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arizona dog bite lawyers

If you’ve experienced a dog bite in Arizona, you know that dog bites can be a very serious matter. If you believe that you have a case, it’s important to understand how your case fits within established dog bite laws in the Grand Canyon State.

For this reason, Negretti & Associates would like to offer this overview on dog bite laws in our state, along with our perspective on how an attorney can assist with a case. Our Arizona dog bite lawyers have represented people who have suffered serious injuries in dog attacks. We know dog bite laws and are ready to help you navigate your case. You don’t have to figure it out alone. Please contact us with questions about your case.

Strict Liability: No “One-Bite Rule” in Arizona

Arizona courts have made it clear that if you are bitten by a dog — even if it’s the first time in which a dog has bitten someone — you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries.

In the case Massey v. Colaric (1986), the court discussed the legal theory of “strict liability,” which means that the dog owner is liable — in other words, responsible — for injuries caused by his or her dog.

The court opinion of Massey v. Colaric observes, “In Arizona dogs do not get ‘one free bite.’ Owners are held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs’ actions and liability is imposed without regard to an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.”

It some states, such as Colorado, a dog is allowed one bite before the owner of the dog is responsible for the injuries caused by a second bite. This is known in legal terms as the “one-bite rule.” This is not the case in Arizona.

Arizona’s law governing liability for dog bites, A.R.S. §11-1025, states that dog owners are responsible for paying damages to victims if they are legally on public or private property. This includes the dog owner’s property. The statute reads, “The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, 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.”

Let me give you some real-world scenarios to help you better understand how this Arizona law actually applies.

  • You are jogging down a city street and a dog escapes from someone’s yard and bites you. Yes, the Arizona law would apply and you can recover damages for that. Note: This actually happened to me a few months ago. However, the dog couldn’t catch me to bite me because I ran really fast!
  • An Amazon delivery driver is drops off a package at your house. Your dog gets out and bites the driver. Yes, the Arizona law would apply and the driver could recover damages for that. Note: My dogs go crazy when the Amazon folks show up at our house. It’s probably because my wife gets three to four deliveries a day.
  • You are helping a friend move and you go into the house to grab a box. You turn the corner and your friend’s dog bites you. Yes, the Arizona law would apply and you can recover damages for that. Note: Don’t ever buy a pickup unless you intend to help everyone move.
  • A landscaper is in your backyard cutting the grass. Your dog gets out and bites him. Yes, the Arizona law would apply and your landscaper can recover damages for that. Note: Take care of the people who take care of you.
  • You are at the dog park and another dog chases down your dog and starts to attack her. You go to break up the fight and get bitten. Yes, the Arizona law would apply and you can recover damages for that. Note: Dog parks can be fun for your fur baby, but they can also be a danger zone. Be mindful of what’s going on in the dog park before you decide to let your pup off the leash to play.

Statute of Limitations: A One-Year Deadline

A key feature of Arizona dog bite laws is that there is a deadline to bring forth a case. This deadline is one year from the date of the dog bite. The legal term for this is “statute of limitations.”

If you do not bring your lawsuit forward within the one-year window, you lose the right to do so. This can be found in A.R.S. §12-541.

This law surprises some people because the normal deadline to bring a personal injury lawsuit is two years.

Why is there an accelerated deadline? The thinking is that since you do not have to prove liability for your claim, it should not take as long to resolve.

Provocation as a Defendant’s Argument

In Arizona there are really only two defenses that a dog owner can assert to avoid being responsible for their dog biting you.

The first defense is known as the “provocation” defense. In other words, the defense argues that the attacking dog was provoked.

An important Arizona dog bite law, A.R.S. §11-1027, states that: “Proof of provocation of the attack by the person injured shall be a defense to the action for damages. The issue of provocation shall be determined by whether a reasonable person would expect that the conduct or circumstances would be likely to provoke a dog.”

Proof of provocation is almost always used as a defense in dog bite cases. As experienced Arizona dog bite lawyers, we have encountered this defense many times. Sometimes it is applied in ways that would leave you scratching your head.

For example, we once represented a man who was walking his dog in his neighborhood. A neighbor’s dog got out and attacked both him and his dog.

Through his attorney, the owner of the attacking dog argued that because our client was on a sidewalk and his dog looked weak, the attacking dog was provoked. No joke! Defendants will literally do anything they can to avoid compensating people injured by dog bites.

Trespassing as a Defendant’s Argument

The second, but rarely used, defense in dog bite cases involves trespassing on someone else’s property. A.R.S. §13-1502 and §13-1504 define trespass as a physical intrusion or entry upon the land or property belonging to someone else wherein, causing damage to the property owner and/or his or her property.

In this situation, the dog owner of the attacking dog may not be responsible to you for your injuries.

To illustrate, in another case, our client — who was very tall — looked over his backyard fence into his neighbor’s yard. The neighbor had a dog that jumped up on the fence and bit our client’s face.

The defendants in that case claimed that our client trespassed when he looked over the fence. The judge didn’t buy the argument and ordered that the dog owner pay our client for injuries to his face.

Call Us with Questions About Your Dog Bite Case

Remember, in Arizona, dog bites have a short statute of limitations. This means you have a smaller window of time to get your claim resolved. Reach out today for a free case consultation with one of Negretti & Associates’ Arizona dog bite lawyers to discuss your options. Call us at (602) 531-3911 in Arizona, contact us online, or send us a text

california dog bite laws

According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur nationwide each year. Of these incidents, California ranks highest in the nation for fatal attacks.

