When seriously injured from a dog, you may be confused on what you can do for help. The Arizona Dog Bite Guide was created by Free Injury Advice to help Arizona residents who have been hurt by the negligence of another.
Dogs are man’s best friend… until they aren’t. Some dogs are either raised improperly or have aggressive tendencies. When these types of dogs are exposed to innocent people, there can be serious injuries. If you have been attacked by a dog, we are terribly sorry that you have to go through this. It is a horrible thing to suffer an injury from an animal. It may leave you feeling helpless and frustrated. Our Arizona dog bite lawyers want to defend your rights to justice. We are dedicated to defending the rights of our clients to full and fair compensation. We understand the ins and outs of a case like yours and have successfully handled similar claims before. If you are looking for a dependable and fierce lawyer, please call our Arizona dog bite lawyers as soon as possible to set up your free initial consultation. We would be happy to go over the details of your case and provide invaluable, free injury advice. Call us right away.
Arizona Statute of Limitations
Every state in this country has a statute of limitations regarding injury cases. They are not all the same. Arizona has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury cases, including dog bite incidents. This two-year period is the time in which you are permitted to bring a claim in hopes of receiving compensation for your damages. If you were to attempt to bring your claim against the liable party after this two-year statute of limitations is up, you would be barred from receiving compensation and forever be void of justice. We don’t want this to happen to you. This is a simple mistake to avoid. Call our Arizona dog bite lawyers as soon as you can and we will help get you set up to get started.
A Statute in Arizona Regarding Dog Bite Claims
In Arizona, there is a law that specifically relates to dog bite cases. For you to be able to have a case with a liable dog owner you need to show the following:
- The injuries that you suffer were caused by the owner’s dog
- You were in a public place or legally in a private place when you were harmed by the dog
This statue is specific to Arizona and applies only to cases involving dog bites and not to other injuries that might involve a dog. For example, if a dog simply knocked you over and you broke your arm, it wouldn’t apply.
If you are in a circumstance where you were harmed because of a dog interaction, you won’t have to abide by the statute but you will need to do a few things. You need to show that the owner of the dog did not take measures to protect others from being harmed by their animal. You need to show that the owner of the dog failed to provide you with a standard of care which would’ve prevented your accident.
Strict Liability for a Dog Bite in Arizona
The term “strict liability” is a legal term that applies to dog bites. Arizona is one of the states in the country that is a strict liability state. This basically means that the law of liability for a dog bite if someone’s dog were to attack would apply to them regardless of whether or not they were aware that their dog had aggressive tendencies. Some states allow for one “free” bite, meaning that the first bite their dog gives can’t be litigated against because they had no prior knowledge that their dog had vicious tendencies. Arizona does not follow those rules; instead, they follow the strict liability. The strict liability will always hold the dog owner liable for a bite, regardless if it was the first or the fifth bite the animal did. This is good news for you because your Arizona dog bite lawyers will not have to prove that the dog had vicious tendencies that the owner knew about. We will be able to proceed with our claim without this obstacle in our way.
How the Liable Party May Defend the Dog Bite Injury Claim
In the past, there have been dog owners in Arizona who put up a defense against your dog bite claim. The two most common reasons they will say that you do not have a claim is either (1) you provoked the animal or (2) you were trespassing. The law protects a dog owner if they can prove that the dog was provoked. Someone who would legally be provoking a dog would be if someone did something to incite violence from the dog — for example, hitting it with a stick over and over. They could legally argue that, had the dog not been hurt first by this person repeatedly hitting them with a stick, then they would’ve had no reason to bite in response. This might be particularly useful for dog owners if the claim is for an injured child. If, for example, a child was going up to the animal and smacking it in the face and no adult in the room stopped them and the child ended up getting bit, they could try and argue that the dog was provoked.
The law will also protect a dog owner if they can show that the injured person was trespassing on their property and the dog was acting in defense of the house and their owners. For you to have a claim in Arizona, you legally have to be invited onto someone’s private property or you had to have been on public property when the dog attack occurred. If you were cutting through someone’s backyard and their dog attacked you, you would not have a claim for a dog bite injury case. If you were walking in front of somebody’s house on the sidewalk and the dog broke free from the backyard to attack you, you would have a claim because the sidewalk is public property.
