Utah Dog Bite Claims
Our pets are part of our families. So, it is important that we keep them safe and that other dog owners do the same. However, sometimes, accidents with our furry friends happen. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, it is important that you seek legal representation immediately.
Gosdis Law focuses exclusively on injury law and has extensive experience representing dog bite victims in Salt Lake City and across Utah. That means we are passionate about helping accident victims get the compensation they need to recover in peace. We have spent our years of experience putting millions and millions of dollars in our clients’ pockets.
We work tirelessly to get the best results for our clients. Our team is available for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reach out to us online at any time, or give us a call, to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to working with you.
Continuing reading to learn more about Utah dog bite claims.
UTAH DOG BITE LAWS
Like many other states, Utah has a dog bite statute. U.C.A. § 1953 18-1-1 provides that “every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed by the dog,” even if the owner of the dog did not know or have reason to know the dog was dangerous or might bite someone. This is a strict liability law, meaning that dog owner’s are responsible for the injuries their dogs cause, even if their dog has never bit anyone before. Under Utah law, every dog owner is responsible for any injuries that their dog causes. Utah does not make a distinction between dogs that are vicious and mischievous, whether the dog owner knows that the dog is vicious or mischievous.
Utah’s dog bite statute does not only apply to dog bites. It applies to all injuries caused by dogs. For example, if a dog knocks someone over or darts out and causes a bicyclist to crash, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for all of the associated damages.
WHAT IS THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN A UTAH DOG BITE CASE?
A dog bite case is a civil lawsuit. In a civil case, the burden of proof falls on the person bringing the lawsuit. The person that files the lawsuit in a personal injury case is the accident victim. The burden of proof in personal injury cases is the preponderance of evidence. That means that the accident victim must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s action or inaction caused the injured person’s damages.
Although some injuries seem obvious, it can be difficult for plaintiffs to meet the burden of proof at trial. An injury lawyer is beneficial because they are experienced in assisting clients at trial by helping plaintiffs prove their burdens. At Gosdis Law, we have spent years proving to judges and juries that our clients deserve justice. As a result of our advocacy, we have recovered millions and millions of dollars for our clients.
All personal injury cases can get complicated, and dog bite cases are no exception. It is important that you have the best team in your corner to get the job done after you are hurt in an accident. Although there are some cases that can be successfully concluded without representation, often accident claims can get complicated quickly, and you will need someone on your side to represent your interests. An experienced accident attorney can help protect your interests in various ways.
Communication with the insurance company and defense attorneys is important. Ensuring that the extent of your injuries and property damage is properly expressed to the opposing party’s representatives can be the difference between getting the proper compensation and leaving money on the table. Big insurance companies and the lawyers that they hire are laser-focused on protecting the company’s bottom line. If you are getting fully compensated for your injuries is not a concern for their team. Before you speak with an insurance company, it is important that you create a team that has your best interests in mind and comes to the table ready to negotiate your side of the case.
We are here for you. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Communication is the best way to develop a strategy to represent you the best. We want to hear from you. In addition to communicating with you, we want to communicate for you. You can rely on Gosdis Law to speak up for you against big insurance companies and intimidating defense lawyers. When you are represented by Gosdis Law, you can rest assured that we will fight for you.
REPRESENTING YOURSELF AT TRIAL
Representing yourself may look easy in the movies but preparing and convincingly presenting a case to a jury is an art form. An experienced accident lawyer knows how to craft arguments and how to tell the jury your story in a way that conforms to the procedural rules of court and makes it relatable to the members of the jury. How each detail is presented to the court is important and can help you tell a more compelling story and get the outcome that you want.
Injury cases require an experienced advocate. It can be tricky for an accident victim representing themselves to know what to show to a fact finder to prove their case. An experienced injury lawyer will know what research to do on your claim. Your attorney will research the insurance policies to determine how much money is on the table. An experienced personal injury attorney will cross every “T” and dot every “I” to ensure that the job is done right for you. Under the leadership of Shane Gosdis, you will have no doubt that you are being cared for at the utmost level. Shane is Ivy-League educated and has years of excellent representation of accident victims across Utah.
