Arizona law (ARS 11-1025) imposes strict liability on dog owners when their dog attacks someone in public or lawfully on private property.
To hold a dog owner liable for a dog bite, the injured person must show that:
- the injury was caused by a dog bite, and
- the bite was suffered while the person was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
You do not need to prove that the owner knew, or should have known, that the dog was vicious or prone to attack. The owner remains liable regardless of knowledge.
To establish liability in court, you should gather evidence of the attack and discuss those items with your Phoenix Dog Bite Lawyer.
This includes eye witness accounts, a police report, and documentation of injury in the form of a medical evaluation and photos of the damage. Collect anything that proves the identity of the dog that attacked you and its owner.
The court will require proof that the owner you file a claim against owns the dog that attacked you.
*Important Note: You can not recover if attacked while illegally trespassing on the property of another.
Table of Contents
- Arizona Dog Bite Lawsuits Statute of Limitations
- When is the Dog Owner Not Liable for Damages?
- The Cost of a Dog Bite
- What Does Compensation Cover?
- What Damages Can a Dog Attack Cause?
- Recovering from a Dog Attack
- When to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer
Arizona Dog Bite Lawsuits Statute of Limitations
In Arizona, dog bite injury cases must be filed within two years of the date of the bite. The court will almost certainly throw the case out without hearing it if the case isn’t filed before the two-year deadline. Therefore, it’s important to speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer immediately to discuss your options.
Other Types of Dog-Related Injuries
ARS 11-1025 does not apply to other kinds of injuries caused by dogs, only dog bites. To bring a case against a dog owner for another type of dog-caused injury, the injured person will need to show that the owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from causing the injury.
For example, if you are at a park and a dog runs into you and knocks you down, you will need to show that the owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from running into you.
When is the Dog Owner Not Liable for Damages?
Although Arizona uses “strict liability” in most dog bite cases, there are some exceptions where a dog owner may not be at fault for a dog bite injury.
If it can be proven that the victim intentionally provoked the dog, then the dog owner has a defense to your lawsuit.
Under A.R.S. § 11-1027, a dog owner may avoid liability in a dog bite claim if a reasonable person would believe the victim’s actions unquestionably provoked the dog to attack and that the animal would not have bitten the person otherwise.
Even if the dog is under the control of someone other than the owner at the time of the incident, both the dog’s caretaker and the owner can be held jointly liable for the victim’s injury.
The Cost of a Dog Bite
Dog attacks can quickly cost victims a lot of money.
The treatment for injuries can cost thousands of dollars alone and far more if the attack necessitates a long hospital stay. On top of this, the injuries may keep victims from working, resulting in lost wages and no income while the medical bills stack up.
Filing a lawsuit against the dog owner helps you recover these expenses.
While money cannot fully heal the holes in your life following an attack, it can be used to compensate you for what happened and to hold the owner responsible.
What Does Compensation Cover?
Medical bills and expenses can add up quickly due to the severity of dog bite accidents. A dog bite accident claim can provide the victim with compensation, including:
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of wages due to missing work
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling, therapy, or surgery, if needed
- Miscellaneous costs of care
Generally, these costs will be paid by the dog owner’s insurance policy. Insurance policies that cover dog bites typically include renter’s insurance, landlord insurance, homeowner insurance, or business insurance if the attack occurred at a place of business. For victims, it’s important to discuss your case with an injury attorney before making arrangements or settlements with the homeowner’s insurance company.
Without speaking to an attorney, you’ll have no way of getting an accurate estimate of compensation, and therefore no way to determine if an insurance company’s settlement is fair and accurate.
What Damages Can a Dog Attack Cause?
Though we invite them into our home, dogs are still animals. They possess sharp teeth and claws designed for hunting. If a large or aggressive dog attacks, it can easily result in significant damage.
Some types of damages suffered by dog attack victims:
- Deep cuts and tears
- Damage to muscles
- Broken bones
- Injury to the neck and spinal cord
- Blood loss
Many victims also suffer from emotional distress and trauma after an attack, making the damage last far after the physical wounds have healed. Though it will not ever fully make everything right, money can be recovered for both the physical wounds and the emotional scars that remain with the victim.
Recovering from a Dog Attack
As soon as possible after an attack, you should seek medical attention. Damage may be partially internal and hard to detect without the care of a doctor.
In addition to getting the treatment you need, seeing a doctor for a full examination so that you can gather all the evidence you need to hold the owner of the dog responsible for the damage you suffered.
If you have been transferred to a hospital for emergency care, make sure you obtain a medical report and the doctors’ names who treated you. The evaluation at the hospital may be the best source of information for the injuries you need compensation for.
When to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite attacks can permanently change lives in the blink of an eye.
Being bitten by a dog can happen anywhere: while walking in the neighborhood, shopping in public, or visiting the house of a friend.
While most owners cannot see their beloved pet attacking, the reality is that dog attacks happen and can result in horrible injuries. No matter the companion, dogs sometimes act like the instinctual animals they are and can injure adults and children.
When this happens, the dog bite victim of the attack can be saddled with physical and emotional injuries and the debt that goes with them.
Dog attacks often result from the careless behavior of an owner that does not do enough to guard against tragedy. Dog bites happen, and the victim does not deserve to suffer more than they already have.
The highly trained personal injury lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law team offer professional legal services for those injured in a dog attack.
If you are a victim, call us today at (602) 562-9682 or fill out our online Free Consultation form below, and you will be contacted by our experienced team.
You deserve to recover from the responsible parties for your injury and suffering.
Why Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer is the Smart Choice
Litigation can be a difficult process where the dog owner tries to get out of liability. Undergoing this process without adequate preparation will only cause more pain. But with the right attorneys at the helm, you can be properly compensated and represented in your case.
The team of trained dog bite lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon knows that dog bites can be devastating, leaving physical and emotional injuries that take time to heal.
You do not need more pain from debt while you do so. Let Hirsch & Lyon help hold the dog owner that attacked you accountable and get you the compensation that you need to effectively heal.
It takes about 30 minutes, and we will go over your case from top to bottom.