In 2021, insurance companies paid $882 million as compensation for dog-related injury liability claims. This statistic goes to show that dog bites and attacks often result in serious injuries, and recovering from such ailments can be expensive.
While the thought of being attacked by a dog is unnerving, it is helpful to understand how the personal injury process works in these instances. Legislation varies from state to state, so this article will cover Arizona’s dog bite law, as well as provide information about what to do in such situations.
If you’ve experienced a dog bite yourself or would like to learn more about personal injury cases involving dog bites in Arizona, contact Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC for guidance about your potential claim.
In the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), section (§) 11-1025 discusses dog bites specifically. The statute states that if a dog bites an individual in a public location or an individual who is lawfully in or in a private location, the dog’s owner is liable for the damages the victim incurs from the incident. Furthermore, the owner is liable regardless of the dog’s history of violent or harmful behavior.
In other words, for a dog bite victim to prove liability, they must prove who is the “dog owner”, demonstrate that their injury was directly caused by the dog bite, and prove that the bite was suffered while they were in a public setting or legally on private property. Victims may also have to show that the dog was not provoked.
Another Arizona statute pertains to injuries that a dog “at large” can potentially cause. “At large” in this instance is defined as a canine that is not held inside an enclosure or controlled by a leash. A.R.S. §11-1020 discusses how the owner or person in charge of the animal is responsible for any injuries or damage the dog causes while at large. For example, if a dog at large runs into an individual and knocks them down causing a broken hip, or runs into the street and causes a car accident, the owner of the dog is responsible for all damages stemming from the dog’s behavior.
Dog bite liability laws are not uniform across the United States. In this instance, Arizona is a strict liability state, which means that dog owners are required to pay for all damages related to a dog bite even if the dog does not have a history of violence. The same is true if injuries are caused when the dog is at large. In both cases, the victim in a personal injury case needs to establish who the “owner” of the dog was at the time of the incident. A.R.S. § 11-1001(10) describes the “owner” as an individual who cares for the dog for more than six consecutive days.
Other states follow a “one-bite rule”, which means liability is determined by negligence. In these states, a dog owner only has to pay damages for dog bite injuries if a victim can prove that the dog had a history of biting or that the dog’s owner was aware of the dog’s aggressiveness.
In Arizona, dog bite victims generally have only one year from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit for damages under Arizona’s strict liability laws. However, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney without delay to determine the timeframe for your specific case, as some circumstances can alter such deadlines.
Suffering an attack by a dog can be scary and unnerving all at once. It may be difficult to think clearly at the time, however, building a strong personal injury case begins right after the accident. If you are able, there are some helpful steps one can take to calmly manage the situation and strengthen any future liability claims.
The amount of compensation you can receive from a potential dog bite lawsuit depends on the unique circumstances of your situation. The goal of your claim is to cover all expenses associated with the injuries you incurred from the bite. This means pursuing compensation for economic and non-economic damages by considering the following:
Personal injury claims exist to protect victims of accidents, including dog bite victims. However, the legal process and be confusing and difficult to navigate. Finding the representation that fits your needs reduces legal stress and allows dog bite victims to focus on healing.
Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC is a law firm dedicated to excellent legal counsel. Attorney Keith Hammond has the experience and reputation to make your personal injury claim as strong as possible. Schedule a consultation with Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC, today and get your case off the ground.