Unfortunately, some of the worst injuries we’ve seen here at Negretti & Associates have been the result of vicious attacks by dogs. The most common injuries are permanent nerve damage and scarring as bites often puncture deep into skin and muscle.

Damage claims are common after a dog bite incidents. In fact, insurance carriers pay over $1 billion every year in animal bite claims annually, and over a third of all funds paid out through homeowners’ liability claims arise from dog bite claims.

Regardless, it is nearly impossible for the average person to recover the proper compensation for these serious long-term effects of dog bites on his or her own.

California Dog Owners Are Liable for Dog Bites

California dog bite laws are clear on assigning liability for dog bites. Section 3342 of California Civil Code creates strict liability for dog owners when their dogs bite someone in public or on private property. This means that the dog owner cannot avoid liability for injuries his or her dog has caused to someone by simply claiming that they took reasonable care to restrain the dog.

Contrary to popular belief, a dog’s history of viciousness has no bearing on the owner’s liability. Owners are liable even for first-time attacks.

However, a dog bite victim cannot have provoked the dog or have been trespassing on dog-owner’s property during the attack. If this occurs, the dog owner may no longer be liable. Yet, dog owners are still required to display ample warnings around their property to warn potential trespassers of an aggressive canine. If they fail to warn, they could still be held liable for any harm caused to an intruder who is subsequently attacked.

No Bite Is Too Small

Bites of all sizes can be grounds to pursue a dog bite accident claim. There is no need for you to suffer physically, mentally, or financially after your dog bite.

Attacked While Running in Your Neighborhood

Dog attacks on runners are all too common in California. The permissive weather often lures runners into neighborhood streets year-round. If you are bitten by a dog while out running, the dog’s owner likely has a duty to cover the costs of your injuries in addition to other costs.

Dog Walker’s Liability

There have been many instances where a dog walker or handler will simply lose control of a dog while out in public, leading to someone being bitten. Unless that dog walker or handler does something provoke the dog to bite someone, they are not liable. Rather, the owner of the attacking dog is liable for any injuries caused to a person, even if the dog was under another’s control.

A Family or Friend’s Dog

Many dog bites come from the dogs of our friends and family members. This puts victims in an uncomfortable situation. On one hand, you have suffered an injury and deserve compensation. On the other, you don’t want to compromise your relationship with loved ones.

You shouldn’t worry! Dog bite victims need only file a claim against their insurance company, namely homeowners or renters insurance. If they have coverage, your rightful recovery will come from directly their insurance company and not from their pockets.

You may also be concerned that the pet will be put down if you report the incident or pursue your claim. If this was an isolated occurrence, be rest assured that the dog will probably not be put down.

How A Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You

The outcome of your dog bite can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced dig bite lawyer on your side.

The experienced dog bite attorneys at Negretti & Associates know California dog bite laws and are ready to fight for you. We’ll vigilantly defend your rights and pursue any rightful claims for damages, medical expenses, and compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.

We also understand the importance of securing compensation for future medical treatment, which is necessary for scar revisions common to dog bite cases. We will also help you collect compensation for time you have to take off from work to deal with your injuries.

dog bite laws arizona california colorado

Dogs are considered to be part of the family, offering a wide range of benefits — companionship, unconditional love, lower blood pressure, exercise, and opportunities for children to learn responsibility. Dogs are especially loved in Arizona, which has the highest percentage of dog owners in the United States. Approximately 1.7 million (43.3 percent) Arizona households include man’s best friend!

However, what happens if your beloved family dog bites another individual?

Common Law and Colorado’s “One Bite Rule”

Under the common law, a person that was injured by a dog could recover if they proved that the owner knew, or should have known, that the animal had a predisposition to cause harm. This was known as the “one bite rule.”

Under the Colorado “one bite rule,” an owner generally would not be held liable if his or her dog bit someone for the first time, because the owner would never have known that the dog had a predisposition to cause harm. However, once the dog had bitten someone (or growled and snapped), the owner would know that the dog had the ability to cause harm, and could be held liable if the dog bit a person in the future.

Colorado is included in a list of states that apply the “one bite rule.”

Arizona and California Dog Bite Law

Arizona and California, however, impose strict liability on the owner of a dog in dog bite cases. This means that in Arizona and California, dogs do not get “one free bite.” Owners will be held strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dogs without regard to an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s predisposition to cause harm.

Arizona Revised Statute 11-1025 and California Civil Code section 3342 govern dog bite cases. Arizona and California law explain that a dog’s owner is liable if his or her dog bites a person who is in a public place or lawfully in a private place when the bite occurs, “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.”

Two common defenses that may be raised in an Arizona or California dog bite case include trespassing and provocation. Since both laws require the injured person to “lawfully” be in a public or private place when the injury occurs, a person who is trespassing would be on the premises unlawfully. Therefore, the trespasser would be unable to recover damages. Additionally, the statute states that an injured person cannot recover if the person “provoked” the dog. Although provocation was initially directed at military or police dogs, it is a common defense for household pets as well.

Damages

Although the dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog, often their insurance company will ultimately pay for the damages. Additionally, rental, business and landlord insurance may also cover dog bite injuries. Some damages that may be recovered from a dog bite case include: lost wages, medical bills, future medical bills, therapy, pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

Dogs add such a wonderful facet to life. Please take the time to review your state’s dog bite laws to keep your family, which includes your dog, and others safe.

Negretti & Associates Can Help

If you have been bitten by a dog, it’s important to get medical treatment right away. After that, you’ll need to begin collecting evidence as quickly as possible. Contact our team of dog bite lawyers so that we can evaluate your situation and help you determine if your case is worth pursuing.