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If you were bitten by a dog in Arizona, you might have a chance to seek compensation for all your losses, including medical expenses and time off from work. You can talk to the Zinda Law Group to learn more about your legal options.
An Arizona dog bite lawyer can review your situation, answer your questions, and guide you through the process of resolving your claim. For example, we may focus on settling the case with insurance agents or helping you file a lawsuit.
You can schedule your first appointment for a free consultation at a time convenient for you by calling or filling out our online contact form.
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Why Hire an Arizona Dog Bite Lawyer?
Decency suggests that those who have been bitten by a dog deserve to be compensated for their injuries. However, the dog owner may resist covering your losses. That’s why injured victims need to call an Arizona dog bite attorney for assistance.
What Are Arizona’s 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 relevant 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 areas when the victim is there lawfully. An Arizona dog bite lawyer can help you in both instances.
When does Strict Liability Apply in Dog Bite Cases?
Imagine you are at a 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 dog’s owner is strictly liable, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
What does strict liability mean? Does it mean 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.
Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in Arizona?
In general, strict liability means that the defendant’s intent has no relation to the case’s outcome, nor does the defendant’s carelessness. Even if the defendant took precautions to prevent the injury, they are liable for your injury if their dog attacked you.
Therefore, you may have a chance to sue a dog owner after an animal attack in Arizona. You may also seek an insurance settlement. Review both options with an Arizona dog bite lawyer today.
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What Happens If a Dog Bites You in Arizona?
Some states distinguish cases in which a dog has a propensity to bite, sometimes called the “one-bite rule,” from instances in which the owner has no reason to think that the dog will attack.
In states with the one-bite rule, the owner is only held strictly liable if they knew or should have known about the dog’s propensity to bite. If the dog had no history of attacks, a victim would have to proceed under a theory of negligence.
Negligence claims require the victim to prove that the dog owner:
- owed them 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. Your dog bite attorney in Arizona understands well the importance of that distinction and what it means for your case.
What Are the Most Common Types of Dog Bite Lawsuits?
No two dog bite incidents are the same, but Arizona personal injury lawyers can generally group them into broad categories. These include:
- Aggressive incidents: attacks wherein the dog actively and violently attacks a bystander. For example, a dog who breaks off its leash and attacks a passerby who did not provoke the dog may have engaged in an aggressive incident.
- Non-aggressive incident: dogs, unlike humans, can’t always express their excitement safely. Large dogs, in particular, can unintentionally harm someone courtesy of their sheer mass. Dogs who injure another person without aggressive intent may prove guilty of a non-aggressive dog bite.
- Dog-on-dog aggression: dogs who are fighting with another dog may end up biting a human who happens to be standing nearby.
What Are the Common Causes of Aggressive Dog Bites?
A dog may bite a human as a result of several different situations.
- Territorialism: a dog may bite when it believes it is defending its territory. For example, a friend who your dog does not recognize entering your house may cause a dog to bite.
- Provocation: there are many situations that may provoke a dog to bite. For example, a cyclist pedaling past a home may cause a dog to chase and bite. Additionally, simply being near a dog may be enough to cause it to bite if it has not been properly socialized.
- Instincts: certain herding breeds, like border collies, may instinctively nip at children as it attempts to “herd” them
Are There Exceptions to Strict Liability?
Although strict liability covers a large umbrella of these cases, it does not allow a strict liability claim for every dog bite injury in Arizona. Instead, 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 Trespass Defense for Dog Bites in Arizona
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 did not have municipal, state, or federal duties on that property is not there lawfully and may be unable to recover for their injury.
The Provocation Defense for Arizona Dog Bites
If the dog owner can prove that you provoked the dog, then you might not be able to recover compensation 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. An Arizona dog bite lawyer can help you stand up to these defenses.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Dog Bite in Arizona?
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 comply 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.
Fortunately, you can start working on your claim today with a dog bite lawyer in Arizona.
How do You Get Compensation for an Arizona Dog Bite?
You’ll likely have to file a legal claim to secure compensation after a dog attack in Arizona. A lawyer can help you submit the appropriate paperwork, and our team can support you in and out of court, working to show that you qualify for damages.
However, you can expect the dog owner to try to refuse your claim in an attempt to avoid financial expenses.
Lawyers in Arizona litigate dog bite injuries for that very reason. However, the circumstances under which someone is bitten vary significantly from case to case; therefore, it is imperative that the victim speaks with an Arizona dog bite lawyer to understand the chances of the victim’s success in court.
How Much Compensation do You Get After an Arizona Dog Bite?
A dog bite attorney in Arizona can give you a rough idea of how much compensation you can expect 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 mostly physical. Psychological injuries fall in the category of “noneconomic damages,” and physical injuries that can be measured by the costs of medical treatments and the amount of missed wages from time off of work are “economic damages.”
Your Arizona 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 You 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 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 an Arizona dog bite attorney 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.
What Services does a Dog Bite Lawyer Offer in Arizona?
If a stranger’s dog attacked you, you must know who the owner is and how you can contact them so that you know against whom to file your claim. Then, you must be certain of where to file.
Experienced dog bite lawyers in Arizona know how to investigate these matters and can help ensure you file your complaint in the correct venue.
An Arizona dog bite lawyer can also help you negotiate with the defendant for 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 you want.
Get in Contact with an Arizona Dog Bite Attorney Now
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 by calling to schedule your free consultation.
Our attorneys consult with you so that they can understand how you received your injury and your compensation goals. From there, our lawyers in Arizona can answer your questions and guide you through the legal processes you must go through to recover damages for your injuries.
We have a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, which means that you are only expected to pay us if we win your case for you. Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA