Dogs are known as humankind’s best friend. But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Arizona recently ranked 10th in the nation in dog bite insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
In 2021 alone, 489 insurance claims due to dog bites were paid out in the Grand Canyon State. The average cost per claim for dog bites and related injuries was $43,059. Overall, $21.1 million in claims were paid by insurers.
Whether you’re a dog owner in Arizona or you’ve been injured by a dog bite, it’s important to understand Arizona dog bite laws that govern dog bite liability in our state.
Arizona Dog Bite Law: A.R.S. §11-1025
According to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), regardless of the dog’s viciousness, if you are bitten by a dog, the owner of that dog is liable to you for your injuries.
The foremost Arizona dog bite law — A.R.S. §11-1025 — provides:
There are, however, some possible defenses to dog bite claims. Provocation and trespassing are two most common. We discuss these defenses in greater detail in our article, “Dog Bite Cases: Top Three Defenses Used by Attorneys and Insurance Companies.”
Titled “Reasonable Provocation as Defense,” A.R.S. §11-1027 provides:
As for trespassing, A.R.S. §13-1502 and A.R.S. §13-1504 govern criminal trespass. Civil trespass is defined as a physical intrusion or entry upon the land or property belonging to someone else wherein causing damage to the property owner or his or her property. If someone hops your fence and your dog bites that person, you may not be responsible.
Does Arizona Have a One-Bite Rule?
Arizona does not have a one-bite rule. In other words, Arizona is a “no ‘free bite’ state.” Some states allow the dog owner to get away with the dog’s first bite, but that’s not the case in Arizona.
An Arizona dog owner can be held liable for the dog’s very first bite. The dog owner cannot use the fact that their dog has never bitten anyone as a defense to your claim.
Dog bites in Arizona are considered strict liability cases. This means that if a dog bites you, the owner is responsible. Period. End of story. As mentioned above, there are a few defenses to dog bite cases, but the bite itself is the evidence needed to prove your case.
The more important reality of having a case that is considered strict liability is that your deadline to file a lawsuit is accelerated to one (1) year. If you do not resolve your case or file a lawsuit to preserve your claim within one year from the date of the bite, you may lose the right to your claim.
Injured by a Dog Bite in Arizona? Contact Negretti & Associates
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in Arizona, contact the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates to schedule a free case review today.
Our dog bite attorneys in Arizona know Arizona dog bite laws and are ready to help you navigate your case. You don’t have to figure things out on your own. For a free initial review of your case, call us at (602) 531-3911 in Arizona, (619) 777-3370 in California, or (720) 636-3444 in Colorado. You can also contact us online or send us a text.