A dog bite is a traumatizing experience that can result in significant injuries. While some bites may be superficial lacerations, puncture wounds are serious injuries that can lead to infection or even disfigurement. If an unfamiliar or stray dog bit you, you may also be concerned about whether the dog was infected with rabies.

The experienced Sandy dog bite attorneys of London Harker Injury Law are here to help you in the aftermath of a dog bite injury. We will help you seek the financial compensation you deserve while you focus on your recovery. Call us today at 77CARCRASH to discuss your legal options after a dog bite.

What Should You Do After a Dog Bite?

You may not know where to turn for help if you suffer a dog bite. Consider following these steps after a bite to ensure your safety and preserve your legal rights:

  • Seek medical treatment – Appropriate medical treatment for your injuries is your first priority. Whether you need emergency medical care at the location where the dog bit you or you receive treatment at a local emergency room or urgent care facility, be sure a medical professional evaluates and treats your injuries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, infection is the number one concern for dog bites or other animal attacks. Because of that, you should see a medical provider within eight hours of a bite to avoid infection or further complications. When you get treatment at a medical facility, they will create some of the necessary documentation for your dog bite claim.
  • Identify the dog and locate its owners – Be sure to locate the dog’s owner as soon as possible after you suffer a dog bite. Obtain their contact information, including their full name, home address, and phone number. You should also request the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy information for purposes of filing a claim.
  • Report the bite to your local animal control facility – Most cities and towns have an Animal Control division of their local government for reporting purposes. However, call the local police department to report the bite if your area does not have an Animal Control office or facility. The report that Animal Control or the police department creates will be helpful documentation of the incident for your claim or lawsuit.
  • Obtain necessary evidence – Photograph the dog and the location of the attack if you are physically able after the bite. If any eyewitnesses were in the area at the time of the bite, obtain their contact information and document what they witnessed. You should also preserve your clothing if it shows evidence of the attack and be sure to photograph your injuries.
  • Consult with an attorney – A personal injury attorney with experience handling dog bite cases can assist you in navigating the legal process after an attack. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the incident, so they can conduct their investigation of the bite and obtain the available evidence before it is lost or disappears.

Common Causes of Dog Bites

Dogs can be unpredictable and aggressive when you least expect it. However, some situations or environments may prompt an attack. Some of the common causes of dog bite injuries include:

  • Territorial conduct
  • Hunger
  • Sickness or injury
  • Actions of the dog bite victim
  • Fear

Even a well-trained dog can lash out without warning and bite someone and cause serious injuries. If the dog owner fails to keep their dog leashed and maintain control over it, the circumstances will create a risk for such unexpected behavior and potential injuries.

How Do You Prove Liability in a Dog Bite Case?

Not all dog bites will result in a lawsuit. To prove liability in a dog bite case, you must:

  • Prove that a dog caused your injuries

    You need documentation of your injuries. This could include medical records related to your treatment after the bite and photographs you took after the incident.

  • Demonstrate that the dog bite was unprovoked

    You must show that the dog bit you and that you did nothing to prompt the dog to bite. This evidence could come from your own statement about the incident that is later corroborated by an eyewitness or the dog’s owner if they observed the bite.

  • Establish your location

    You must prove that you were on public or private property with permission when the bite occurred. Photographs and witness testimony can establish evidence of your location.

Keep in mind that Utah is a comparative negligence state. As such, if you are found to be more than 50 percent or more at fault for the incident, you are not eligible for compensation. For this reason, demonstrating that the dog was unprovoked is critical. If you teased or bothered the dog, a comparative negligence analysis would be conducted to determine your percentage of fault, which would reduce your potential recovery.

States have different laws concerning dog bites. Utah is a “strict liability” state. This means the dog owner will be liable if their dog causes an injury, even if it does not have a history of biting or aggressive behavior. Other states have a “one-bite” rule. In a “one bite” state, a prior dog bite can serve as evidence that the owner knew the dog was dangerous or had a tendency to bite.

Does Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Whether insurance coverage is available to compensate you for your financial losses depends on the terms of the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Their homeowner’s policy may include coverage for dog bites, or a dog bite could fall under an exclusion to the policy. However, even if the owner does not have insurance coverage for the injuries their dog caused, they are still responsible for paying your financial losses if they are liable for the injuries their dog inflicted.

Because of the intricacies and complexities of insurance policies, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help determine whether coverage for your injuries and losses is available. A lawyer will request and analyze the insurance policy. They can also communicate and negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company on your behalf. If there is no insurance coverage, your attorney will advise you of your legal options for directly pursuing compensation from the dog owner. And if the dog’s owner is a friend or family member, your attorney can handle all the negotiations to help preserve your relationship with the at-fault party. 

What Compensation Can I Recover For a Dog Bite Injury?

If we determine that the dog owner may be liable for your injuries, we will pursue compensation from them, either through their insurance company or directly. We will obtain your medical records and bills to document your treatment and expenses related to the dog bite. If you are off work due to your injuries, we will request payroll and tax records from your employer. 

As your attorneys, we will calculate all your financial losses and demand payment for the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional and mental distress

Am I Entitled to Punitive Damages for a Dog Bite?

Punitive damages could be awarded for a dog bite. However, you must demonstrate “intentionally fraudulent conduct” or a “knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others” by the dog owner. Accordingly, the evidence must show that the dog owner’s actions were beyond negligence and that their intentional conduct resulted in your injuries. For example, punitive damages may be awarded if the dog owner orders the dog to attack you or fails to intervene and is unconcerned when their dog is attacking you.

Can I File Criminal Charges Against the Dog Owner?

Although you cannot personally file criminal charges against the dog owner, your local Animal Control division can issue a citation to the dog owner. Sandy, Utah, is in Salt Lake County, where a dog owner could be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor if they failed to control their pet.

How Soon After a Dog Bite Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Sandy, Utah?

The statute of limitations dictates the deadline for how soon after a dog bite you must file a lawsuit in Utah. Under Utah law, you have four years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit. While four years may seem like a long time, it is best to contact a dog bite attorney immediately after the bite. They can conduct their investigation, speak to eyewitnesses while the incident is fresh in their minds, and timely communicate with insurance companies to ensure that no available coverage is overlooked.

If the insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim for full and fair compensation, the attorneys at London Harker Injury Law will not hesitate to file a lawsuit within the required time frame to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Discuss Your Dog Bite Claim with a Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at London Harker Injury Law have extensive experience handling dog bite injuries. We will evaluate your case and the potential liability of the dog owner. If we determine that the evidence exists to prove the dog owner’s liability, we will work hard to recover financial compensation for all losses related to the bite. Call us today at 77CARCRASH to discuss the incident and your injuries.


London Harker Injury Law Sandy Office

Personal Injury Attorney in Sandy, Utah


London Harker Injury Law Provo Office

Personal Injury Attorney in Provo, Utah

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