If My Dog Bites an Intruder, Am I Liable?

if my dog bites an intruder am i liable

Ever wondered what would happen if your dog bites an intruder?

It’s a valid concern for many pet owners who claim to see their furry friends as both companions and protectors. But the question of liability isn’t always straightforward. Understanding the ‘legal definition’ of terms like ‘intruder’ and ‘trespasser’ is crucial in the context of dog bite liability.

Let’s break it down: If your dog bites someone who’s trespassing or breaking into your home, are you the one on the hook legally?

Let’s delve into this situation’s legal and ethical aspects to understand if you could be held liable if your dog attacked someone on your private property here.

Understanding Nevada’s Dog Bite Statute

In Nevada, the dog bite statute (NRS 202.500) clearly outlines that if your dog bites someone, you’re responsible for any resulting damages. However, there are specific conditions attached to this liability.

The statute states that the dog owner is liable if the person who was bitten by dangerous dog was either in a public place or lawfully in a private place. This means that if someone is lawfully on your property, such as a guest or even a trespasser in certain circumstances, and your dog bites them, you could be held legally responsible for the injuries or damages caused by the bite.

Therefore, you must understand that the legality of the person’s presence on your property plays a significant role here. Even if the individual was engaged in illegal activity, such as trespassing, if they had a legal right to be there at the time of the incident, you could still be liable for your dog’s actions.

Therefore, as a dog owner in Nevada, you must understand your responsibilities under the state’s dog bite statute and seek immediate legal help if a problem arises.

Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

If your dog bites someone, you likely have questions about the types of injuries that can result and how serious they may be. Dog bites often lead to wounds such as punctures, tears, and lacerations. The location and depth of these injuries can vary widely depending on the dog’s size and the nature of the encounter.

Some key points about typical dog bite injuries:

  • Facial bites carry a high risk of cosmetic damage, as the skin and tissues of the face, ears, and eyelids are delicate. Nerve damage is also possible from bites near the eyes or mouth.

  • Hand and finger bites frequently result in punctures or missing flesh. Depending on the severity, they can potentially require surgery and skin grafts. Such injuries make everyday tasks difficult during recovery.

  • Bites on extremities like legs and arms commonly break the skin, sometimes down to muscle layers. Bone fractures or tendon tears are risks if the bite force is strong enough. Deep punctures often become infected and can land bite victims in the hospital.

  • Small children are vulnerable to bites that cause blood loss or damage to internal organs if the neck, chest, or abdomen are involved. Bites near major arteries also carry life-threatening bleeding risks.

While in most cases, dog bite cases do not result in permanent harm, the potential exists for serious long-term issues like nerve pain, joint stiffness, and disfigurement, depending on the location and severity of the injury.

Determining Fault in Dog Bite Incidents

Understanding how fault is determined if your dog bites someone can help you assess your potential liability for resulting injuries. Several factors are considered:

Your Dog’s Behavior

  • Was this a provoked or unprovoked attack? You may have a stronger defense if the bite happened after someone intentionally tormented or injured your dog.

  • Did you know your dog had a history of aggressive behavior? Previous bites, snaps, or growls could show the dog’s dangerous propensities were known to you.

Location of the Incident

  • Did the bite occur on your property? You likely have more protection if the incident took place in your home or yard where your dog lives.

  • Was the injured party trespassing at the time? Someone unlawfully entering your fenced backyard or home gives you a stronger case than if the bite occurred in a public place.

Actions of the Injured Party

  • Did they provoke or threaten your dog before the bite? Teasing, hitting, or cornering a dog may influence whether you are partially or fully at fault.

  • Were they aware of your dog’s presence and disposition before approaching? Small children need closer supervision, but responsibility is shared if an adult knowingly interacts with an unfamiliar dog.

By understanding these common factors in determining liability, you can better assess your responsibilities and potential defenses if the unfortunate circumstance of your dog biting someone arises. Consulting with a personal injury attorney is always recommended.

Negligence in a Dog Bite Lawsuit

In some cases, a dog owner’s negligence may also lead to liability for a dog attack.

Negligence occurs when you fail to take reasonable care in controlling your dog, resulting in injury to another person.

Examples of negligence in dog bite cases include:

  • Failing to properly restrain a dog known to be aggressive.

  • Allowing a dog to roam off-leash in a public area.

  • Ignoring signs of aggression or dangerous behavior in a dog.

To establish liability based on negligence, the injured person must prove that a dog owner’s actions (or lack thereof) fell below the standard of care expected of dog owners in similar circumstances.

Why You Need an Attorney for Dog Bite Cases

If your dog bites someone, the complexity of relevant laws makes an attorney’s guidance invaluable. Not seeking legal counsel could mean misunderstanding your rights and risks.

Navigating Insurance Issues

Your homeowners or renters insurance policy may provide coverage, but only an attorney can advise you on what is covered, limitations, and proper claims procedures.

Medical bills for the victim or the injured party could exceed your policy maximums, exposing you to out-of-pocket costs. Let an attorney fight to contain damages within insurance.

Establishing a Proper Defense

Dog bite laws involve nuanced issues like property owners’ rights, past behavior history, and duty of care assessments—they are too intricate for non-experts.

An attorney knows how to build the strongest defense based on each animal bite case’s unique details and can file appropriate motions to restrict liability.

Settling Claims Appropriately

Insurers may push for quick settlements that inadequately address risks to you. Lawyers ensure any resolution protects future legal rights.

Let experienced counsel negotiate on your behalf to avoid admissions of responsibility that could undermine court defenses later.

While dog bites can feel like a stressful personal matter, high liability is at stake, requiring a professional on your side. Work with dog bite attorneys to maximize protections as events unfold.

if my dog bites an intruder am i liable

If your dog bites an intruder in Nevada, you may be liable for any damages that result from the bite, depending on the circumstances of the incident. Understanding Nevada’s dog bite statutes and seeking legal advice if needed can help you navigate this complex legal issue and protect yourself and your dog from liability.

If you’ve been injured in a dog bite incident, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Bourassa Law Group today for experienced legal representation. Our team will fight for your rights and work to maximize your compensation.

Schedule a free consultation now to discuss your case and learn how we can help you navigate the legal process. Your path to justice starts here.


What happens if my dog bites someone to protect me?

If your dog bites someone while protecting you, you may still be liable under most states’ strict liability laws. However, some states consider the circumstances, such as the dog acting in defense, which could impact liability.

What happens if a dog attacks an intruder?

In Nevada, if a dog attacks an intruder, the owner may not be liable due to laws protecting property and self-defense. However, liability can vary, so you should consider consulting a legal professional to understand the laws in your area.

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