A Guide for Dog Owners and Dog Bite Victims

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Arizona is not a one free bite state

Approximately 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites every year in the United States. Dog bites can be the most traumatic type of personal injury to a child or an adult.

Arizona is not a one free bite state, meaning that even if the dog has never previously bitten anyone, and the owner had no reason to think the dog would bite, the owner is still responsible.

Defenses to a dog bite case

The only defenses to a dog bite claim are if the victim provoked the attack or was bitten by a dog that was in use by the police or military for specific tasks.

Conduct is considered provocation only if a reasonable person would expect that it would be likely to provoke a dog. This is typically up to the jury to decide.

Damages which may be recovered by a dog bite

Victims of a severe dog attack can suffer damages resulting in $250,000 to one million dollars’ worth of specialized medical treatment - reconstructive surgery, skin grafts, tissue expansion, and scar diminishment.

To win a dog bite case

The victim of the dog bite must show that they are in or on a public place, or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog.

You should get immediate medical attention and document all evidence possible, including photographs of the injuries.

Do not sign anything. Insurance companies will try to settle quickly, often for less than your injuries are worth.

For dog owners it is important to note that unless you have marked your property with signs or locked gates it might be considered that you have “implied invitation to members of the public to approach your door on common errands.”

Do not wait to file a claim

You have 1 year to file under the “strict liability” statue and two years from the date of the dog bite to file a claim based on negligence.

It might be best to consult an experienced dog bite attorney because dog bite cases can be complicated with both the state and local laws concerning dogs. An attorney can help identify all the statues which may apply to your case and under which you may file a claim.

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