Evaluating a dog bite injury can appear very subjective, where the appearance of the injury fails to reflect the true damage the bite caused. A doctor and a dog bite lawyer in Las Vegas use a standardized six level scale to communicate injury severity and eliminate subjective analysis.
The levels include:
Also known as the “pre-bite” stage, level one occurs when a dog takes an aggressive stance, but does not bite. Repeated complaints of dogs acting aggressively is a warning sign for dog owners.
The second level is a “near bite,” or a motion where the dog comes very close to biting the victim, but stops before puncturing the skin. At this stage the bite is still non-actionable in most circumstances, though the dog owner is approaching a potential lawsuit.
Dog bites at the third level may require medical attention and the assistance of a dog bite lawyer in Las Vegas. Level three bites can be serious, and must be reported to the authorities if the victim seeks medical attention. These bites are often severe enough to kill a child. The bites are divided into two categories in level three:
- Single, deep bite—The dog bites down hard enough to puncture the skin, and the depth of the bite is approximately the length of the dog’s tooth
- Multiple, shallow bites—Some dogs attack with quick, shallow bites that are less than half of the length of the tooth.
Once a dog is guilty of a level three bite, it no longer has protection under the “one bite rule.”
At level four, the dog may cause permanent damage to the victim, and necessitate emergency medical treatment. A bite is categorized at level four if:
- The bite is deep enough to cause bruising around the punctures, indicating that the dog clamped down after the initial bite.
- There are signs ripping or ragged edges, which shows the dog bit, then shook its head.
When there are several level four bites on the victim, the incident becomes a level five bite.
The dog bites hard enough to kill an adult, or rip a sizable piece of flesh off of the victim. Dogs who commit acts at this level are to be put down.
The standard dog bite levels enable doctors, patients, and the courts to communicate more effectively about the extent of a victim’s injuries.