Who’s Liable for Dog Bites in Arizona?
Millions of people in America are bitten by dogs every year for a variety of reasons, many of which are altogether unforeseen by victims. Even if you do your best to prevent or minimize dog bites, you might still end up injured and traumatized. In these stressful times, a victim’s first question may be whether they can hold the owner responsible for their pain and suffering—the answer varies, but if you’ve done nothing wrong, the owner of the dog will likely be held liable in Arizona.
The Owner’s Responsibilities
Pet owners are responsible for the actions of their animals and have a duty to protect others with reasonable precautions. Arizona isn’t a “one-bite” state, meaning that even if the dog has never bitten before and the owner didn’t think they were dangerous, they’ll still be liable on the animal’s first infraction.
According to Arizona dog bite laws, owners are responsible for dog bites if:
- The victim was on public property or lawfully on private property (such as when invited into someone’s home).
- The victim did not provoke the dog or otherwise force it to act in self-defense.
The owner might not be liable for a bite if their dog was stolen or was under someone else’s care at the time of the attack, as long as they took reasonable precautions to keep others safe.
Even if the dog is defending itself or its property lawfully, such as when someone trespasses, there are still certain cases where an owner could be considered negligent and partially responsible for the attack, such as if they were aware that their dog was dangerous, but failed to post visible warnings on their property.
What To Do After a Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you should always seek immediate medical treatment, especially as many dog bites occur around the face and neck. With proper treatment, you can avoid infection and further complications, as well as gain important medical records which will prove that you were injured.
Once your health is in order, you should start considering legal action, depending on the severity of the attack.
- Contact the police
- Exchange contact information with the owner and any witnesses
- Document your experience and injuries
- Consider filing a report with animal control
Under Arizona’s statute of limitations, you’ll only have a year from the date of the bite to file a claim for dog bites, so be sure to talk to an attorney as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure whether you want to seek compensation.
Talk to an Arizona Dog Bite Attorney
Proving fault in a dog bite case can be difficult due to many owner’s tendencies to claim that a victim provoked their dog. Our experienced attorneys at ELG ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS can help you decide whether you’d like to pursue compensation and give you peace of mind by handling the hard parts of the settlement process for you. If you’ve been hurt by a dog or negligent pet owner, contact us today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your case.