Arizona Dog Bite Injury Laws
Dog attacks can be abrupt, unexpected and violent. They can cause permanent and catastrophic injuries in a matter of seconds. If a dog bites you in Arizona, the pet’s owner may be responsible for paying for your related bills. Arizona’s dog bite injury laws often hold pet owners liable for dog attacks. If you or a loved one has a puncture wound, laceration, infection, scar, disfigurement or another injury from a dog attack, review your legal rights with assistance from an attorney.
Arizona Is a Strict Liability Dog Bite State
How a state handles a dog bite injury claim depends on its laws and dog bite statutes. Most states with dog bite statutes fall under one of two schools of thought: strict liability or a one-bite rule. In a strict liability state, an owner will be liable for the injuries his or her pet causes regardless of any previous knowledge of the pet’s vicious propensities. In a one-bite state, the owner may only be liable if he or she reasonably should have known about the pet’s violent tendencies but did nothing to prevent a foreseeable attack.
Under , Arizona is a strict liability dog bite state. If someone’s dog attacks, bites or injures another person in Arizona, the pet owner will be strictly liable for the victim’s damages, in most cases. Strict liability refers to a defendant’s legal responsibility for an accident or injury even without being negligent. In Arizona, a dog owner may have to pay for a victim’s damages if the owner had no knowledge of the dog’s prior viciousness.
Whether the pet owner involved in your incident had witnessed his or her dog bite someone in the past or not, the owner could be liable for your damages. You will not have to prove the pet owner’s negligence in failing to prevent the attack, in most situations. You may, however, have to combat defenses such as comparative fault. If you provoked the dog bite, you may not be eligible for compensation. In complicated dog bite injury claims, such as those involving catastrophic injuries, you may need a lawyer to help you prove pet owner liability.
Exceptions to the Rule
Aside from the comparative negligence defense, a pet owner may also be able to refute liability for a dog attack if the situation qualifies as an exception to the rule. Statute 11-1025 states that the strict liability rule does not allow a victim to bring a claim to damages against a government agency for a bite from a military or police K9 engaged in work-related tasks at the time of the attack. Dogs assisting the government in holding suspects, investigating crimes or executing warrants will also not expose owners to liability for dog bite injuries.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury
If a dog bites you in Arizona, protect your legal rights from the start. Begin by documenting the incident. Do not let the pet owner leave the scene. Write down his or her name, address and phone number. Write down the names and numbers of anyone who witnessed the dog attack as well. Call the police after a severe attack. Take photographs of the dog, your injuries and the scene of the bite injury. Go to a hospital immediately for medical care, including treatments to help prevent infections.
In most cases, the dog owner will be strictly liable for your medical bills and other damages in Arizona. Unless the pet owner tries to allege that you provoked the attack, his or her homeowners insurance company should provide a settlement to pay your bills. Offer the evidence and documentation you gathered that supports the liability of the pet owner and the extent of your injuries. Then, hire a Phoenix dog bite injury lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement with the pet owner’s insurance company on your behalf, if necessary.