The pain and physical injuries from a dog bite have the potential to be severe. From large dogs to small, the consequences of a bite could last forever. While large dogs are a common threat, small dogs have the potential to cause long-lasting damage or disfigurement. This is especially true when a small dog bite damages nerve endings. When dogs attack, an experienced personal injury attorney might be able to provide some financial relief by filing an injury lawsuit on your behalf.
If another person’s dog attacked you, you have the right to seek compensation from the owner. However, recovering compensation often requires more than simply filing a lawsuit. A Gilbert dog bite lawyer could guide you through the process of seeking the damages you deserve.
Like many states, Arizona has adopted a statue to address liability for dog bite injuries. Found at Arizona Statute 11-1025, the state’s dog bite statute sets out the circumstances in which a dog owner is responsible for injuries their animal causes.
According to state law, Gilbert dog bite cases fall under a “strict liability” statute. While some states require evidence that the dog has a history of violence, Arizona does not follow that requirement. A Gilbert dog bite attorney would need only to prove two things to prevail against a dog bite owner:
A strict liability standard is different from a negligence claim because a plaintiff does not need to prove the defendant was careless or even knew their dog was dangerous. This standard makes it much easier to recover compensation than through a standard negligence claim. While most injury claims require a plaintiff to show the defendant failed to protect the plaintiff when they had a duty to do so, there is no need to do that in a Gilbert dog bite claim.
The use of the statute is narrow: it only applies to bites from dogs. Other injuries caused by dogs or bites from other animals fall within a negligence claim. While the standard in those cases is different, a skilled attorney may be able to recover compensation for those injuries as well.
While making a case for damages in a Gilbert dog bite lawsuit is straight-forward, there are still some viable defenses to a claim that a negligent party might use to absolve themselves of fault.
The most common defense is a provocation. According to Arizona Statute 11-1027, a dog owner is not liable for a bite if the plaintiff provoked the dog. Provocation could include anything from striking the dog to yelling at it.
Another common defense relates to trespassing. The dog bite statute is clear that the strict liability standard only applies when the plaintiff suffers a bite in a public place or somewhere else he has permission to be. Strict liability does not apply when a dog bites a trespasser.
A dog bite lawyer in Gilbert could advise a plaintiff of these defenses when reviewing the case for the first time and gather evidence that negates defense options that a wrongdoer’s counsel might use.
While the strict liability standard makes recovering compensation in a dog bite case possible, it is not always easy. There are viable defenses, even in strict liability claims. If the jury believes the defense, the plaintiff receives nothing.
Experienced legal counsel could help you maximize your monetary recovery from a dog bite injury. To begin the litigation process, contact a Gilbert dog bite lawyer right away.