Dogs can cause serious injuries when they bite victims out of aggression, including deep lacerations and puncture wounds. Thousands of victims are sent to emergency rooms for injuries caused by aggressive and violent dog attacks every year. Many others, however, are injured in non-aggressive incidents involving dogs. These types of injuries can still entitle a victim to financial compensation in Arizona in many circumstances.
Dogs can be dangerous even when they do not mean to be. A large dog could playfully jump on a person without meaning any harm, for example, only to knock the victim down and shatter his or her hip. If a dog inadvertently causes harm or injury, it is known as a non-aggressive dog attack. Even small dogs can unintentionally cause serious injuries in non-aggressive incidents.
Examples of non-aggressive dog attacks include:
These non-aggressive events can result in severe injuries, including broken bones, soft-tissue damage, torn muscles, nerve damage, facial injuries and emotional injuries. Children and the elderly are especially prone to injury in non-aggressive dog attacks. Even mild to moderate injuries could make a victim eligible for financial compensation from the owner of the dog.
An individual who sustains any type of harm, injury, property damage or loss due to the pet of another person has the right to seek financial compensation from the owner under Arizona law. Section 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes states that the owner of a dog that bites a person who is lawfully on the premises is liable for damages suffered by the victim, regardless of whether the owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. This is known as a strict liability dog bite statute.
When an injury is caused by something other than a bite or aggressive attack, however, the standard dog bite law typically will not apply. Instead, the victim may have to prove that the owner of the dog was negligent. This means the owner failed to use an ordinary or reasonable amount of care, leading to an increased risk of foreseeable injury.
Common examples of pet owner negligence are violating leash laws and allowing a dog to run at large. Running at large is against the law under A.R.S. 11-1012, which states that no female dog during breeding season or vicious dog shall be allowed to roam off-leash. Dogs also cannot run at large in rabies quarantine areas, public parks or public school properties. If the pet owner’s negligence can be proven, his or her insurance company will be financially responsible for the victim’s injuries.
You may need a dog injury lawyer to represent you during a case involving a non-aggressive injury since the strict liability law will not apply. An attorney can investigate the incident and help you collect evidence that proves the pet owner’s fault or negligence. An attorney can file an insurance claim for you and negotiate for maximum financial compensation on your behalf, even if this means going to trial. You may be eligible for compensation for your related medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, property damage, and pain and suffering.