In many jurisdictions a dog owner is only liable for the injuries their animal inflicts if it was known the animal had dangerous propensities. This is not the case in Arizona. The state is unique as it provides strict liability for violations of the dog attack statutes. While strict liability is not the same as absolute liability, violation of the dog attack statutes is enough to prove the causation element of negligence for dog attack cases. While the laws are favorable in Arizona for dog bite injury victims, being properly compensated for injuries can be challenging. Generally, dog bite cases are residential and not tied to a company or corporate entity. The source of recovery is the dog owner's insurance—either renters' or homeowners' insurance. There can be some difficulty with these claims as a dog owner is not required to disclose their insurance company, their insurance limits, or even if they have insurance at all. You need an experienced attorney who knows how to find the potential avenues of recovery and who understands the intricacies of dog bite law and liability. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.
Liability for Dog Bites in Arizona:
Dog bites and attacks are addressed largely by statute in Arizona. One renders the dog's owner liable for damages caused by a dog at large. A dog at large usually means a dog that is out in public and not properly controlled or leashed. Another provision specifically addresses bites. If the injury victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place when bitten then the dog owner is liable for damages. Both impose virtual strict liability for a dog's owner or caretaker for any damages inflicted by the dog. What this means is that as long as the injury victim was bitten while they were not trespassing or attacked while in public the dog owner is virtually certain to be liable for the injuries caused by their animal.
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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.