Odds are, if you’re reading this, you don’t want to hear about how many people are bitten by dogs every year, nor do you want to hear about how damaging dog bites can be. You’re probably reading this because you want or need to know what the dog bite laws are in Arizona, whether it be for research purposes or because you or someone you know has sadly been the victim of a bite. So before you call an experienced attorney who’s dealt with dog bite cases before, let’s quickly go through the basics of Arizona dog bite laws.
Though there are some exceptions that we’ll get to momentarily, the main thrust of Arizona dog bite law is that the dog owner is responsible for the damages you receive. It doesn’t matter if the dog has never shown any sign of viciousness before, nor does it matter if the dog was on a leash. It also doesn’t matter if you were visiting a friend’s house or if it happened when walking down a public street; if you are legally allowed to be in an area and a person’s dog bites you, that person is, very likely, liable for your injuries. There are those previously mentioned exceptions though, one of which has already been hinted at.
There are two major exceptions to be aware of, one of them involves illegally being on another person’s property. As mentioned before, if you are legally allowed to be on a property and you’re bitten by a dog, the dog owner is probably liable, but this doesn’t apply if you’re trespassing. Trespassers are not subject to protection from dog bites under the law. So if you’re not supposed to be somewhere that has a dog, don’t go on the property. The other exception is whether or not a dog has been reasonably provoked. The law defines “reasonable provocation” as if whether or not a reasonable person would find that the actions that led to the person bitten would be expected to provoke a dog. As an extreme example, if a person was violently striking a dog, then it would be obvious that a dog would bite back. On the other end of that spectrum, if a person is just walking peacefully by a dog on a public street and the dog bites them, that’s clearly not provoked. Things can get trickier to figure out if it involves something like a dog that you’ve met several times before without incident, but you happen to approach it while it’s eating and it bites your hand. Since many circumstances tend not to be very clear cut, consulting with an attorney that has experience in dog bite law is very important.
If you do have a case that involves a dog bite, you don’t have a lot of time to file your it. The statute of limitation is one year. This might sound like a long time to some people, but life tends to get busy fast, especially if you’re caught up in a rush of medical bills, work, and trying to find the right lawyer. Don’t hesitate to act; the cost of medical bills and the physical and emotional trauma of being bitten can take a heavy toll. The sooner you get your case in motion, the sooner you may be able to recover medical costs and focus on your future.
Knowing the very basics of the law is no substitute at all for speaking with a professional. Legal matters can be very complicated and attorneys work and study for years to ensure they know the proper interpretation and meaning of the laws and codes relating to injuries such as dog bites. If you’d like a free consultation on your dog bite injury, please call ELG Law at 623-321-0566. You have nothing to lose by telling us about your circumstances and asking questions. Every client matters at ELG Law; contact us today.