What Are Arizona’s Dog Bite Laws?

Dogs are supposed to be everybody’s best friend. Unfortunately, there were times when dogs bite people, and this can lead to severe injuries for victims. If you or somebody you love has been bitten by a dog in Arizona, then you may be wondering whether or not you are entitled to any compensation according to Arizona’s dog bite laws. At Torgenson Law, our Arizona dog bite attorneys have a thorough understanding of both personal injury and dog bylaws in the state. We know that many dog bite victims are entitled to significant compensation for their claims, but these cases can be hard to prove.

Arizona’s strict liability dog bite statute

In some states around the country, dog bite victims are required to prove that a dog owner’s negligence somehow caused the bite injuries before they can recover compensation. However, Arizona operates under what is called a strict liability dog bite statute. This means that a victim does not have to prove that a dog’s owner was negligent in the case. In order for a dog owner to be held liable, only the following must be proven:

  • That the injury was caused by a dog bite
  • That the bite happened while the victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place

This Arizona dog bite statute applies even if the dog owner had no idea that the dog would bite somebody, and even if the dog has never bitten anybody before. This differs from many other states that have a “one bite rule” in which a dog owner will be held liable only after their dog has been somebody once before.

It is important to point out that this strict liability Arizona dog bite law applies only to bite injuries that the dog causes. No other injuries caused by a dog are covered by this statute. For example, if a dog charges at somebody, knocks them down, and that person breaks their hip, this does not qualify as an injury under the strict liability dog bite statute. In order to recover compensation for other types of injuries that a dog may cause, a person will need to show that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care when preventing their dog from causing the injury.

Dog bite laws in Arizona

When is the owner not liable?

There are various circumstances in which a dog owner will not be held liable for the injuries caused by a dog bite. This can include the following:

  • If a person was not lawfully in a private place when they were bidden (i.e. trespassing).
  • If a person was in a public place or lawfully in a public place but was provoking the dog.

In either of these circumstances, it is very likely that a dog owner will not be held liable for any injuries their dog causes.

Time limits in Arizona for filing a dog bite claim

If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, Arizona law requires that you take legal action against the dog’s owner within one year of the attack. This time limit, referred to as the statute of limitations, is it important to remember. If you fail to file your claim within this one-year window, then you will likely be unable to pursue any compensation from the at-fault party.

Do you have to report a dog bite in Arizona?

There may not be a legal requirement that you report a dog bite injury when it occurs, but it is strongly advisable that you contact the police or animal control as soon as an incident happens. This accomplishes two goals. One, it ensures that the authorities know about a potentially dangerous dog. Two, this could help prevent future dog bite incidents from the particular dog involved.

A police report will also be invaluable evidence when it comes to securing compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner.

Who pays for damages after a dog bite?

There are numerous expenses that a dog bite victim can occur in Arizona. This can include emergency medical expenses, surgical repair of injuries, lost wages due to missed work, necessary counseling, pain and suffering damages, general household out-of-pocket expenses, and more.

In general, the insurance carrier of the dog’s owner will cover these costs. This can include homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, landlord insurance, or business insurance. However, in the event a dog’s owner does not have insurance coverage available, then the owner will be held personally liable for any damages that resulted from a settlement or verdict in the case.

What to do if you were bitten in Arizona

The most important thing for you to do after a dog bite occurs is to seek medical attention immediately. This could include calling for emergency services to the location of the bite or getting to the closest emergency medical facility as quickly as possible. There are other steps you need to take soon after an incident occurs in order to help maximize your chances of securing compensation:

  • Use a phone or other type of camera to document everything with photos if you can.
  • Contact the police and local animal control agency to report the incident.
  • Make sure you get the contact information of the dog’s owner.
  • Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the dog bite.

Contact an attorney for a free consultation today

If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog in Arizona, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to conduct a full investigation into the case and handle all legal legwork involved. At Torgenson Law, we have a thorough understanding of the dog bite laws in Arizona, and we are ready to get to work on your behalf today. When you need an attorney for a dog bite injury, you can contact us online or by calling (602) 726-0747 for a free consultation.

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