Who is Liable For Wild Animal Attacks?
It’s been a rough year for wildlife due to our summer of historic wildfires in Northern Nevada. And the ones that have been displaced often find themselves at odds with the humans who they are now forced to cohabitate with.
This is especially true for the black bear population that is preparing for hibernation and looking for food. With close encounters between people and wildlife on the rise in Nevada, who is liable for any wild animal attacks on humans?
Wild Animal Attacks on Private Property
It’s difficult to place liability on a private property owner after an attack by a wild animal. Animals that are not held in captivity, fall under the concept of animals ferae naturae, or “wild-natured.” Under this common law, a property owner cannot be held liable for a wild animal attack on their property unless the owner was found negligent in some way.
If a wild animal happens to be on private property at the time of the attack, it may be impossible to prove negligence against the property owner. The victim must prove that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the premises were safe for them, which is difficult to do in the case of a wild animal.
What About a “Wild” or Exotic Pet?
Nevada has very relaxed laws when it comes to the ownership of exotic pets. A concise list of lawful and illegal animals is set out by Nevada Administrative Code
Chapter 503. NAC 503.110 specifically lists animals that are illegal to own in Nevada with certain municipalities even more restrictive in what is allowed.
When a property owner is keeping a wild or exotic animal on their property, and it results in an attack, premises liability and criminal laws will come into play. The state of Nevada does not have concrete laws concerning liability when it comes to animal attacks, and liability varies by municipality. Consequently, it is important to get the skilled legal guidance of a Las Vegas personal injury attorney if you have been attacked by any animal on private property, whether domestic or exotic.
Wild Animal Attacks on Public Property
State and federal governments cannot typically be held liable for wild animal attacks. But if it is a matter of gross negligence, it may be worth discussing with your attorney. If you were attacked by a wild animal on public land, you should speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss whether you may have a valid personal injury claim.
What You Can Do
Black bear attacks on humans are extremely rare but can happen. The good news is that there are many ways that humans can discourage wild animals, particularly black bears, from coming onto their property. Most bears are opportunistic when searching for food.
Securing trash in bear-resistant cans, removing fruit from trees, and using electric fencing can help discourage them from coming onto private property. If you find that a wild animal is on your or a neighbor’s property, it should be reported to a state wildlife official.
If you have been attacked by a wild or domestic animal in Nevada, contact Zachary D. Clayton and his team of Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at LV Personal Injury Lawyer. (702) 800-4660