Our Arizona dog bite lawyers will go through the details of your case and let you know what your legal options are during your free, first consultation.
Tips for a Successful Claim
Although you may be feeling helpless, please know that there are things you can do to help your case be successful. After the incident, we want you to collect evidence, which would include photos of the dog, the property, your injuries, and possibly the dog owner. At the scene if you are able to call the authorities, we recommend that you do, so that they can come and make a report for you. Animal control may be able to come on the scene to make a thorough report as well.
If you are unable to collect the vaccination information from the animal to prove they have a rabies shot, we encourage you to head to the emergency room to start treatment for rabies as soon as possible. A lot of medical care professionals will automatically start rabies treatment on you if they cannot rule out a rabies vaccine. We hope that you get the medical attention that you require. We also hope that you take the time you need off of work or away from your responsibilities to recover from your injuries. If you are psychologically traumatized by the incident, we encourage you to seek therapy for this. Your compensation will cover all the ways you have lost money from this incident, as well as the pain and suffering that you have had to endure.
Frequently Asked Dog Bite Questions:
Does Insurance Usually Cover Dog Bites?
A common question if you’ve been a victim of a dog attack, a dog bite, or a loved one, is whether homeowner’s insurance covers that. Of course, on the flip side, if your dog attacks somebody else, then you want to know the answer to that, too. A call came in to one of our attorneys recently from a dog bite victim. What our attorney explained is that if the dog bite owner, the dog owner, owns a home, more likely than not, there isn’t going to be insurance coverage, but not necessarily. That’s a reason to call us so we can verify that because there are provisions now in most homeowner insurance policies that excludes certain breeds. If the insurance company says your breed of dog has no insurance coverage, then there may not be insurance coverage, unless you pay extra.
How Do I Choose an Attorney for a Dog Bite?
How Do I Know If I Have a Qualified Dog Bite Case?
The question often comes up. You’ve been attacked by a dog and been injured. How do you know if you have a qualified claim? That’s a very common question. A potential client called our office the other day and asked that question. Here’s what one of our attorneys responded. The first thing is what is the nature and the extent of the injury. If you have a small puncture wound and that’s it, you probably don’t need a dog bite injury law firm. Even though you may have a claim, you can probably settle that one by yourself. Still, call us and one of our attorneys will still give you guidance to this whole process, explain how to do that on your own. You can always call back for more help. We’ll offer it to you. If you have anything serious, like you’re now having problems using something in your hand or you’ve got a scar or significant injury on your leg or something like that, then you’ve got enough injury that that definitely qualifies. As the attorney explained, that’s the first thing that we look at.
The second thing, and it often is the problem, is insurance coverage. Now, why is that the case? As the attorney explained, now insurance companies are getting a little wiser and they’re not just saying, hey, you own a home so if you own a dog and they bite somebody, we’re going to cover it. They now have provisions there that say if you have a pitbull or some other breeds, we are not covering it, unless you pay extra for that. Sometimes it’s significant or sometimes they just say no, they won’t cover it if you have that breed anyway. They’ve never gone to the extreme of saying, hey, we’re not going to cover any dog because the dog lovers will probably kill the insurance companies. Anyway, that can be a problem meaning that there isn’t insurance coverage.
Another situation, very common, is that you have a renter who doesn’t have renter’s insurance. Let’s just say, it doesn’t even have to be a vicious dog. You never know. Anyway, if it’s a renter without renter’s insurance, then there’s a way you can file a claim against them in small claims court and stuff like that. If you call us, we’ll direct you, but it’s not going to be easy to collect compensation in that situation. Insurance coverage is usually the area that is the biggest issue.
There are sometimes where we had a situation where a homeowner’s association had allowed one of the people in one of the complexes to keep this dog that had already bitten a lot of other people and they hadn’t done anything about it. The other bites weren’t terrible but they were significant. Then they put somebody in the hospital. The dog owner wouldn’t give any insurance information if he had any, who knows. One of our litigation attorneys actually brought a claim against the homeowner’s association because they did have insurance. It was proven that other people had complained and they knew that this dog was likely to attack people. Anyway, there are other situations where there’s no obvious insurance and sometimes we can still get compensation for you.
