We want to think the best of man’s best friend. Unfortunately, dogs are still animals and can attack humans. If you experienced this, you are likely struggling with injuries both physical and emotional. Not only can dog attacks cause painful and even disfiguring injuries, they can also leave you feeling terrified and traumatized. A dog bite personal injury claim could be a step toward making you feel in control again, pursuing damages that will help you recover physically and psychologically.
Arizona Dog Bite Law
Some states have what are called “one-bite laws,” which will not allow an owner to be held liable for a dog’s actions until it has already proven dangerous in a previous incident. Put simply, a dog would have to have already bitten someone once for you to bring a suit against the owner. By contrast, Arizona has strict liability when it comes to animal attacks, according to A.R.S. § 11-1025. If you suffered injuries as a result of a dog bite, you can sue the animal’s owner for damages, even if the dog showed no previous signs of aggression. If a dog bites, the owner is liable — it’s as simple as that.
Other personal injury claims require a victim to provide evidence of negligence, demonstrating that the other party did not take proper care. Dog bites are a notable exception, as the bite alone is enough to demonstrate that something happened worthy of compensation. You do not have to prove the owner was negligent by, for instance, letting the dog roam around the house unsupervised. Because of the potential severity of an animal attack, Arizona protects victims by allowing them to pursue a suit simply on the basis of the bite.
Where the Law Does and Does Not Apply
All that being said, there are still scenarios in which a dog bite cannot be grounds for a personal injury suit. Arizona law stipulates the conditions under which an owner can be held liable. For instance, if the parties were in a public place, such as a park, the owner is responsible for their pet’s actions. Likewise, if the victim was on private property legally, including the property of the dog’s owner, the owner remains accountable for what the dog does.
Infamous tales of burglars suing homeowners for injuries sustained while breaking into their home are easily rebutted by laws such as this one. If a dog bites someone who is on private property illegally, such as a trespasser or burglar, the owner is not liable. In other words, if a dog was simply defending the owner and the home from unlawful behavior, the victim cannot pursue compensation through a personal injury suit.
Dog bites could occur in a variety of locations, including:
- Friend’s houses
- Pet stores
- Hiking trails
Regardless of where you are, if you were there legally and a dog bit you, you could have a case. Contact a dog bite lawyer at Perez Law Group, PLLC to have your case evaluated and learn the next steps: (602) 730-7100 or +1 (888) 59-PEREZ.
Dog Bites Can Affect Anyone
Some people may doubt their dog could ever harm another person. However, studies show that dog bites are more likely to happen at home than anywhere else. A 2019 study published in the journal Heliyon found that 80% of dog bites occurred at home. The research also found that dog bites were the 13th most common injury warranting an emergency department visit, and a high proportion of those visits were for children.
Dog bite injuries can range in damage. Among common consequences of an animal attack are:
- Open wounds
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Muscle or ligament tears
- Nerve damage
- Diminished motor function
Depending on where the bite occurred, you could be facing additional or long-term complications. Dog’s mouths can carry bacteria and other contaminants that can lead to serious diseases such as rabies or tetanus. The CDC also warns of a capnocytophaga infection, caused by a bacteria found in dog bites, which can lead to sepsis and even death if left untreated.
You may also face other medical procedures. Surgery may be necessary to fully repair some damage, and plastic surgery may be needed after disfiguring injuries. Broken bones, muscle and tissue injuries, and nerve damage may not only reduce your mobility and independence while you recover, but also demand physical therapy and rehabilitation in order for you to return to normal.
Consequences Beyond the Physical
The trauma you suffered from a dog bite extends beyond the physical wounds. Recovering from an injury requires time, and that time may be more than you can afford, literally. In addition to the medical expenses, some animal attack injuries could force you to take time off work. Then you are facing more bills with less income, on top of dealing with the trauma.
That trauma can also have ramifications for you emotionally and psychologically. Animal attack victims could face heightened anxiety, develop phobias, and even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Seeking help for this aspect is crucial to healing your unseen wounds.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
An animal attack attorney does more than recoup your medical costs. By filing a dog bite claim with the help of a lawyer from Perez Law Group, PLLC, you are taking on a partner in this fight who will support you, doing the legwork so you can focus on recovering. The team at our firm can bolster your claim by:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting experts
- Reviewing medical records
- Negotiating settlement offers
- Pursuing your claim in court
Together, we may be able to pursue damages to cover:
- Hospital, doctor, and testing bills
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment (crutches, braces, wheelchairs)
- Lost income
- Psychological therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Compensation takes into account past, present, and future expenses related to your injuries. Moreover, damages can cover the unseen consequences, such as changes to your lifestyle as a result of the attack, as well as counseling as you process the trauma. Arizona does not take dog bite cases lightly. Neither do we.