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Surprise Dog Bite Lawyer

Being bitten by a dog can be a terrifying experience, leaving victims with serious physical and emotional injuries. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. That’s where Jensen Phelan Law Firm comes in. 

Our team of skilled attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm is dedicated to helping dog bite victims recover the compensation they deserve. We have over 65 years of combined experience representing clients in dog bite cases and can help you navigate the legal process with confidence. Whether you need help negotiating with insurance companies or are considering pursuing legal action, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

When Are Dog Owners Liable for a Dog Bite in Arizona?

In Arizona, the dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite under certain circumstances. Arizona has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites, which means that the owner is responsible for the actions of their dog, regardless of whether the owner knew about the dog’s propensity to bite or not. The statute has a one-year statute of limitations.

Arizona also has a common law negligence right for a dog owner who is careless or unreasonable in the care and control of the dog, such as not keeping the dog fenced or on a leash, if the dog causes harm as a result of the owner’s negligence.

Arizona’s strict liability dog bite law makes a dog owner liable for damages caused by their dog as follows:

11-1025. Liability for dog bites; military and police work; definitions

  1. The owner of a dog that 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.
  2. The breed of a dog may not be considered [by the legal decision-maker] regarding whether a dog is aggressive or vicious or has created liability.
  3. This section and section 11-1020 do not allow the bringing of an action for damages against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite occurred while the dog was defending itself from a harassing or provoking act or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:
  4. Apprehending or holding a suspect if the employee had a reasonable suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in criminal activity.
  5. Investigating a crime or possible crime.
  6. Executing a warrant.
  7. Defending a peace officer or another person.
  8. Subsection C of this section does not apply in any case in which the victim of the bite was not [involved in any way]  in the act that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing on private property, the owner may not be held liable for any damages caused by the dog. 

Additionally, if the victim was an employee of the owner who was performing their job duties at the time of the attack, the victim may claim damages under workers’ compensation laws.

The above Arizona strict liability law only applies to dog bites. If a dog attacks a person without biting them, the owner may still be held liable under common law, but the victim will need to prove that the dog (or other animal) owner was negligent in the duty to control the dog. If your pet is injured by another dog, you only have a common law negligence claim.

If you are bitten by a dog in Arizona, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and also to report the incident to the appropriate authorities (police or Animal Control). 

6 Tips for Handling a Dog Bite Claim 

Being bitten by a dog is a traumatic experience that can cause physical and emotional harm. If you were bitten by a dog whose owner is a friend, it can be even more difficult to know how to handle the situation. Here are some tips for handling a dog bite claim:

Seek Medical Attention

Your health and safety should always be your top priority. If you were bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately. Even if the injury appears to be minor, it is important to get it checked out by a healthcare professional.

Report the Incident

If the dog bite occurred on public property, report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as animal control or the police. This will help make sure that the incident is properly documented, which can be helpful if you decide to pursue legal action.

Keep Records

Keep a record of all the medical treatment you receive, including any medications or therapy you require as a result of the injury. Keep track of any missed work or other expenses you incur as a result of the injury. Take photos of your injury and of your subsequent bandages, healing process and anything more that “tells the story.”

Speak With the Owner If Applicable

It is important to speak with the owner of the dog about the incident. While this can be difficult if the owner is a friend, it is important to approach the situation calmly and professionally. Be honest about your injuries and the impact they have had on your life. Try to work together to find a solution that works for both of you. If your injuries are serious, have your lawyer make contact.

Consider an Insurance Claim Before Legal Action

If you have suffered serious injuries as a result of the dog bite, you may want to consider pursuing legal action against the owner who may have Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance to cover the damages. This can be a difficult decision to make, especially if the owner is a friend, but it is important to consider your options carefully. Once again, for serious injuries, have a lawyer deal with this by contacting the dog owner in a polite and respectful manner, because if there is any insurance coverage, dealing with the insurer is best done by your lawyer. If there is no insurance coverage, it may not make sense to pursue any claim beyond establishing that as a fact. Having the lawyer do the initial investigation avoids the potential problem of the dog owner saying “What do you mean, I need to show you my insurance records? Are you calling me a liar?”

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can also help you negotiate with the owner’s insurance company and represent you in court if necessary.

While being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, it is important to remember that you have legal rights and options. By following these tips, you can make sure that your health and safety are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Retain an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney at Jensen Phelan Law Firm

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we understand the serious physical and emotional impact that a dog bite can have on a victim and their loved ones. That’s why we are committed to providing compassionate and skilled legal representation to our clients. Our dog bite attorneys have a proven track record of success in dog bite cases and will work tirelessly to help you recover the compensation you deserve. 

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, don’t wait to seek legal help. With Jensen Phelan Law Firm on your side, you can feel confident that your legal rights are protected and that you have a strong advocate fighting for you. Contact us today for a free assessment of your case and an explanation of your rights by completing our contact form on our website or calling (928) 778-2660.