In the blink of an eye, a dog attack can result in devastating injuries. These bites typically happen so fast that the injury victim has little time to respond. Due to their nature, dogs of any size have the potential to cause a lasting injury depending on the circumstances surrounding a bite. While the damages from a dog bite can be serious, a personal injury attorney could offset some of the expenses from a dog attack by suing the dog owner.
If you suffered an injury from a dog bite, an injury lawsuit could be your best option for obtaining monetary compensation for your injuries. To get your case started, contact an experienced Phoenix dog bite lawyer right away.
Each state handles liability in a dog bite injury differently. Some states take a “strict liability” approach, meaning a plaintiff could hold the dog owner responsible even if they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous. Other states take a “negligence” approach, meaning a plaintiff must show the dog owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous but did nothing to prevent the injury. This type of liability is also known as the “one bite rule,” given that a dog that has never attacked someone essentially gets one free bite before their owner faces liability.
Arizona Statute 11-1025 has codified the strict liability standard for dog bites into Arizona law. When preparing a lawsuit, a Phoenix dog bite lawyer must consider the two elements necessary to establish liability:
Under strict liability, it is irrelevant if the dog owner knew the animal was dangerous or not. If the plaintiff meets the two elements discussed previously, that is enough to recover compensation.
The statute is somewhat narrow, in that it only applies to injuries resulting from a dog bite. Any other type of injury will not fall under strict liability. For example, injuries resulting from a dog tripping and injuring someone must meet the standard of negligence before an injury victim may recover compensation.
While the strict liability standard may seem clear and obvious, there are some defenses that a dog owner might rely on. One is directly in the language of the statute. A plaintiff injured on private property may only pursue a claim under strict liability if they were there lawfully. In other words, a landowner is not held to the strict liability standard for trespassers.
The second major defense is covered by Arizona Statute 11-1027. Under this statute, a dog owner has a valid defense if the dog was “provoked” before the attack. Provocation can include any physical act directed toward the dog that a reasonable person would believe would provoke the animal.
If you survived a dog bite, your recovery from the associated injuries should be your first priority. While you focus on your health, a skilled Phoenix dog bite lawyer could help guide your case through the litigation process. Contact Goldwater Law Firm today at 602-502-6000 or fill our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.