WHAT TYPES OF DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE IN A DOG BITE CASE?
All personal injury cases are unique, so there is no way to accurately predict what damages you may receive after a case is settled. However, there are some general kinds of damages that a person may anticipate after filing a personal injury case. Damages in a personal injury case are usually divided into two categories, either general damages or special damages.
Special damages include damages that can be measured. These damage awards are paid out to make an injured party whole after an accident. General damages include the damages that are not easily quantifiable, like intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Examples of damages available in personal injury cases include some of the following. It’s not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most common categories of harm.
Economic damages can be measured since they are monetary losses. For example:
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
These types of damage are not always quantifiable and are often subjective. They can include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium – A claim for loss of consortium means that, because of the injury of a family member (usually a spouse), the spouse cannot have the same relationship with the claimant that they had before the injury.
- Emotional trauma
Punitive damages are imposed as punishment to the defendant. A court may award punitive damages to deter a defendant from acting in a similar manner in the future. It is plausible that a nominal punitive damage award can be given to an injured person in a dog bite case, but it is not guaranteed. Punitive damages can be recovered along with economic and non-economic damages.
Treble damages are available under limited circumstances. Treble damages are a type of punitive damages. The goal is to deter others from committing the same offense. Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant requested treble damages in their complaint to receive damages in personal injury cases.
HOW DOES A COURT CALCULATE PAIN AND SUFFERING?
An award for pain and suffering is given to an accident victim if part of their damages includes emotional trauma that the victim would not have suffered but for the actions of the defendant. The pain and suffering multiplier is one tool to calculate pain and suffering damages. It determines how much your pain and suffering are worth monetarily. To find the amount of pain and suffering, multiply all actual damages by 1.5 to 10 or more depending on the case.
Considerations for a pain and suffering award include whether the other driver had any fault in causing your injuries, whether you have a permanent disability, and whether you have any clear evidence of pain and suffering.
A pain and suffering claim requires medical records as a minimum. You may need to provide witness testimony, police reports, medical treatment bills, photos, and therapist notes to establish a more severe injury to the insurance company or a jury. Your lawyer can help you build your case to prove your amount of pain and suffering.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SUE FOR A DOG BITE?
Under Utah law, a person who is bit by a dog has four years to sue the owner or handler for damages. The time limit that the law sets for filing a lawsuit is called a statute of limitations. The first step for a successful case is filing or settling within the appropriate statute of limitations. Different types of cases have different statutes of limitations. It is important to know how long you have to sue or settle. If you fail to sue or settle within the time allotted by law, you will no longer recover compensation for your injuries.
The purpose of having a statute of limitations is to keep the court’s docket clear and free from cases that are being drawn out. Having a deadline also helps keep evidence safe. Evidence in personal injury cases is not always stable and often deteriorates over time.
Misunderstanding important rules like the statute of limitations hinders many accident victims from recovering fully on their accident claims. Yet another reason for you to get the best attorney on your side after an accident. Gosdis Law is full of attorney advocates that only focus on injury cases.
TYPICAL INJURIES THAT OCCUR IN DOG BITE CASES
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict what injuries you may face after an accident. Injuries caused by dog bites may take many different forms. They can range from minor and temporary to severe and permanent. The amount of a settlement can depend on the severity of the injuries that you face after being bitten.
What follows are examples of injuries that can occur in dog bite accidents.
SOFT TISSUE INJURIES
Soft tissue injuries include any injuries to the soft tissues of the body. These types of injuries typically do not require invasive medical treatment. You may need long-term medical care if you have a soft tissue injury, like physical therapy or medication, but it is unlikely that you will require major medical treatment like surgery to cure your injury. Examples of soft tissue injuries include:
- Bruises and lacerations
Hard injuries are major medical emergencies. Hard injuries seem apparent. Examples of hard injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Head trauma and concussions
Arguments over the extent and cause of hard injuries are more likely to be heard by a court than soft injuries to make it to court. Hard injuries may have a significant impact on a victim’s life and have a substantial dollar attached to the treatment required to recover from the accident fully.