That’s another reason that, even if you’ve been told there’s no insurance, call us anyway. It takes just a few minutes to talk to one of our attorneys. If we can find a way to get compensation for you, we’ll let you know, and if not, we’ll tell you that, too. Remember, the call is free. The information is free. Referrals to a plastic surgeon or whatever is free. Call us because, if you or a loved one have been a victim of a dog attack, we do care about you.
How Does a Beware of Dog Sign Affect My Claim?
Another common question that comes up for people who are the victims of a dog bite or dog attack is what difference does it make, if any, if the dog owner has in big poster letters beware of dog and has a big menacing looking face there. That question came up recently in a call to our office from a potential client. Here’s what our attorney said. In Arizona, if the claim is made within one year, it really doesn’t matter that much whether there are signs or flashing lights or whatever. If that dog is outside of the property, the owner is going to be responsible no matter what. If they’re inside the property, then it gets more complicated.
For instance, as the attorney explained, if you’re at the house visiting and their dog attacks, in Arizona, the dog owner is still responsible. They’re not going to be able to say, hey, I said beware of dog. That isn’t going to help them, as the attorney explained.
Then there are other situations where, let’s say, the dog is in the backyard and you have a 13-year-old kid go back there. Your dog is on a leash, or hopefully not chained. Then the 13-year-old kid just decides, hey, I’m going to get a rise out of this dog and starts throwing rocks at it and provoking the dog. That can be a situation where then if the dog takes a bite out of this kid’s leg, the dog owner isn’t necessarily automatically responsible. However, provoking the dog is probably one of the few ways that a dog owner might be able to have less responsibility, but generally in Arizona, as the attorney explained the other day, is that a dog owner is responsible for basically any damage or injury that a dog causes if the claim is brought within the first year.
If you have been attacked by a dog, bit by a dog, or a loved one, call us. The call is free. The information is free. We really do want to help our clients that have been injured, attacked, and bitten by dogs, especially if that is you.
How Long Is a Dog Bite Case Going to Take?
This question was asked recently in a call by a potential client who had suffered major attack and scarring from their forearm. What the attorney advised is that in Arizona, in general, you for sure want to resolve your claim within one year or less because that’s much more favorable from a legal perspective. It’s basically if the dog hurts anybody, as the attorney explained, there is something involved called strict liability. It means the owner is responsible. You may have heard in other states there is a “one free bite” rule. There are no free bites in Arizona, unless you wait beyond a year. If you wait beyond a year, then your claim can become more difficult, as the attorney explained.
That’s why it’s important that you call us right away. Even if the other person agrees to pay something, call us anyway because most of the time, 99% of the time, it doesn’t happen. If you wait more than a year, your claim becomes more difficult. Typically, you’ll run into situations where the dog’s owner doesn’t want to give you insurance information. Or, maybe they weren’t truthful with the insurance company. They didn’t tell them that they had a dog or that they lied about what kind of dog it is or all these other things that can come up.
What do you do if they’re your neighbor and you don’t want to have bad relations with the neighbor? That’s another reason to call us because we’ll talk to your neighbor. We’re not going to come in like bad, evil Darth Vaders. We want to resolve this. We usually never file a lawsuit. If we have the insurance information, we’ll just talk to your insurance company. That’s why you have insurance. Just do it low key. Most of the time that works. Now, if the dog owner is somebody three blocks over and not your neighbor and they won’t give us the insurance information, we’ll sue them. That’s even more of a reason to call us. We’re sensitive to your situation. Maybe the dog owner is a relative. We understand. We’ll just work with you and help you or your loved one in the best way.
Now, if the victim is a child, then as the attorney explained in this other situation, you can have more than a year to file a claim until they maybe get to be 18 or older. Again, all those things, that’s a reason to call our law firm. Talk to one of our attorneys. They’ll analyze the case specifically. The good news is most of the time, if there is insurance, then we’re able to resolve that claim without going to court, without filing a lawsuit. If your loved one is a child under the age of 18, there are special provisions for protecting the money that goes to that child and make sure that it’s available. There are also ways that it can be used for education and things like that. Again, call us. We’ll be happy to explain all those things to you.
