Personal Injury Law
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What do you mean you pleaded "not guilty"? Are you being criminally prosecuted for the dog biting someone?
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yes when the people decided to pursue compensation they had an animal control officer visit me a few days later who issued me a class A misdemeanor citation with a court date attached. court was today. the city offered me a deal for a guilty plea. $600.00 and case closed but I have a misdemeanor on my record. or not guilty and a court date later. I pleaded not guilty and now have a date set for july
my paperwork doesnt show any king of criminal code....but I found this from a local attorneys page:
Every person that owns or keeps a dog is liable for damages caused by the dog. The plaintiff is not required to prove that the dog was vicious or mischievous or that the owner or keeper knew of its propensities. The amount of liability is determined by comparative fault. Therefore, any fault on the part of the injured person may reduce the amount of damages awarded.
So according to comparative fault if I can show she was negligent or provoked the dog in any way then she could bear some of the fault and some of the cost. this is what I am trying to do. I feel bad and dont mind helping them with doctor bills but $600 for an emergency room visit during doctor hours when the skin wasnt broken seems a bit much to me. also I watched her provoke and be negligent to two other dogs the same as mine while we waited for an ambulance to arrive. She was lucky she wasnt bit again by another dog while we waited there.
im trying to figure out what the best way of showing comparative fault in this situation
(1) Every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed by the dog, and it is not necessary in the action brought therefor to allege or prove that the dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper of the dog knew that it was vicious or mischievous .
(2) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), neither the state nor any county, city, or town in the state nor any peace officer employed by any of them shall be liable in damages for injury committed by a dog , if:
(a) the dog has been trained to assist in law enforcement ; and
(b) the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the public order.
This means there is no comparative fault analysis normally, although the law does permit an injured party to sue under a negligence theory of law. If that is what the plaintiff here has alleged--negligence rather than strict liability, then their actions could be taken into account in determining or apportioning liability.
If the victim here did hit your dog, that would typically constitute evidence which would support an argument that they acted negligently and some fault should be apportioned to them.
Here is a link to the strict liability statute, which would normally be cited by a plaintiff in a civil case though, and it does not provide for any comparative negligence analysis:
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I didn't know any of this before hand going in to court today and thought I might have a good case. I plead not guilty and rejected the offer from the city for $600. can I still get in contact with prosecution and take the offer or do I have to go to court in a month now? If I lose, which it sounds like I will in utah, I will end up paying court fees and attorney fees and possibly more of a fine. I would rather not deal with any of it and pay the $600 knowing what I know now. Is this possible to change my plea to guilty now?
Hello again, Mike.Yes, it should be possible if you contact the prosecutor and tell them you wish to accept the plea deal and plead guilty. If you cannot get in touch with the prosecutor before the hearing date, then you could also appear for the hearing and inform the prosecutor then that you wish to change your plea and accept the deal, but it is preferable to contact them now if at all possible.
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