Arizona takes dog bites and attacks seriously. The state understands that victims of dog bites can suffer severe injuries. Some victims might even endure permanent scars—both emotional and physical.
Although the state accounts for the firm treatment of dog owners whose pets injure another person, these laws can prove challenging for a layperson to apply to their benefit when seeking compensation for their injuries.
If you suffered a dog bite in Arizona, an Arizona dog bite lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm could explain your right to recover damages. We do not shy away from tough cases, and we charge you legal fees only if and when we win you an insurance settlement or court award. Call us today for a free consultation at (800) 816-0755.
Arizona’s Dog Bite Laws
Arizona follows the doctrine of strict liability for damages a dog bite victim experiences. Arizona Revised Statutes §11-025 informs that the dog owner must pay for the victim’s damages stemming from a dog bite, provided that the attack occurred either in a public space or when the victim legally occupied the dog owner’s property.
Understanding Strict Liability
Strict liability does not suggest that a dog owner cannot present a defense for the dog’s behavior. If an individual were to provoke a dog, the dog owner could use this provocation as a defense against a claim for damages.
Rather, strict liability means that the dog bite victim need not prove that the dog bite resulted from the dog owner’s negligence or other behavior or lack of action to prevent the attack. According to the statute, the dog owner owns liability regardless of whether they knew about their pet’s vicious tendencies.
No “One Bite” Rule in Arizona
In a move that serves to greatly benefit dog bite victims, Arizona legislators do not honor the “one bite” rule that many states incorporate into their dog bite laws. This rule gives dog owners one chance to gain awareness of their pets’ propensity to bite. Only after the dog has already bitten an individual can a court hold the dog owner liable for damages from another attack.
Arizona does not give pet owners this one free bite. So long as the dog bite incident upholds other statute requirements, the dog owner is liable for damages resulting from any and all of their dogs’ attacks.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Arizona
In civil cases, states typically impose a deadline by which a victim of personal injury must file a lawsuit against an at-fault party who caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury. These deadlines—or statute of limitations—vary from state to state. Typically, personal injury victims of car accidents and other forms of negligence must file their lawsuits within two years of the dates of the incidents that caused their injuries.
However, because dog bites fall under that strict liability statute, they adhere to a different statute of limitations. As a dog bite victim, you must file any legal action within one year of the date of the attack.
Although most personal injury claims settle with insurance companies, rather than at trial, sometimes an insurer refuses to agree to a fair settlement. When this happens, our law firm will not back down. We will file a lawsuit on your behalf and argue your right to compensation to a jury. You must keep this possibility in mind as you consider taking any action to recover damages after your dog bite.
The longer you wait to begin the process, the less time you give your lawyer to take your case to trial within the statute of limitations window, should the situation require this measure.
Working with Insurance to Resolve Your Dog Bite Case
Many personal injury victims misunderstand the defendants’ source of funds when attempting to collect compensation for injuries. Typically, such compensation comes in the form of a settlement of a third-party claim against the defendant’s insurance policy. In the case of a car accident, for example, you might file a claim against another negligent driver’s liability policy.
When it comes to dog bite claims, an injured individual in Arizona will file a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance (or their renter’s insurance if the pet owner does not own a home).
The fact that your compensation comes from an insurance company means you have access to a deeper financial pool to cover your losses. However, it also means you will be dealing with an insurance adjuster—someone quite skilled at denying or undervaluing such claims.
An Arizona dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm knows and can anticipate the insurance adjuster’s strategies. They cannot intimate us, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Dog Bite Injuries
Heliyon, a scientific journal, published the results of a study about dog bites in its March 2019 issue. The researchers in this study concluded that dog bite injuries present a “significant public health issue.”
Dog bite injuries, according to the study, represent the 13th most prevalent injury leading to hospital emergency room visits, outranking gunshots, pedestrian accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
A dog bite can cause serious injuries that require intense medical treatments and, sometimes, multiple procedures.
With the following injuries, a dog bite victim must endure a hospital stay:
- Skin infections
- Open lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Bone fractures
Treatments for a dog bite might include
- Skin grafts
- Rabies vaccinations
- Reconstructive surgery
- Infection treatment
- Emotional therapy for trauma
- Nerve damage treatment
- Physical rehabilitation
- Defensive wound treatment
These medical procedures can prove costly. On top of these costs, dog bite victims can miss time at work, further impacting their financial well-being.
By filing a claim against the owner of the dog that bit you, you stand a chance of recovering these medical expenses and lost income, as well as other damages, like pain and suffering.
An Arizona Dog Bite Lawyer Can Fight for Your Rights
Do not suffer the consequences of your dog bite alone. Your physical and emotional injuries present enough of a burden. You should not have to also take on the financial weight of this attack.
Let a dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm help you. Call us today for a free consultation at (800) 816-0755.