As far as the total time involved, you want your loved one to get better, maybe do what’s called a scar revision, see if it improves them. Typically, the cases can be resolved in less than a year, and sometimes in just a few months, and occasionally a few weeks. Every situation is different. That’s a reason to call us. Remember, the call is free. If you’ve been suffered a dog attack or a loved one, the call is free. The information is free. It can make a huge difference to you or your loved one, especially for the psychological and emotional injuries if you call us. We’ll give you referrals for free, even if you haven’t decided that you want to hire our firm yet. Just remember that we are here for you.
How Much Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
Dog bite cases come in many different forms. How does that affect the value? This is one area that maybe if the equal rights amendment, if we had that, it would be the same for men and women, but insurance companies value the claims differently for men and women. Why? They think that if you’re a guy and you’ve got a scar like this, you can say, I’m a macho guy, but if you’re a woman and you carry a scar like that, every time you look in the mirror, you’re reminded about that dog attack. Others ask, how did that happen, whatever, and you can’t hide it with makeup, or whatever. You can’t wear a bathing suit without people going, my gosh, what happened to you?
Insurance companies value those claims higher, as one of our attorneys explained the other day on the phone when someone had suffered a dog attack, especially for little girls. If their faces are mauled, those are definitely going to result in higher settlements. Adjustors in that case are going to pay more money.
Anyway, the value of the claim depends normally on the age and gender of the victim and then the extent of the injuries and particularly scarring. If you want to know in your particular case, give us a call. You can send us photos on the phone, if it’s your loved one or whatever, and we can discuss, one of our attorneys can discuss that in more detail. Remember, the call to us is free. The information is free. It can actually make a big difference, especially if it’s your loved one. You can get money set aside for college so they don’t have to worry about that in the future and maybe payments for the rest of their life. We can actually do that often. Call us. The call is free. The information is free. We really care about helping our clients who have been attacked by dogs and that may include you.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, what are your next steps? We had a call come into our office just recently asking that question because dog bites, dog attacks, are shockingly common in Arizona. The numbers are much higher than what you might guess. It really matters when it happens to you.
In that situation, call us, just like that person did who had some serious lacerations on their leg. The dog bit right through their trousers and it wasn’t a pretty sight. In a case like that, of course, the number one thing is the follow-up medical care. If it’s just happened to your loved one or something like that, it’s really important that you call us if you haven’t had a plastic surgeon do the reconstruction because there’s a lot they can do right immediately, I’m talking about within a few hours, that’s less possible in the future. Call us right away if you don’t have a plastic surgeon available to do that and we can make that referral.
If it’s beyond a few days, a few weeks, the other steps you need to do is you can try on your own to get the insurance information or if the animal control has furnished it. Many times, there are situations where the owner of the dog is not clear or the dog owner is refusing to give insurance information. You need to call us right away. Frankly, you need to call us no matter what the situation is to at least get free information and free help and free referrals. Then basically, we wait at least six months and then we see if the scars can be revised or improved. Typically, they can, at least a little bit. Then at that point we have probably the maximum value of the case and we can send the demands to the insurance company and usually settle the case pretty quickly. Remember, we can set aside money for children for even college education. That’s a big deal, so even though the dog attack was something that was very traumatic, still there is a way to benefit your child often in that situation.
Remember, another thing important is don’t overlook the psychological injuries. We can help you, make referrals to trauma counselors, trauma therapists, that can help your loved one get over that trauma that can keep you up at night, wake up your loved one with nightmares, they can re-experience this over and over again, and sometimes it never ends unless they get treatment. Again, call us is you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog attack. The call is free. The information is free. If you’ve been the victim of a dog attack or a loved one, we really do care about you.
Call Our Arizona Dog Bite Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a dog bite incident, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Arizona dog bite lawyers. We dedicate our practice to helping people like you get the justice that they deserve. If you are looking for strong and dependable lawyers to take on your case, hold the liable party accountable, and push against the insurance company to get the results you deserve, please call us today. We are more than happy to sit down with you during a free consultation and give you invaluable, free injury advice. Call today to set up a free consultation.
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