Who is liable for a dog bite in Arizona?
Over the next few weeks, the risk of dog bites, especially those involving children, will increase sharply in Arizona.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 4 million dog bites occurring across the country every year, and an overwhelming majority of those involve children below the age of five. In fact, victims of dog bites comprise about 1% of all emergency room visits every year.
This summer season, expect an increased risk of bites, especially those involving children below the age of five. During summer, there are more children outside in playgrounds, parks, or out walking with their parents or caregivers, and the chances of coming into contact with dogs being walked by their owners, are high during this time.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Severe dog bite attacks can result in major injuries, including scalp injuries, facial injuries, wounds, cuts and lacerations. Among facial injuries, the most common injuries involve the cheeks, lips, ears and nose and neck. A victim in Phoenix will require reconstructive surgery after an especially horrific attack.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury in Arizona?
Arizona is a strict liability state. In this state, the owner of a dog is liable for any attack involving his animal, even if it was the very first time that the dog was involved in an attack. The owner is liable even if he was unaware of any vicious tendencies involving the animal. Even if the owner had no reason to believe that the dog would bite anyone, he is still liable for injuries or losses sustained in the attack.
There may be exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, if the dog was a stolen dog, then the owner of the dog is not liable for the victim’s losses.
Apart from the owner of the animal, there may be other persons, who are held accountable when a dog bites an innocent victim. For instance, if the attack occurred when the dog was being walked by a friend of the owner, the friend is liable for injuries arising out of the attack. A person, who is caring for the dog while the original owner is away, is liable for an attack if the attack occurs on his watch. In short, whoever is responsible for the dog at the time of the attack is liable for damages, and can be named in a dog bite claim.
How Quickly Do I Have To File a Claim?
In Arizona, victims of dog bites must file a claim for damages within a period of one year after the dog bite injury has occurred. Expiration of the statute of limitations can nullify a claim.
That means that it is important to take action quickly, when you or a loved one has been involved in a dog bite. First, get help for all the injuries that have occurred. Some of those injuries may be serious, and may even require surgery. Dog bite injuries frequently require reconstructive surgery, especially in the case of facial injuries.
Once you have been able to get emergency medical help, speak with a dog bite attorney in Phoenix immediately, about how to protect your rights. Attorneys for the insurer will try to provide evidence that the attack was provoked, and a lawyer working on your side will be able to build a strong case in order to recover maximum damages.
To understand more about your rights to compensation after a dog bite in Phoenix, speak with a personal injury attorney at Curiel & Runion, PLC. Initial consultations are free.