Prescott Dog Bite Attorneys Discuss How to Get the Maximum Value for Your Case
“It’s important for the injured and their families to know their rights early on so that they can obtain maximum compensation for their claim.”
In Prescott, Az, dog bite attorneys have been handling dog bite cases for decades. But recent dog attacks like the one last year in Prescott, Arizona, which left a 9-month old baby with severe injuries requiring air transport, have prompted new questions about how dog bite victims and their families might be compensated for dog bites.
Prescott dog bite attorney, Chris Goodnow, is a founding partner at the personal injury law firm, Goodnow Mckay. He noted that situations like these are all too common. Although the case above involved a family pet, there are many cases where guests or even pedestrians fall victim to a dog attack that results in serious injuries.
According to Attorney Goodnow, in any dog bite case in the Prescott area, it’s important for the injured and their families to know their rights early on so that they can obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
With the help of our expert Prescott area dog bite attorney, below we’ve provided some general information to help dog bite victims protect their rights:
- Be Aware of Arizona Dog Bite Laws
- Get the Dog Owner’s Information
- Take Photos of Your Injuries
- Contact a Prescott Dog Bite Attorney
- Don’t Make Any Statements to Insurance
Be Aware of Arizona Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws vary from state to state. The biggest difference across state lines is what standard courts use to decide whether a dog owner is responsible for a dog bite. There are two options: strict liability or negligence.
If the state is a negligence state, it means that the person bitten has to show that the dog owner was negligent in some way. Generally, a dog owner is negligent when they either knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.
If the state is a strict liability state, like Arizona, then the owner is responsible for the person’s injuries regardless of what they knew about the dog prior to the bite. Arizona’s dog bite law, ARS 11-1025, specifically states that a dog owner is liable for a dog bite victim’s injury, “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.”
Get the Dog Owner’s Information
A dog bite can be a very stressful situation. Attorney Justin McKay, or the other half of Goodnow Mckay, says that in his experience, lots of the firm’s clients have understandably struggled to know what to do in the moment. Of course, the first thing you should always do is seek medical attention. But if you are able, try to obtain the dog owner’s personal information before either of you leaves, including their full name and phone number.
You’ll also want to ask them for their insurance information. Some dog owners carry pet insurance that covers dog bites that do not occur at their homes. If the injury happened on the dog owner’s property or a property they control, make sure to write down or take a photo of the address or location of the property, as they may have home insurance, which usually covers dog bites.
Some dog owners will be reluctant to provide their information to you. If this is the case, try to take pictures of anything that might identify them. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call the police to make a report of the incident.
Regardless of how cooperative the dog owner is, you should call animal control immediately for them to make a report. Animal control may test the dog to ensure it is not carrying rabies.
Take Photos of Your Injuries
Make sure to take photos of your injuries both right after they occur, and as they develop. Many dog bite injuries, unfortunately, worsen over time. For example, bruises typically get worse over time, and infections can either start or worsen over time, even with proper antibiotics.
If you have any questions about what to take photos of, you can always ask an attorney experienced in dog bite laws for guidance.
Contact a Prescott Dog Bite Attorney
“A Prescott dog bite attorney will have an expert understanding of not only the state law but also the local court rules, city codes, and county ordinances that may impact your case.”
Although many dog bite victims represent themselves in claims or lawsuits, they often accept lower settlements offered by insurance companies whose employees will always try to minimize liability. There are also special rules that govern what kinds of damages you can recover, how much, and how other insurance coverage will impact what actually ends up in your pocket when all is said and done.
Connecting with a Prescott dog bite attorney will ensure that you get the most out of your claim.
Why You Should Make Sure Your Attorney is Local
There are hundreds of personal injury attorneys in Arizona, and many of them are great lawyers! Unfortunately, not all of them are actually in or near the Prescott area.
A Prescott dog bite attorney will have an expert understanding of not only the state law but also the local court rules, city codes, and county ordinances that may impact your case. Although these laws are usually pretty similar, there are sometimes slight differences in either violations or penalties. For example, dog bite claims in Phoenix might not be handled the same as dog bite claims in Prescott because of either county ordinances or city codes. The lawsuit should also be filed in the county where the bite occurred in that county’s court system.
Understanding these laws and knowing the local judges, insurance claim adjusters, and clerks will help your claim get resolved smoothly and fairly. Most importantly, there are dog bite lawyers in Prescott who can help.
So, even if a lawyer from Tempe is willing to take the case, remember that Prescott animal and dog bite lawyers will have the local experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Make Any Statements to Insurance Before Obtaining a Prescott Dog Bite Attorney
If you file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company, or the dog owner files one themselves, you’ll likely get a call from the insurance company asking you to make a statement, answer questions, or even send them photos of your injuries and hospital bills. Some insurance companies will also try to pressure you into signing a settlement right away.
If the dog bite occurred in Prescott or the surrounding area, contact a Prescott dog bite attorney before making or answering any insurance requests. Contact the team at Goodnow McKay for a free case review of your dog bite case.