dog, you know how serious the situation can be for all parties involved, including the dog. The following is a list of dog bite resources.
- AVMA – AVMA is short for the American Veterinary Medical Association. Their site has statistics, podcasts, and educational videos for both children and parents about dog bite prevention as well as what to do if a bite occurs.
- Centers for Disease Control – The CDC compiles national dog bite statistics. They also have preventative information by age group. Plus, access scholarly articles about the emotional, physical, and psychological damages that may occur from dog bites.
- Dogbites.org – Dogbites.org is a nonprofit organization that provides resources for dog bite victims. They have a blog, book information, statistics, and information you should be aware of as a dog owner as well as resources for victims.
- Doggone Safe – The site gives dog bite prevention through education on how to properly care for dogs. The website has a list of support groups for those who have been bitten as well as media events and other information on how to find a dog professional if you are having dog problems.
- The Humane Society – The Humane Society looks to educate the public on how to not be bitten by dogs and what to do if you have been bitten by a dog. The site also provides some advice for owners following a bite. The site is interactive and has several videos to engage the reader.
- Prevent the Bite – This website has a list of resources for specific age groups, demographics, types of dogs, insurance companies, and resource books. The site looks to provide education to the public as a solution to preventing animal attacks.
- The Utah Dog Bite and Attack Handbook – The Christensen & Hymas team has created a free book for the public about Utah dog bite laws and legal claims. The book also details specific information on what you should do if you have been bitten by a dog and tips for making your legal claim a success.
Dog Bite FAQs
Whether you are a victim or the owner of a dog, you probably have a lot of questions. The following is a list of frequently asked questions for dog bites answered by our Utah personal injury attorneys:
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Utah?
State law determines the time frame for filing a dog bite claim. In Utah, you have four years from the date of the attack to file a legal claim that you had sustained injuries from a dog bite. This time frame of filing a claim is known as a statute of limitations. There are a few exceptions to the four-year limit.
Am I at fault for a dog bite?
Dog owners are not always responsible for their dogs’ actions if the person who was bit is in some way at fault. Shared fault is called comparative liability. If the victim provoked the dog by hitting, kicking, teasing, or taunting prior to the accident, the victim is likely at fault and the owner is not liable.
What if a child didn’t know they were provoking a dog?
Children sometimes do not know that what they are doing may be upsetting to a dog. They may not be able to think through the consequences of their actions. The owner might say that the child’s actions made the animal attack. However, depending on the dog’s viciousness, it will usually outweigh the actions of the child.
Are dog bite injuries covered by insurance?
The dog owner’s renters or homeowners insurance almost always covers the cost of damages.
What things determine the amount of dog bit claim compensation?
Each claim is different. Compensation is based on how severe the attack is and what damages result. With dog bite cases, there are a few things that are brought into consideration. Higher compensation is awarded when the bite injury is to the face or neck, compared to injury to an extremity. Also, if the injury leaves scarring or physical disfigurement, these injuries may also result in higher compensation.
Are there certain dog breeds that always bite?
There are several breeds that are considered to bite harder and more frequently than other breeds; however, it’s debatable due to questions of provocation. Although there are no scientific findings, bulldogs and pit bulls are seen to be more vicious than other dogs like golden retrievers or black labs.
Will the dog be put to sleep if I file a dog bite lawsuit?
The dog may be put to sleep depending on how hard the dog bit and how serious the injuries are. It depends on the amount of viciousness shown and whether the dog is a repeat offender. If the dog has seriously injured a child, the state will put the dog to sleep if you file a dog bite lawsuit. Sometimes the dog and the owner are simply put on a violation report.
How do I know if I should seek compensation for a dog bite?
You should seek legal counsel if you have been seriously injured from a dog bite requiring medical attention. You should also seek compensation for a dog bite if scarring has occurred. If you have lost a considerable amount of quality to your life you may need to consider finding legal counsel. You deserve fair compensation for what happened.
Attorneys for Dog Bites in Utah
Call Christensen & Hymas for a free and confidential consultation. We’re attorneys for dog bites in Utah that go the extra mile to help victims exercise their rights and find financial relief. Call our team at 801-506-0800.