What You Can Expect When Hiring a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

In Arizona, to hold a dog owner liable for a bite-related injury, your dog bite lawyer should pursue damages under Arizona’s dog bite law.

If you have been attacked by a vicious dog and suffered an injury, an Arizona dog bite injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries. Arizona has strict laws in place designed to protect the rights of dog bite victims.

As experienced lawyers that deal with dog bites, the legal team at Goodnow McKay is committed to helping our clients to recover adequate compensation. We have a proven history of reaching successful dog bite insurance settlements, and the expertise to take your case to trial, if necessary.

Keep reading for a brief overview of what you can expect when you hire a dog bite injury lawyer.

Proving Liability In An Arizona Dog Bite Injury Case

In Arizona, to hold a dog owner liable for a bite-related injury, your dog bite lawyer must pursue damages under Arizona’s dog bite law. Section 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, provides that:

“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, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.”

Unlike the laws in other states, in Arizona, your dog bite injury lawyer does not need to prove that the owner knew that his or her dog was vicious. This legal standard is referred to as “strict liability.”

Exceptions to Dog Owner Liability

There are several exceptions to dog owner liability.

  • If the victim was trespassing when attacked the owner is generally not liable.
  • If the victim provokes the dog the owner will have a viable defense to the dog bite injury claim.

It is important to note that even if your dog bite injury lawyer is unable to prove liability under the Arizona dog bite statute, you may still have other remedies.

For example, if you are trespassing on the owner’s property when bitten, your dog bite lawyer could potentially file a personal injury claim against the owner. This would require your lawyer to prove that the owner was negligent and the owner should have known the dog was aggressive.

Arizona dog bite laws can be complex and confusing. Lawyers that deal with dog bites will determine the appropriate claims to bring and ensure that your rights are protected.

Dog Bite Insurance Settlements

Insurance companies have an incentive to limit their exposure. They will commonly offer low dog bite insurance settlements to unrepresented dog bite victims to avoid going to trial.

Dog bite claims are often covered by the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Coverage amounts under these policies vary, but they generally include limits between $100,000 and $300,000.

Insurance companies have an incentive to limit their exposure. They will commonly offer low dog bite insurance settlements to unrepresented dog bite victims to avoid going to trial.

An experienced dog bite injury lawyer can determine the value of your claim and negotiate with the insurance company to receive the maximum possible settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company is unwilling to pay you the compensation that you deserve, your attorney can file a complaint and pursue your case to trial if necessary.

The Statute Of Limitations For Filing An Arizona Dog Bite Claim

The statute of limitations sets forth the time period in which a lawsuit must be filed. If the claim is not filed during this period, the right to recover is forfeited.

When it comes to Arizona dog bite claims, there are two separates time limits to be aware of.

  • To hold the dog’s owner strictly liable under the Arizona dog bite statute, a claim must be filed within one year from the date of the attack.
  • For other claims, such as a victim injured while trespassing, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the incident.

Failing to abide by the applicable statute of limitations can have disastrous consequences. Your attorney will determine which statute applies and ensure that your claim is filed before time runs out.

Filing A Dog Bite Lawsuit

When victims are unable to reach adequate dog bite insurance settlements, it is necessary to file a dog bite lawsuit. If the incident is covered by the owner’s insurance policy, your dog bite lawyer will file a complaint against both the owner and the insurance company. If there is no applicable insurance policy, your lawyer will file the complaint against the owner.

The complaint will seek to recover any damages that you suffered as a result of the attack. Damages may include:

    • current and future medical expenses
    • pain and suffering
    • lost wages
    • loss of enjoyment of life
    • disability, among others

In rare cases, the court could award punitive damages. This generally occurs only when the owner is found to have been grossly negligent or to have intentionally caused the attack.

Arizona Lawyers That Deal With Dog Bites

As experienced Arizona lawyers that deal with dog bites, we know how difficult the recovery process can be. Our experienced legal team will do whatever it takes to ensure that you and your loved ones receive adequate compensation for your losses. If you or someone you know has been attacked by a dog, contact us today for a FREE consultation.

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