Attacked By a Dog in Arizona? Hire a Phoenix Dog Bite Lawyer

While many like to think of dogs as man’s best friend, statistics that show the amount of annual dog bite incidents reveal why you must never let your guard down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.7 million cases of dog bites are reported annually. Many dog bite victims end up with serious injuries, requiring prolonged medical treatment.

Dog bite treatment can be very expensive. If you or your loved one had the misfortune of experiencing a dog bite or a dog attack, you can seek compensation by pursuing a dog bite claim. Contact an experienced Phoenix dog bite lawyer so you can file a claim for reimbursement of your medical expenses and compensation for other damages.

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Should You Report A Dog Bite Incident?

It is important to report a dog attack to the authorities as soon as possible. By alerting animal control, you will get documentation to support your dog bite case and you will help protect other people from a dog that has demonstrated it will attack humans.

Dog bite victims are often hesitant to report the incident because they are either friends with the dog owner, think the event was “just an accident”, or do not wish to pursue a lawsuit. In each case, the dog bite victim is doing themselves and their community a disservice by not filing a claim. Notifying the authorities of a dog bite in Phoenix or anywhere else in Arizona will strengthen your ability to recover fair compensation from your injuries and keep your family, friends, and other loved ones safe.

Physical injuries sustained during a dog bite incident can range from minor to fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S.

Approximately 800,000 of these dog bite cases cause serious injuries that require medical attention, and at least half of the reported cases involve children. Typically, negligent dog owners who fail to control their pets are the cause of these dog bite incidents.

The rate of dog bites is higher among children between the ages of 5 and 9. For some behavioral reasons, boys are more likely to sustain a dog bite injury than girls. Adult males are likewise more likely to be bitten by dogs than adult females.

How Will A Phoenix Dog Bite Attorney Maximize My Dog Bite Case Results?

Laws that govern the rights of dog bite victims vary from state to state.

Fortunately, Arizona dog bite law is friendly to dog bite victims. Arizona assigns strict liability to dog owners when it comes to dog attacks. Strict liability means that dog owners in Arizona are held responsible for damages, regardless of whether their dog has a history of attacking, biting, or exhibiting aggressive behavior toward people.

Some other states follow a “one-bite rule.” This simply means that dog owners are not legally liable for damages if they were unaware of their dog’s tendency to bite or attack humans. Under the “one-bite rule”, if a dog bite victim has been attacked by a dog, the owner will not be liable unless the dog had attacked someone previously or otherwise demonstrated aggressive behavior towards other people.

Obviously, Arizona’s strict liability approach is more favorable to dog attack victims than the “one-bite rule”.

When pursuing compensation for injuries stemming from a dog bite, your Phoenix dog bite lawyer will obtain the following information.

  • A record of the dog’s history including similar attacks.
  • A record of the dog’s vaccination history.
  • The dog’s breed, size, and physical attributes.
  • Information about the dog owner’s past responses towards signs of aggression from the dog.
  • Complete documentation of the dog bite injury, plus the resulting medical treatment (Photograph your wounds to keep a visual record of your injuries)
  • All of your medical records, bills, and receipts.

How Do I Report A Dog Bite?

If you’ve suffered a dog attack in Phoenix, you should keep a written record of the details surrounding the incident. Write what you remember before and after the attack, and collect contact information from any witnesses. Under no circumstances should you speak to the other party’s insurance agent before contacting an experienced Phoenix dog bite attorney first.

In Phoenix, Arizona, and the rest of Maricopa County, dog bite victims should report all dog and animal attacks and contact the appropriate municipal animal control office:

  • Avondale PD/Animal Control, Phone: 623-333-7345
  • Mesa Animal Control, Phone: 480-644-2268
  • Peoria PD/Animal Control, Phone: 623-773-8311
  • Surprise PD/Animal Control, Phone: 623-222-4000
  • Wickenburg PD/Animal Control, Phone: 928-684-5411

If necessary, your dog bite lawyer will guide you through the reporting process to lay the foundation of your dog attack claim.

Who Is Liable For A Dog Attack And The Resulting Injuries?

In most dog bite cases, the dog owner is held liable for the attack. According to the Arizona statute (A.R.S. § 11-1025), owners are liable for the dog attack victim’s damages if the injury was sustained in either a public setting or on the owner’s private premises, provided the victim was not trespassing.

Also, the court case Johnson v. Svidergol suggests that even if the attack occurred while the dog was under the care or custody of another person, it is still the owner who will be held responsible. And as discussed in Murdock v. Balle, dog owners are responsible for damages even where they personally were not at fault.

Penalties can be more severe if the dog was left at large in a public place. If the victim was a guest at the owner’s house, the homeowner will still be held liable for compensation. Similarly, workers and contractors traversing the property to carry out lawful business will also recover under the Arizona liability statute.

These types of victims include:

  • Postal carriers
  • Meter readers
  • Food deliverers
  • Package delivery employees
  • Technicians, plumbers, handymen, etc. (any person invited on the premises for work on the property)

Under Arizona Statute A.R.S. § 11-1026, any person that is invited to an owner’s property, staying as a guest, performing a federally endorsed legal duty, or pursuing a municipal ordinance is lawfully present. In each of these cases, dog owners will be strictly liable for any dog bites or attacks.

