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Dog ownership is widespread in the U.S., with approximately 69 million Americans owning dogs. While dogs are often cherished family members, they can sometimes pose a danger. When a dog bites, it can result in severe injuries or even fatalities.
If you have been bitten by a dog and sustained serious injuries or lost a loved one in a dog attack, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a dog bite lawsuit. A Glendale dog bite attorney at Lamber Goodnow can evaluate your case and help you determine its legal viability. If your claim has legal merits, we can assist you in pursuing maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Glendale Dog Bite Attorney Guide
- Strict Liability Dog Bite Statute in Arizona
- Arizona has a strict liability dog bite statute (ARS § 11-1025), which holds dog owners strictly liable for damages caused by their dogs when the victims are in a public place or lawfully present on private property.
- Under Arizona’s approach, the dog’s owner will be liable even if they were unaware that the dog had a propensity to bite.
- Some exceptions to the strict liability dog bite rule apply in cases involving military or police dogs.
- Exceptions for Military or Police Dogs
- Police or military dog bites a person after being provoked or to defend itself.
- Police or military dog bites someone the police are trying to apprehend.
- Police or military dog bites someone during the investigation of a crime.
- Police or military dog bites someone while a warrant is being served.
- Police or military dog bites someone to defend the police officer or another person.
- Strict Liability Applies to Dog Owners Only, Not Other Possessors
- Arizona’s strict liability dog bite statute applies only to dog owners, not other possessors of the dog (Johnson v. Svidergol, 157 Ariz. 333 (1988)).
- Possessors of dogs who are not owners are not strictly liable for dog bites, but there might be other ways to pursue a dog bite lawsuit against someone other than a dog’s owner when you have been bitten or otherwise attacked.
- Lawful Presence and Provocation Considerations
- Arizona defines lawful presence in ARS § 11-1026. A person is lawfully present when they are there by the dog owner’s invitation, are social guests, or are present to complete a legitimate duty recognized by local, federal, or state law.
- The dog owner can assert an affirmative defense in cases where the victim provoked the dog under ARS § 11-1027. The court will consider whether a reasonable person in the same situation would have viewed the victim’s actions as provocative enough to induce the dog to bite.
- Liability Under the Dog-at-Large Statute
- Under ARS § 11-1020, anyone who allows a dog to roam off-leash can be strictly liable to pay a victim compensation when the dog injures the victim or causes damage to their property.
- This law provides a way to hold someone liable even if they do not own the dog.
- Pursuing a Negligence Lawsuit
- Victims can pursue negligence causes of action against dog possessors and owners (Murdock v. Balle, 144 Ariz. 136 (1985)).
- If a dog’s owner or possessor negligently permits a dog to attack or bite someone else, the victim can file a lawsuit for negligence against the responsible party.
- If the dog owner was the negligent party, the victim can file a lawsuit that includes both strict liability and negligence claims, increasing the likelihood of recovering full compensation.
- Relevant Statutes of Limitations
- Under the dog bite strict liability statute, victims must file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog owner within one year of when the dog bite occurred.
- The statute of limitations for a personal injury negligence claim is two years from the date of the incident under ARS § 12-542.
- If you don’t file your lawsuit in time under the strict liability statute, you might still be able to recover compensation by filing a negligence lawsuit against the dog’s owner. However, filing a negligence lawsuit will require you to prove each of the elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence.
- If you wait longer than two years after the date of your dog bite injury, you won’t be able to pursue compensation through a legal claim of any type.
It is crucial to contact a Glendale dog bite attorney as soon as possible after your dog bite incident. Contacting a lawyer quickly can help preserve critical evidence and strengthen your case.
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FAQs: Glendale Dog Bite Lawsuits
Dog bites are often unexpected and can leave victims suffering debilitating injuries. It is common for people to have questions about their rights and legal options when they have been bitten by a dog. To help you better understand your potential rights, the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from dog bite victims.
Q: How many people are bitten by dogs each year?
A: Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, with about 800,000 dog bite victims visiting the emergency department for treatment.
Q: Which dog breeds are the most dangerous?
A: While any dog can bite, some breeds are considered more dangerous than others. Some breeds with a higher propensity for biting include:
- Jack Russell terriers
- German Shepherds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Pit Bull terriers
Q: What should I do if I was bitten while visiting a friend’s home?
A: If you were bitten on a friend’s property, you may be concerned about filing a lawsuit against them. However, homeowners’ insurance and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bites. If the dog is excluded from the policy, you can discuss with your friend if they would be willing to pay for your medical bills.
Q: What if I was bitten by a dog on someone else’s property?
A: Your ability to recover compensation depends on the reason for your visit. If you were trespassing, you will not be able to recover compensation. However, if you were invited to the property by the dog’s owner or were present due to work, you can file a strict liability claim against the dog’s owner under the state’s dog bite statute. The dog’s owner will then be required to pay damages for your losses as long as you did not provoke the dog.
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