Owning a pet comes with great responsibility. Caring for a living being includes considering their nutrition and health needs, their general well-being, and also their behavior. This is especially true with dogs. As loyal and intelligent as they are, they also have natural animal instincts, and without training, some dogs can misjudge some people’s intentions and bite them.
As a responsible canine owner, it’s important to educate yourself on dog bite accident laws in Arizona and what your rights are should your pet bite someone.
Quick Facts on Dog Bites
According to the World Health Organization, there is a dog bite accident every seven to eight seconds in the United States. Around 885,000 victims who suffer dog bite accidents need medical assistance, 30,000 patients require reconstructive intervention, and 3%-10% of bites become infected. Of all of these accidents, 10-20 people die.
Dog Bite Accident Legislation in Arizona
Not all states have the same regulations concerning dog bites. You should be familiar with the laws in Arizona, and in the case of an accident, consult a personal injury lawyer experienced with handling dog bite cases in the state.
Arizona legislation is based on the principle of strict liability. Section 11 of the Arizona Revised Statutes states simply that “the owner of a dog which bites a person… is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.” This is true whether the dog bite accident occurs on private or public property, and even on the dog owner’s own property if the victim was lawfully present there.
Strict Liability Exceptions
There are a few exceptions to Arizona’s strict liability statutes. One of the few ways a dog owner can avoid being held financially responsible for a dog bite is if it can be proven that the victim was purposefully provoking the animal.
Other ways that a dog owner can possibly avoid legal problems due to a dog bite is if the victim was trespassing on private property, or if the statute of limitations has passed. Arizona law gives victims one year to take legal action.
This means that as a dog owner, the best method to control legal problems is to do everything possible to prevent a dog bite accident from happening.
Actions To Take After a Dog Bite Accident
However, not all accidents are preventable. If your dog bites someone, it is obviously painful and traumatic for the victim, but it can also have a big impact on you. You have the right to a criminal defense attorney if someone has accused your dog of biting them. Immediately contact a lawyer after such an incident.
Generally, victims that press charges are hoping to receive compensation for costs including:
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Loss of wages due to lost time at work
To protect your interests so you are not held responsible beyond your legal liability, contact us immediately in the case of a dog bite accident.