Getting attacked or bitten by a dog in Arizona is a scary experience that could end with you in the hospital. At Stone Rose Law, a skilled Scottsdale dog bite lawyer can help you get through the recovery process and come out on the other side with the results and financial compensation that you need. We understand how Arizona’s dog bite laws work and how to use them to our clients’ advantage. Contact us today to discuss how our dog bite attorneys can assist you in more detail as a dog bite injury survivor.
Like any personal injury case, a dog bite injury lawsuit can come with challenges, obstacles and complications for you as a plaintiff. Hiring an attorney allows you to focus on healing and moving forward rather than facing legal issues on your own. You can trust your attorney to successfully guide you through an Arizona dog bite injury case with services such as:
A Scottsdale personal injury attorney experienced in handling dog bite claims will answer your legal questions and give you personalized counsel through every phase of the recovery process. Your lawyer will make sure that you and your family have everything you need during a difficult time in your life, including connecting you to top doctors and surgeons in your area. You do not have to handle a dog bite claim alone.
When a dog attacks, it can cause serious damage. A victim may suffer many severe injuries from a dog’s teeth, jaws and claws. If a dog bites a victim, its teeth – especially the long, sharp canines – can pierce the skin and cause a significant risk of bacterial infections. A dog bite puncture wound could also transfer diseases to the victim, such as rabies. The victim may have lifelong scarring and disfigurement from the incident. Examples of common injuries include:
Sadly, some dog attacks are fatal. Vulnerable people such as children and the elderly are most at risk of suffering critical injuries in a dog attack. If you tragically lost a loved one in a fatal dog attack in Scottsdale, our attorneys can help your family file a wrongful death claim against the pet owner’s insurance company. These are complicated cases that need the oversight of an attorney.
A dog attack can cause more than just physical damage. This type of incident is often substantially traumatic for the victim, resulting in emotional and psychological harm. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common in dog attack survivors. The symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, chronic anxiety, avoidance and depression. A dog bite incident can also result in a new phobia of dogs.
It is possible to receive financial compensation for emotional damage in Arizona. This type of financial award is known as pain and suffering or noneconomic damages. It can cover the intangible ways in which a dog attack has impacted you, including physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, diminished quality of life, fear and inconvenience. Proving emotional damage may take assistance from an attorney.
Dog bites are a significant public health issue in Arizona and across the United States. Negligent pet ownership, allowing dogs to run at large and a large population of stray dogs all increase the risk of dog bite injuries. According to a recent study of dog bite demographics in the U.S., dog bite injuries result in an estimated 337,103 emergency department (ED) visits per year. Dog bites are the 13th most common type of nonfatal ED injury, exceeding injuries that occur on motorcycles, to pedestrians and from firearms.
A research brief published by the Arizona Department of Health Services states that there were 34,151 emergency department visits for dog bite injuries in Arizona from 2008 to 2012. Inpatient hospitalizations for dog-bite-related injuries increased by 139 percent during this time period. Maricopa County had the highest number of ED dog bite injury cases (20,071) and inpatient hospitalizations (1,636) in the state. The most common type of injury reported was an open wound of the hand (14.29 percent).
An encounter with any breed of dog could result in painful and debilitating dog bite injuries in the wrong circumstances. However, certain dog breeds are more dangerous statistically than others, meaning they cause more serious and fatal injuries. According to DogsBite.org, the breeds behind the highest number of fatal attacks are pit bull terriers and rottweilers. These two breeds accounted for 50 percent of canine-related deaths in the U.S. from 2005 to 2019. Other dangerous dog breeds include the American bulldog and wolf-dog hybrids.
Your rights and options after being attacked by a dog will depend in part on the law in your state. Most states either use one-bite rules or strict liability laws to determine who is liable, or financially responsible, for a dog bite injury. Arizona’s dog bite law is found in Section 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. It states that a pet owner is strictly liable for a dog bite that takes place when a victim is lawfully in a private place or a public place, regardless of whether the pet owner had reason to know of the viciousness of the dog.
A strict liability law names the pet owner or controller as the liable party after a dog attack, regardless of negligence. In a one-bite state, on the other hand, a pet owner will only be responsible for paying for a dog attack if he or she had reason to know or suspect that the dog could be vicious. In other words, the dog must have bitten someone once before to hold the pet owner responsible in a one-bite state. To learn more about the dog bite laws in Arizona, speak with a knowledgeable Scottsdale dog bite lawyer at Stone Rose Law.
