Dogs provide countless people with companionship and a sense of obligation and purpose. However, man’s best friend can also cause serious harm and injury to innocent civilians, often without warning. It is estimated that over 4.7 million dog bites occur each year within the United States, resulting in massive medical bills, psychological trauma, and physical harm to the victims, who are, sadly, mainly children.
The majority of dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property, and victims typically are friends or family of the owner. Depending on the circumstances, the dog’s owner or the owner of the property on which the attack occurred might be held accountable for damages inflicted.
Dog Bite Injuries
While dog attacks rarely result in a fatality, the physical and psychological scarring can cripple victims for their entire life. Common injuries due to dog bites include:
- Fractured bones
- Puncture wounds
Financial Compensation for Dog Bite Injures
Generally, dog owners have insurance that pays for damages inflicted. Coverage may be under renter’s insurance, landlord’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, dog owner’s insurance or business insurance.
Many times dog bites are inflicted upon friends or family members of the dog owner. Thanks to insurance coverage, you may still receive payment for your damages without your friend or family member incurring out of pocket expenses.
Victims of dog bites may be entitled to a wide-range of compensation for their damages, including:
- Reconstructive, cosmetic surgery to mask scars
- Psychological counseling
- Related medical bills, including ambulance charges, emergency room and hospital costs, medication costs, and doctor’s fees
- Loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Replacement of damaged or destroyed personal property
- Compensation for injuries or loss of life of pets attacked by the dog
Each state has its own regulations regarding dog bites. Thankfully, Arizona’s dog bite laws grant extensive rights to victims rather than owners. With the help of an experienced, dog bite attorney and the broad scope of Arizona’s dog attack regulations, you have the potential to obtain compensation for all physical, property, and psychological damages inflicted by a dog attack.
No “One-Free Bite” Statute in Arizona
Thankfully for victims in Arizona, Arizona does not have a “one free bite” statute. Owners can be held liable without regard to the dog owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. Generally under the statute, Arizona dogs do not get “one free bite”.
In fact, when a dog is at large, full responsibility for the injury will be on the dog owner or those responsible for the dog when injury was inflicted.
Criminal Liability on Dog Owners
Under certain circumstances, Arizona dog bite laws impose criminal liability on a dog owner. An owner may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor if:
- A dog owner knows their dog has a propensity to attack without provocation or has been deemed to be a vicious animal by the court, and
- The dog bites or inflicts personal injury on a human being while at large
Steps to Take After a Bite
Victims and parents of victims under the age of 18 can take steps to guarantee their rights and maximize any potential financial compensation they are entitled to, including:
- Seeking medical attention
- Taking photos of injuries sustained, clothing worn, the dog and the attack scene
- Reporting the attack to police and local animal control office
- Maintaining a diary that details the narrative of the attack and all related medical treatments
- Exchanging personal information with the dog’s owner, including address and telephone number
- Identifying all potential witnesses and exchanging personal information
- Contacting an experienced, dog attack attorney
If You or a Loved One Was Injured as a Result of a Dog Bite
Statutes of limitations exist in dog bite cases, which restrict the time frame you have to file charges and obtain compensation for your damages. Legal regulations surrounding dog attacks are complex and require the skill of a dog bite attorney.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in the Phoenix, Mesa, or Tempe, Arizona area, please contact Phoenix, Arizona dog bite lawyer Jerrold A. Mayro today or call (602) 604-8400 to schedule your personal consultation.