Dog Bite Claims In Phoenix, Arizona

Dogs are cute and furry companions that serve an important societal role. However, just like human children, some people don’t always do the best job of parenting their dogs. Take a walk at the park on Indian School and you will see plenty of people failing to pick up after their unleashed dogs. That’s why some of us feel like we have to wait until we have a yard before we can have a dog, although that dream is becoming further and further out of reach with Arizona’s housing market. If you’ve been minding your business and had someone’s loose pit bull run up to you, you might have wondered what you would have to do if that dog decided to attack. I don’t want to demonize pit bulls but any dog that size or bigger I’m 100% certain can beat me in a fight. After making sure you are safe and seeking medical attention, one of the first things you should do after a dog bite is to contact an injury attorney. For your free consultation with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer, call 480-833-8000. 

Lawyers discussing Dog Bite Claims in a Chandler office, with a gavel on the table indicating legal proceedings

Arizona Revised Statutes Section 11-1025

Liability for dog bite injuries is defined in Arizona by A.R.S. § 11-1025. In Arizona, if a victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place, such as the dog owner’s home, and is attacked by a dog, the dog’s owner will be liable for the damages. This is true whether or not the owner was aware that the dog had a history of being vicious. For this statute, a dog’s breed is irrelevant in determining whether the dog has a propensity for viciousness. It also doesn’t apply to a police or military dog that bites an individual while apprehending a suspect, investigating a crime, executing a warrant, or defending a peace officer or another person. 

Compensable Injury Damages

The damages that will apply in each unique injury claim will be different, although there are a few types of damages that are consistent among cases. Most people are aware that medical bills can be pursued in a personal injury claim. In severe cases, the plaintiff may also need to pursue the costs of their future medical treatments stemming from the incident. Don’t finalize a claim without discussing your long-term treatment with your doctor, as an accurate estimate could require collaboration from multiple medical professionals. Another common damage to pursue in a personal injury claim is lost wages. This damage is simpler to calculate when the plaintiff is a salaried employee. It can require input from professionals if the plaintiff is a contractor, runs their own business, etc. As with medical expenses, lost wages can become more complicated compensable damage when the plaintiff’s injuries are severe enough to last beyond the timespan of an injury claim. 

One of the bigger damages in a dog bite claim may be pain and suffering. Pain and suffering a non-economic damages meant to compensate the plaintiff for the negative mental side effects from an accident like stress, trauma, humiliation, fear, etc. It is also meant to compensate the plaintiff for physical struggles from their injuries. Pain and suffering are usually calculated by adding up the other damages and multiplying them by a number between 1 and 5. It can also be calculated by assigning a daily value to the pain and suffering and multiplying that by the number of days that it is likely to continue. If you need help assessing your damages after a dog bite or any other type of accident in Phoenix, Arizona, call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation with our firm. 

Dog Bite Statute Of Limitations

Most lawsuits will have an applicable statute of limitations or a time limit in which the plaintiff must negotiate a settlement agreement with the defendant or file their lawsuit in court. Most personal injury claims in Arizona have a clear-cut statute of limitations of 2 years. If a plaintiff in Arizona is pursuing compensation from a dog owner based on negligence, the statute of limitations to file that claim in court will be 2 years. However, dog bite plaintiffs in Arizona can also sue based on strict liability. Strict liability can also be used if a dog is at large (unleashed) and causes an injury besides a bite. When a plaintiff brings a dog bite claim under strict liability in Arizona, the statute of limitations is reduced to 1 year from the date of the incident. If you’ve been injured due to a dog owner’s negligence in Phoenix, don’t wait until the statute of limitations has nearly passed before you start your claim. For questions about your potential claim, including which statute of limitations will apply, contact our firm for your free consultation at 480-833-8000

Historically Vicious Dogs

A dog owner is generally liable for their dog’s behavior whether or not they know of their dog’s history of behaving viciously. For example, if the dog owner adopted their dog from a rescue organization, that organization should disclose if the dog was vicious while in the rescue’s care, but sometimes this information can slip through the cracks to finalize an adoption. When a dog owner is aware that their dog has been known to bite other dogs or people, they need to take special precautions to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. They should make sure the dog’s enclosure is secure and always keep the dog leashed and possibly muzzled while out in public. These are considered reasonable precautions to make sure a historically vicious dog doesn’t attack a person or another animal. 

The owner of a historically vicious dog that attacks another person might face more consequences than a personal injury claim. Per A.R.S. § 13-1208, intentionally or knowingly causing a dog to bite another person (except in cases of self-defense) is a class 3 felony in Arizona. A person who knows of their dog’s propensity for viciousness and bites someone without provocation while at large (off-leash) is guilty of a class 5 felony in Arizona. A person who knows of their dog’s propensity for viciousness is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor if they do not take reasonable care to keep their dog enclosed on their property. A defendant convicted of any of these offenses will face criminal prosecution and can be sued by the dog bite victim in civil court as well. If you are facing criminal charges due to failure to exercise reasonable care with a historically vicious dog, contact our firm for your free consultation- call 480-833-8000.

Trustworthy Lawyers Providing Guidance In Stressful Situations

At Chandler Accident Attorneys, we understand the terror of surviving an animal attack and the last things you’ll want to deal with are negotiations and a potential lawsuit against the responsible party. Often, this will mean dealing with the defendant’s homeowner’s insurance company. Insurance companies are notoriously reluctant to pay out fair settlements, but our skilled attorneys can help you avoid trial while receiving fair compensation for your injuries. For your free consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix injury attorneys, contact us today or call 480-833-8000.

1731 West Baseline Road Suite #103
Mesa, AZ 85202

Phone: 480-833-8000