Dog bites may cause soft or hard injuries. There is no way to know at the time of the accident if a seemingly benign injury will cause a long-term issue in the future. Even if you do not think that your injury is worth pursuing, if you are bitten by a dog, you should speak to an attorney immediately.
Even if injuries are apparent, getting the money that you need from insurance companies can be an uphill battle. You need an experienced advocate in your corner to ensure that you get the best outcome for your case. An experienced injury attorney can help you present your case to an insurance company or court in a way that showcases your damages and maximizes your results.
The attorneys at Gosdis Law have years and years of experience helping people get the money they need to recover in peace.
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE FAULT?
Comparative fault is an area of law that many states have. Comparative fault applies in injury cases. Comparative fault is a partial defense to negligence. Under comparative fault statutes, a court may assign a percentage of fault to each party in a civil action if the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for the accident.
If the court finds that a plaintiff is partially at fault for an accident, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. For example, a jury may find that a defendant is 70 percent at fault and the plaintiff is 30 percent at fault. The recovery is $100,000. Because the plaintiff was found to be 30 percent at fault, their recovery is reduced by 30 percent. In this example, the plaintiff will only recover $70,000 even if their damages equaled $100,000.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A DOG BITE?
Your next steps after a dog bite depend on whether you were bitten or if your dog bit another person. If you were bitten by a dog, you should get medical attention. Even if you think that your injuries are minor, you should always have your injuries evaluated by a medical professional. If the injury is severe enough, you may want to call an ambulance. Be sure always to keep the medical records and medical bills associated with your treatment. If you decide to pursue a civil case, your medical records and bills will serve as a major source of proof of your damages. As stated above, a plaintiff cannot win their negligence case if they cannot prove the last element of damages.
You will also likely need to make an accident report. If the police come to the scene, they will speak to everyone involved and, if available, any witnesses that are present on the scene. You will want to provide any details that you can to the police. The officer will complete an accident report. They will likely take some photos of the accident, and they will finish a narrative section of their accident report. Typically, the narrative section of the report is where the police officer will make their initial determination of liability. The police officer’s determination is not the final word on liability, however. The insurance company will investigate and make a final determination of fault.
The insurance company will investigate. During its investigation, insurance adjusters will reach out to you and ask you to give them a statement. It is not a wise idea for you to speak to the adjuster without the advice of an attorney. Insurance companies use statements from the parties to complete their investigations. It is possible that you will be locked into a story if you give the insurance company a statement. You may even admit to liability inadvertently.
Call Gosdis Law. If you are involved in a dog bite accident, call Gosdis Law as soon as possible. As an accident victim, you need the proper legal representation to get the money you need to recover. Gosdis Law is the number one personal injury firm in Utah. We are passionate about getting accident victims the money that they deserve. In fact, we are so passionate about justice that personal injury is all we do. We have spent years and years getting the experience that accident victims need to get back on their feet.
IS MY DOG BIT CLAIM WORTH PURSUING?
You may wonder if filing a lawsuit is worth the time and effort. It is true that a personal injury case is only worth pursuing if the facts of the case can be proven. It is important that you begin preserving evidence as soon as possible. To win a dog bite case, you need as many facts in your favor as possible. That is why you must seek treatment, take pictures of injuries and property damage, and avoid speaking to insurance companies before speaking to an attorney. If you desire justice, your claim is worth pursuing.
WE WILL FIGHT TO RECOVER THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR YOUR UTAH ACCIDENT
CONTACT GOSDIS LAW TODAY
If you have been injured in a dog bite case, call the attorneys at Gosdis Law today. We work hard for each of our clients so that they can get back to their lives as completely and quickly as possible. We only focus on personal injury law, so we know what moves to make to ensure that you get the recovery that you need. We loved working for the people of Utah, and we want to work for you, too. Under the leadership of Shane Gosdis, we at Gosdis Law have worked for thousands of clients and collected millions and millions of dollars in recovery. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our clients. Call us today or visit us online to schedule a free consultation.