CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with an Arizona dog bite lawyer today
Americans generally love dogs, with 38.4% of households in the country owning at least one. Regardless of your personal feelings about dogs, the statistics show that more than 4.5 million dog bites occur across the United States each year, but only 800,000 of those bitten receive medical treatment. Decency suggests that those who have been bitten by a dog deserve to be compensated for their injuries. That’s why it’s important for injured victims to call Arizona dog bite lawyers.
Lawyers in Arizona litigate dog bite injuries for that very reason. The circumstances under which someone is bitten vary greatly from case to case; therefore, it is imperative that the victim speak with a dog bite lawyer to understand the chances of the victim’s success at court.
If you were bitten by a dog in Arizona, talk to the Zinda Law Group Arizona lawyers. You can schedule your first appointment for a free consultation at a time convenient for you by calling (800) 863-5312.
Arizona dog bite laws
While some states distinguish types of dog bite cases based on the seriousness of the injury or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite, Arizona is a strict liability state. The statute in Arizona says, “The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.”
This law splits these types of cases into two categories: Bites that occur in public places and bites that occur in private places when the victim is there lawfully. Imagine you are at city park, you ask to pet someone’s dog, and then the dog bites you. Now imagine your friend invites you to her home and warns you that her new dog might attack, and then you get bitten when you try to pet the dog. In each of these instances, the owner of the dog is strictly liable, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
What does strict liability mean? Does it mean that the owner can be held liable for any dog bite under any circumstances? Keep reading to learn the answers to these and other questions, and consider reaching out to a dog bite attorney in Arizona for questions specific to your case.
In general, strict liability means that the defendant’s intent has no relation to the outcome of the case, nor does the carelessness of the defendant. Even if the defendant took precautions to prevent the injury, he or she is liable for your injury if his or her dog attacked you.
Strict Liability vs. Negligence
Some states distinguish cases in which a dog has a propensity to bite, sometimes called the “one-bite rule,” from cases in which the owner does not have any reason to think that the dog will attack. In states with the one-bite rule, the owner is only held strictly liable if he or she knew or should have known about the dog’s propensity to bite. If the dog had no history of attacks, then a victim would have to proceed under a theory of negligence.
Negligence claims require the victim to prove that the dog owner:
- owed him or her a legal duty of care to prevent the attack;
- that the owner breached that duty;
- that the victim received an injury;
- and that the injury was caused by the owner’s breach of duty to prevent the attack.
However, Arizona’s dog bite law does not follow the one-bite rule and therefore does not require victims to take these steps. Lawyers in Arizona at Zinda Law Group understand well the importance of that distinction and what it means for your case.
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Statutory Defenses for the dog owner
Although strict liability covers a large umbrella of these cases, it does not allow a strict liability claim for every dog bite injury that occurs in Arizona. The Arizona statute briefly outlines the two defenses that the dog owner defendant can raise in response to the victim’s claim. The first is that the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, and the second is that the victim provoked the dog.
The statute defines a person who is lawfully in or on the private property of the owner of a dog as “an invitee or guest” or someone who is “in the performance of a duty imposed upon him by law,” such as a mail carrier or a state or city employee. Alternatively, someone who was not invited by the dog’s owner onto the private property and does not have municipal, state, or federal duties on that property is not there lawfully and may not be able to recover for his or her injury.
If the dog owner can prove that you provoked the dog, then you might not be able to recover for your injury. Whether provocation happened is determined in the statute by the “reasonable person” standard—that is, “whether a reasonable person would expect that the conduct or circumstances would be likely to provoke a dog.” For example, if you pulled hard on the dog’s tail, a court would probably call that provocation.
How long do I have to file my complaint?
We have talked about Arizona’s dog bite law in general, but there are other procedural elements that you cannot overlook when you file your claim. First and foremost, you must be in compliance with the statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time the plaintiff has to file a complaint after the injury-causing event occurs. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. That means you have two years from the day you were bitten to file your complaint.
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How much compensation can I receive with the help of a dog bite lawyer?
A dog bite lawyer can give you a rough idea about how much compensation you can expect to receive through legal action. This amount will vary based on the type of injuries you received. Your injury might be primarily psychological or mental, or it could be primarily physical.
Injuries that are psychological in nature fall in the category of what are called “noneconomic damages,” and physical injuries that can be measured by the costs of medical treatments and by amount of missed wages from time off of work are “economic damages.” Your dog bite lawyer can help you identify damages you may not have thought of on your own, including loss of future earning capacity and damages for the mental suffering you experience from remembering the attack.
Do I need to hire an Arizona dog bite lawyer?
Zinda Law Group lawyers in Arizona will not only understand the substantive law, but also the procedural court rules that you must follow in order for your claim to be successful. While a fair amount of research might be enough for a plaintiff to successfully get a settlement, the guidance of a dog bite lawyer can take on the labor of the legal process. Your attorney can also give you the confidence that you are not pursuing a claim for which you cannot recover and can help you with each stage of litigation.
If a stranger’s dog attacked you, you must know who the owner was and how you can contact him or her so that you know against whom to file your claim. Then, you must be certain of where to file. Experienced lawyers know how to investigate these matters and can help ensure you file your complaint in the correct venue.
A dog bite lawyer can also help you negotiate with the defendant to get a settlement. The defendant’s lawyer will be ready to pick apart the weak parts of your case. Our attorneys in Arizona can stand up for you and the compensation amount you deserve.
Enjoy your free consultation with an Arizona lawyer at the Zinda law group firm
No one should have to worry about a dog attacking unexpectedly, and that is why Arizona dog bite laws exist: to protect you and others from careless dog owners. Even if you are one of the many dog lovers in the United States, you deserve to have your injury taken seriously by the person who allowed it to happen. Our Zinda Law Group lawyers can listen to your account of the bite and make a decision about how you should proceed with your case; you can reach an Arizona dog bite attorney at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation.
Our attorneys consult with you so that they can understand not only the way you received your injury but also your goals for compensation. From there, our lawyers in Arizona can answer your questions and guide you through the legal processes that you must go through in order to recover for your injuries. We have a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, which means that you are not expected to pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.