A Dog Bite Can Turn Your Life Upside Down
Whether you are the victim of an attack by an aggressive dog, or the owner of an animal that has bitten someone else, dog bite cases can be emotional. That is one of the many reasons it is important to hire an injury attorney who is tenacious and practical. Regardless of which side of the situation you happen to be on, it is critical to have solid legal representation. Our team at Law Badgers PLLC is here to protect your rights.
Unlike some states, Arizona has a law that specifically deals with dog bites. This rule applies “strict liability” to dog owners. Strict liability means that even if the owner did not know their animal was aggressive – or likely to attack – the owner can still be held accountable for the injury or damage caused by their pet.
Arizona Law Is Clear When It Comes To Dog Bites
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, you may have suffered serious physical harm, scarring and psychological damage. Dogs are man’s best friend, until they aren’t. On top of the unpredictable nature of unfamiliar animals, you cannot always be sure that an owner has treated their dog responsibly and humanely. Even a known dog, like one owned by a friend, can become aggressive and bite or attack in certain situations.
You Have A Limited Time To File A Dog Bite Claim
Similar to other claims in the realm of personal injury, dog bites have a statute of limitations of two years. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the incident, you will lose your right to do so. For this reason, it is critical to contact an experienced Phoenix dog bite attorney as quickly as possible. The sooner legal counsel can begin investigating, the sooner you can recover.
What You Need To Prove
Arizona’s statute on dog bites is simple: “The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place, or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten.”
As a dog bite victim, you must show that you were in a public area, such as a public park, or lawfully on private property (not trespassing), when the attack occurred. The second factor you must be able to show is that the injuries were caused as a direct result of a dog bite. Notably, this statute does not include other injuries that you may have sustained from a rowdy dog, such as being tripped by a leash.
What Should You Do After A Dog Bite Or Attack?
Immediately after you have been bitten, get to a safe location. If you are able to do so, get contact information from the owner of the animal, as well as contact information from anyone who may have seen the attack. If there is no owner present, try to take a photo or video of the animal (safely!), and note the address where the attack occurred.
Then, seek medical attention. Unknown animals may have diseases that require a bite victim to obtain quick treatment, and any type of bite should be treated by a medical professional to prevent infection. It is also important that your injuries are documented by a professional. It is always a good idea to take photos of your injuries yourself, if possible. Wounds heal with time, and having photographic evidence of a recent bite can be invaluable to your case.
Next, contact a reputable dog bite lawyer in Phoenix. Our aggressive team at Law Badgers PLLC have the experience and knowledge to thoroughly investigate any dog attack, including tracking down dog owners who were not present during the attack. Our team includes skilled injury attorneys and staff, as well as experienced private investigators who can delve into records to determine fault.
For Dog Owners: Protect Your Rights
This is probably most dog owners’ worst fear: their pet attacks someone, or another dog. The scene is never pretty, and the attack can be just as traumatic for the owner, who previously thought their beloved companion was incapable of violence. While Arizona’s laws are clear, there are some defenses dog owners can raise to protect their animals and their assets.
Was Your Dog Provoked?
The law is less forgiving to victims who – in short – were “asking” for it. If someone was kicking your dog, for example, and the dog bit their attacker in response, you may have a solid defense. Provocation can be difficult to prove, so it is important to collect contact information from any individual who may have seen the incident. If you were in a public park, there may also be footage, or someone who was filming for other reasons.
Was The Victim Trespassing On Your Property?
One of the requirements for a successful dog bite lawsuit is that the victim must have been on a property lawfully. This means that if your dog attacked someone who was breaking into your home or hopped over your fence without permission, you are unlikely to be liable for their injuries.
Contact A Phoenix Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you have been bitten by a dog, or if your dog has bitten someone else, send us an email or call our office in Phoenix at 480-856-8128 for a free consultation. Our lawyers have successfully represented countless dog bite victims and dog owners, and we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and best interests, no matter which side of the fence you happen to be on.