Allowing a dog to run at large – meaning to run freely, with no leash, fence or other restraints – is a significant public safety issue. An uncontrolled canine is more likely to attack a victim, as the owner is not in control of the dog and may not be present to prevent the attack. There are state and municipal laws in place in Arizona to prevent dogs from running at large. If a pet owner violates these laws, he or she could be held responsible for a resultant dog attack on the grounds of negligence or negligence per se.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 11-1012, states that no dog shall run at large or be off-leash in a public area. This law says that in a public park or upon any public school property, no person in charge of a dog shall permit the dog to run at large. It is also against state law to allow a female dog to run at large during her breeding or mating season or to allow a vicious dog to be permitted at large. In the City of Scottsdale, there are three designated off-leash areas where dogs are legally allowed to run at large: Horizon Park, Chaparral Park and Vista del Camino Park.
Arizona’s strict liability dog bite law will apply to most cases to hold the pet owner responsible for injuries caused. However, it may also be possible for a victim to base a personal injury claim against the pet owner on other legal grounds, such as negligence. Negligence is the failure to use ordinary or reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. An example of negligence is a pet owner failing to muzzle a dangerous dog after it attacked and seriously injured someone.
Negligence per se means being held automatically negligent without requiring any further proof due to a legal violation. If a pet owner broke one of Arizona’s or Scottsdale’s dog control statutes or regulations, this could lead to an injury case based on negligence per se without any additional proof of negligence necessary. Although less common, it may also be possible to hold a pet owner liable under the theory of assault if the owner knowingly and willfully trained the dog to intentionally attack or injure someone.
Under the strict liability law in Arizona, the pet owner is held accountable for the actions and behaviors of a dog, in most cases. Arizona’s strict liability law extends to other parties, however, in some situations. If someone other than the owner had care or control over the dog at the time of the attack, the person in control could be liable.
In addition, if the attack took place on a rented property, the landlord could bear liability if he or she should have done more to keep the dog off the property, such as evicting the owner or enforcing stricter dog policies. Finally, if the pet owner is under the age of 18, his or her parents can be held liable.
Before paying for an injured victim’s medical bills, a pet owner in Arizona may try to use a defense against liability. A lawyer can help you prepare for potential defense strategies during your personal injury claim. Possible defenses may include:
Expect to encounter these defenses during your dog bite claim, especially if the owner of the pet has hired an attorney. You may need assistance from a dog bite attorney in Scottsdale to prove your local dog bite injury claim.
Under Arizona’s rules of evidence, the plaintiff or filing party in a personal injury case must establish proof that the defendant’s fault for the injury is more likely to be true than not true. This is known as a preponderance of the evidence. While this is a lesser burden of proof than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal case, it can still be difficult to meet without assistance from a Scottsdale dog bite lawyer. A lawyer can help you collect evidence to establish your claim, such as:
Whether you are basing your claim on the legal theory of negligence, strict liability or another option, you will need to provide compelling evidence to establish the defendant’s fault. Hiring an attorney from Stone Rose Law can improve your chances of winning your case as well as make it easier to preserve and collect key evidence to establish liability. A lawyer can gather your records, investigate the incident and help you present the strongest possible claim to the courts.
You cannot control the actions of pet owners or ensure that dogs in your community are always leashed. However, you can decrease your odds of being attacked by a dog in Scottsdale with a few basic safety tips:
If you or a family member gets bitten by a dog in Arizona despite your best efforts to avoid an attack, contact an attorney at Stone Rose Law as soon as possible for a free review of your case and legal options.
If you wish to file a lawsuit against a dog owner in Arizona for your bite injury, a state law known as the statute of limitations gives you a time limit. With only some exceptions, you or your Scottsdale dog bite attorney have no more than two years from the date of the attack to bring a cause of action in Arizona. Missing this deadline will most likely result in giving up the right to recover financial compensation. You may have more time than this, however, if you are a parent filing on behalf of an injured child. In most cases involving injuries to children, the clock does not start ticking until the child’s 18th birthday.
A successful dog bite injury claim in Arizona could result in financial compensation to reimburse you for everything that you and your family spent and will continue to spend on related medical bills. This includes surgeries, doctor’s appointments, medications and physical therapy. You may also be entitled to compensation for losses such as lost wages, physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and more. Discuss the value of your case with a local dog bite attorney before you accept an insurance settlement.
If you lose a loved one to an attack by one or more dogs due to the negligent actions of their owner or a third party, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Scottsdale. Our attorneys fight diligently to secure justice for your lost loved one and your family.
You are not alone as the injured victim of a dog attack in Scottsdale, Arizona. You have the option to hire a lawyer to represent you and guide you through the legal process. Please contact Stone Rose Law to speak to an experienced dog bite attorney in Scottsdale today who can help you. We offer free initial consultations to potential clients.