Tucson Dog Bite Lawyers
Dogs in Tucson may attack suddenly and with little warning, causing serious injuries or fatalities. When dogs bite, the victims may be left with permanent disabilities, scarring, disfigurement, emotional harm and mounting expenses. By filing a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, you might be able to recover damages for the losses that you have suffered as a result of your attack. The Tucson dog bite lawyers at Lamber Goodnow are experienced in handling dog bite claims and have amassed a record of success for their clients. We can handle your case for you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Dog bite statistics
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 34,151 Arizonans had to go to the emergency room after being bitten by dogs from 2008 to 2012, and 2,358 of them were hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an average of 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, and 20 percent of the bites become infected. Those who are most at risk of being bitten by dogs are children who are between the ages of five and nine and men. People may be bitten by dogs in public or while they are visiting others on private property.
Types of injuries from dog attacks
People who are attacked by dogs may suffer a number of different injuries, including the following:
- Avulsions and tissue loss
- Puncture wounds
- Severe infections
- Sprains and strains
- Crushing injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety and other emotional harms
Some dog attacks may leave the victims facing lifelong disabilities and disfigurement that permanently reduce their abilities to enjoy life. Because of the potential harm, the state provides strict liability for dog owners when their dogs attack others in certain cases.
The Arizona dog bite statute and strict liability
Under A.R.S. § 11-1025, dog owners will be liable to pay damages when their dogs bite other people who are in a public place or who are on the private property lawfully. The law is a strict liability statute, meaning that the victims do not need to prove that the owners had previous knowledge that their dogs had a propensity to bite others. This is different than some states that follow what is known as a one-bite rule. In those states, plaintiffs must also prove an additional element of the dog owner’s knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite from a prior incident. Since Arizona is a strict liability state, the knowledge element is not required.
Provocation: When liability might not exist
Dog owners may raise a defense to their strict liability for dog bites under A.R.S. § 11-1027. Under this statute, the dog’s owner may not be held liable for a dog attack if he or she is able to show that the victim provoked the dog. Provocation is determined under the reasonable person standard, which is whether or not a reasonable person would consider the victim’s actions to be provoking to a dog.
Common law negligence claims for dog bites
It is also possible to pursue claims against dog owners or possessors under negligence laws. Victims may choose to pursue negligence claims against the possessors of dogs since the strict liability statute only provides for liability against the dogs’ owners. For example, if a dog walker fails to keep a dog on a leash in a public park, and the dog subsequently bites someone, the victim might sue the dog walker under a theory of negligence. The courts have ruled that victims can pursue claims under the dog bite statute as well as under negligence theories simultaneously. People might choose to file negligence claims and strict liability claims so that they can potentially recover more types of damages. They may also choose to file negligence claims alone if they have missed the shorter statute of limitations under the strict liability law.
Statute of limitations
In Arizona, the courts have found that the statute of limitations for a dog bite claim under the strict liability statute falls under A.R.S. § 12-541 as a liability that is created by a statute. This limitations period is only one year from the date of the incident. Negligence claims involving personal injuries have longer statutes of limitations under A.R.S. § 12-542. It is important for victims to seek help from the Tucson dog bite attorneys at Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible so that they can preserve their rights to recover damages.
Damages in dog bite cases
The amount of damages that might be recoverable will depend on the specific circumstances and facts of an individual case. In general, victims may recover the following types of damages:
- Past and future expected medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Past and future expected income losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
- Loss of consortium for spouses
Homeowners’ insurance policies and renters’ insurance policies normally provide coverage for dog bites. If you are bitten by a dog, your attorney may negotiate on your behalf with the responsible insurance company in order to try to secure a settlement that fairly compensates you. Your attorney may assess your claim and offer you a range of values of what it should be worth so that you have an idea of what you might expect in a fair settlement.
Schedule a consultation with the Tucson dog bite law firm of Lamber Goodnow
Dog attacks can cause devastating injuries or fatalities. If you or your loved one has been injured by a dog, you may have legal rights. It is important for you to act quickly so that you can preserve your rights. When you have experienced legal help, you may recover more damages than you might otherwise be able to recover on your own. Contact the Tucson dog bite attorneys at Lamber Goodnow today to schedule your free consultation.