Importantly, the strict liability does not apply to trespassers or people who were attacked or bitten by a police or military dog under any of the following circumstances:

  • The dog was assisting in an investigation or execution of a search warrant.
  • It was provoked or harassed in any manner.
  • The bite was sustained while the dog was trying to protect an officer.
  • The dog was assisting in holding a suspect charged with reasonable evidence of criminality.

While liability and compensation appear to be straightforward matters, the reality is often more complicated. Most people think of it in simple terms: I’ve been bitten and have sustained financial losses in the form of medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering so the owner should compensate me. Our experience, however, tells us that it is not always so straightforward.

Liability cases can get tricky when there is a third party involved. Often this occurs in the workers’ compensation context. The government-mandated pay-out system may award victims compensation and/or supersede any personal injury case.

If this happens, victims may not be able to make a claim for their dog bite injuries and recover the losses they have incurred. In such situations, it is best to hire the services of an experienced dog bite attorney who can ensure you get what you deserve.

The Deadline To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit In Phoenix

Be aware that there are time limits for filing lawsuits for dog bites in Arizona. This is known as the statute of limitations. In most personal injury cases, you have two years from the date of the accident or injury to file a claim. In dog bite cases, however, you have one year from the date of the attack to file your Phoenix dog bite lawsuit or claim.

This is an unusually tight deadline to recover. For example, the deadline to file a lawsuit after a car accident is two years from the date of the accident. If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you should contact an experienced Phoenix dog bite lawyer as soon after the attack as possible. We offer free Arizona dog bite case reviews 24 hours a day.

What Will Hurt My Chances of Winning My Arizona Dog Bite Claim?

If you meet the Arizona statutory requirements, you will not have to provide proof of past instances of animal aggression to get compensation. However, the at-fault party does retain some defenses against lawsuits.

For example, a common defense against most dog bite plaintiffs in Arizona is “provocation.” Provocation takes several forms including teasing or striking a dog. Under Toney v. Bouthillier, even a toddler accidentally stepping on a dog’s tail could be considered provocation. Provocation is an important mitigating factor in dog bite cases.

Our Phoenix dog bite lawyers understand all the rules, damages, and defenses related to dog bite claims. Our dog bite lawyers will walk you through the strengths and weaknesses of your dog bite case, helping you to understand the range of potential case outcomes.

What Damages Can Attorneys Help You Recover In A Dog Bite Case?

When you file a dog bite claim, you will seek compensation for the losses and pain and suffering you experienced during the dog bite event and while seeking medical treatment. You will also seek compensation for the losses you can be expected to incur in the future.

Some common dog bite injuries include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage
  • Skin tears/lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Neck and spinal injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Brain trauma

Moreover, bites from dogs can cause serious injuries in the form of infections. Dog attack victims who are fortunate enough to suffer a minor injury may recover easily, only to develop a concerning infection later on. These infections can prove deadly if not treated immediately.

Often, victims of dog bites and dog attacks must recover from both physical pain caused by their injuries and from psychological trauma. Children are especially prone to developing lasting fears and phobias from a dog attack. The severe implications of a canine attack are far-reaching and it can be months before the victim is fully recovered or able to resume their daily life.

Dog bite injuries often cause extremely costly and time-intensive recovery periods of ongoing medical treatment and recurring therapies. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack in Phoenix, Arizona, you deserve to get compensation for your current and future financial and emotional damages.

This is why you must report the dog attack to animal control and contact an experienced Phoenix dog bite attorney who can help you pursue your case and recover maximum compensation for your injuries from the case results.

You will need certain information to report a dog bite in Phoenix, Arizona. Most of this information will relate to the nature of the dog bite, your physical injuries caused by the dog attack, and the financial damages you’ve sustained as a result of the attack.

Our Phoenix dog bite attorneys will fight for maximum compensation for all of your injuries and damages. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack in Phoenix, you are likely entitled to compensation for two types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Compensation for the economic damages will cover the financial losses you’ve sustained during and after the accident. These include your medical bills and wages lost due to an inability to work.

Non-economic damages relate to the physical and emotional aspects of your injuries. These damages are subjective and include physical injuries, physical pain, trauma, and emotional suffering. We recommend that you keep a daily journal of your post-attack experience including the state of your injuries and how they are healing, how much pain you feel, any emotional issues, and your mental state.

Below is a list of the most common damages that you may recover in the aftermath of a dog bite case.

  • All of your medical expenses: from diagnostic testing to surgeries and therapy
  • Wage loss due to absence from work
  • Inability to work due to disability/disfigurement
  • Physical pain from bite injuries
  • Emotional suffering
  • Mental anguish and trauma

Dog bite victims often suffer negative consequences from the dog attack long after the one-year statute of limitations. This is why we always fight for maximum compensation for past, present, and future damages in your case.

Contact Cooper Law Partners – Phoenix to Get in Touch with a Top Dog Bite Lawyer

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