Utah Dog Bite Laws [2024]

Posted on June 27, 2024

As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend. This may be true for the dog owner; however, for a stranger coming in contact with a dog, this may not be the case. Because dogs can be unpredictable, even a calm, kind and obedient dog could sudden show aggression toward another adult or child. Thus, dog owners should always be cautious about the possibility of a dog bite, as this could cause serious injuries to another and result in liabilities for the dog owner.

With regards to dog bites, the state of Utah follows the strict liability standards. This means that dog owners are held liable for any injures caused by the dog. Furthermore, this means that the dog owner does not need to be aware of their dog’ dangerous propensities. Thus, even if the dog has never been aggressive in the past or has ever bite any one. This also means that the injured party does not need to prove that the dog was vicious or that the owner had knowledge that their dog was vicious.Unlike typical personal injury claims, it is not necessary to prove negligence for a dog bite claim due to Utah’s strict liability dog bite law.

Attacks Involving More Than One Dog

If a victim suffered injuries in a dog attack that involved two or more dogs that have different owners, all owners can be held jointly liable. In these cases, the dog owners will be severally liable, which means that if one dog caused more harm and damages, than that owner will be held liable at a higher extent. For example, if it is deemed one dog caused 80% of the injuries than the owner will be responsible for 80% of the damages.

Common Injuries in Dog Bite Claims

Dogs have sharp, jagged teeth that function similarly to a serrated knife edge. A dog bite causes serious injuries that are prone to infection and scarring. Common injuries in dog bite claims include the following:

  • Lacerations
  • Bruises and abrasions
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries from falling during an attack
  • Traumatic limb loss

Dog bite injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including for infection prevention and to repair scarring and disfigurement. Less commonly, a dog bite victim must undergo rabies prevention treatment. The most serious dog bite injuries may cause the loss of fingers, toes, or extremities.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

A dog attack is terrifying and traumatic. After serious dog bite injuries, you could be too hurt to do anything other than wait for help; however, if you can use your cell phone or hand it to an uninjured person to use for you, as soon as the dog has been restrained, take the following actions to protect yourself physically and financially:

  • Call 911 to report the accident and request Animal Control
  • Take photos of the dog
  • Take photos of your injuries
  • Obtain the contact information of the dog’s owner if they are present
  • Go directly to the hospital for treatment

At the hospital, have a thorough medical evaluation and ask the doctor for a medical report with your treatment recommendations and your prognosis for recovery and scarring.

Can I Take Legal Action?

A dog bite can cause serious injuries, costing a victim not only medical bills but also damages when it comes to emotional and mental trauma. Thus, those that fall victim to a dog bite or attack should understand their rights. Filing a civil action against a dog owner not only places liability on the dog owner but also helps the injured victim recover compensation for the harms and damages suffered.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Claim?

Because dog bite injuries are often deep and jagged, the medical costs are expensive and treatment may be painful and lengthy. Common damages claimed in dog bite cases in Utah include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs for further care such as infection treatment or reconstructive surgery
  • Income loss
  • Future income loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • PTSD and emotional damages

Because of the severe emotional trauma associated with dog attacks, many dog bite victims require counseling to address anxiety, fear, depression, and sleep disturbances.

What If a Dog Bite Occurs on the Owner’s Property?

Utah’s dog bite laws include strict liability for dog attacks that occur on the dog owner’s private property as long as the victim was lawfully present on the property. An owner must reasonably expect people to enter their property and take proper precautions. Those legally on the property include delivery workers, post office employees, solicitors, neighbors, and anyone approaching the front door of a home. The only exceptions to strict liability laws for dog bites in Utah include:

  • Trespassers
  • Anyone bitten by a dog while in the process of committing a crime on private property
  • Victims of police dog bites
  • A person who intentionally harmed, provoked, or harassed a dog

It’s important to note that children are never considered trespassers on private property, even if they do not approach the front door. Strict liability laws for dog bites apply to all child victims.

Contact A Salt Lake City Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If you have been bitten from a dog bite due to the negligence of a dog owner, get in contact with the Salt Lake City dog bite attorney from Handy & Handy today. Contact or call us at (385) 404-6398.