How Much Can You Sue for a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Arizona?
If you have been the victim of a dog attack, you may have a right to file a dog bite lawsuit. The following includes a brief summary of the Arizona dog bite law. To learn more about your rights, contact an experienced dog bite lawsuit attorney today.
Dog Bite Cases: A Growing Problem
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. Of this amount, more than 800,000 victims received medical attention for dog bite injuries.
Since 1996, the number of people bitten by dog bites has increased by an estimated 1 million each year. The significant rise in dog bite cases is attributable to a large increase in dog ownership, nearly doubling from 55 million in 1996 to an estimated 90 million today.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019 there were 17,802 dog bite lawsuits filed in the United States, with claims totaling some $797 million. The total amount paid out in dog bite lawsuit claims each year has risen 145.8% since 2003.
We are often asked two questions by prospective clients: “Can you sue for a dog bite,” and “How much can I recover in a dog bite lawsuit.” We explore these two questions in more detail below.
Can You Sue for a Dog Bite?
The simple answer is yes. You can sue for a dog bite injury in Arizona. Arizona has a specific law that covers dog bite cases commonly referred to as the “Dog Bite Statute.” This statute is found in Section 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
To bring a dog bite lawsuit under the statute, the victim must be able to show that:
- His or her injury was caused by the dog bite
- The victim suffered the injury while he or she was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
This statute only applies to dog bite cases. Victims often sustain other injuries that are not dog bite-related. For instance, if a victim is knocked to the ground by a dog and breaks his arm, the victim can file a dog bite lawsuit alleging that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing the injury.
Arizona Is a “Strict Liability” Dog Bite State
Arizona’s dog bite law is based on a theory of “strict liability” What this means is that the owner can be found liable even if the dog had never bitten anyone before or if the owner did not know the dog was potentially dangerous.
Arizona’s dog bite laws are different than the laws of about half of the other U.S. states. Those states’ laws are based on a theory of “negligence,” meaning that the victim can only file a dog bite lawsuit against the owner if the owner knew that the dog was aggressive or had bitten someone in the past.
There are a few exceptions to the victim’s right to recover in a dog bite lawsuit:
- The dog’s owner will not be liable if they can prove that the victim provoked their dog.
- The owner will not be liable if the victim was trespassing on his or her property. Note, however, that the owner may be responsible for providing the trespassers with notice that there is a dog on the property.
How Much Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Victims can generally pursue the following types of damages in dog bite lawsuits:
- Noneconomic damages in dog bite lawsuits can be awarded for pain and suffering. These are damages that do not demonstrate their dollar value. For example, the dog bite injury may have caused the victim mental anguish over missing an important event like his child’s wedding.
- Economic Damages are those damages that you can calculate a precise dollar amount for. For example, medical bills and lost wages. When filing a dog bite lawsuit, it will be necessary to provide copies of your receipts to prove your damages.
- Punitive Damages are awarded where the owner is found to have been grossly negligent or intentionally caused the harm. For example, ordering the dog to attack the victim during an altercation.
Damage awards vary greatly between cases. The extent of the victim’s economic and non-economic damages will largely determine the number of damages awarded in the case. Note that Arizona does not have a cap on damages, meaning that the victim can recover as much as the court deems reasonable.
The Arizona dog bite attorneys of Goodnow and McKay have spent many years successfully pursuing compensation for clients who have suffered personal injuries in a variety of different cases. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for the best outcomes for their clients with accident and injury claims.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation to meet with one of our attorneys so that you can move forward with your accident and injury case as soon as possible and receive the settlement you deserve.