How Much Can You Sue for After a Dog Attack?

Jason Hutzler May 25, 2022

A dog attack can cause serious, ongoing injuries and immense distress. According to Arizona law, you have the right to file a compensation claim any time you suffer injuries in a dog attack. Knowing how much compensation you can expect to claim may make navigating your dog bite claim easier.

Arizona Dog Bite Laws: An Overview

Arizona has strict liability laws when it comes to dog attacks. According to Arizona law, the dog owner bears liability whenever a dog bites someone else. Dog bite laws apply even if the owner did not know the dog had any vicious tendencies and the dog never bit anyone in the past.

You can sue for compensation after a dog bite if the injury occurred because of the dog bite in a public or private place where the victim had the legal right to go.

How Much Can You Sue For After a Dog Attack in Arizona?

According to Arizona Law, you can pursue three types of compensation related to dog attacks.

  • Economic damages include direct financial damages caused because of the dog attack. Economic damages include the damages you can calculate directly and that have a strict financial correlation, like medical bills, to the injury.
  • Non-economic damages, also known as damages for pain and suffering, include the non-tangible elements of your dog bite. You may experience losses that have nothing to do with lost money because of the dog attack.
  • Punitive damages, usually assigned when a dog owner commits an act of gross negligence during the dog attack—for example, encouraging the dog to bite or attack you.

Arizona law does not assign a strict amount you can claim as part of a dog attack claim. A dog bite attorney can break down the losses for which you can claim compensation, giving you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect as part of the claim.

An attorney may look at several key elements of the incident and your claim to determine how much you can expect to win after a dog attack.

Did you have the legal right to be on the property at the time of the accident?

If you entered private property illegally, you likely will not have grounds to file a dog bite claim and may not recover compensation for your dog attack injuries. Likewise, you may not have the right to compensation for a dog attack caused by your direct provocation of the dog.

What injuries did you suffer in the dog attack?

Dog bites may cause severe injuries. Not only can a dog bite mean dangerous puncture wounds, leaving substantial scarring behind, but dog attacks often involve other injuries.

You may have:

  • Broken bones due to the force of the dog’s jaws
  • Infection
  • Dangerous blood loss

These injuries can require considerable medical treatment, including ongoing medical treatment. Any dog attack may require emergency medical attention. Doctors can clean and treat the wound at the hospital to prevent infection. You may also require stitches or bandages to help keep the wound closed and prevent further infection risk.

You might need additional medical care if you suffered more severe injuries in the dog attack. For example, suppose a dog attack broke one of your bones. In addition to immediate emergency care, you may need multiple follow-up visits with your medical care provider. You may need surgery to help set the broken bone. You may also need physical therapy to help you regain your strength after the cast comes off.

A dangerous infection caused by a dog attack can also increase your recovery time. You might need to spend time in the hospital while recovering from your injuries.

Furthermore, some people may require plastic surgery to help repair the scarring and other damage caused by a dog attack.

Keep track of all the medical bills associated with your dog attack. Talk to your lawyer about your required medical care because of the dangerous attack. The more medical care needed, the higher your care expenses and the more compensation you can claim for your injuries in the dog attack.

Did you need psychological care following the dog attack?

Dog attacks can cause a great deal of trauma. In many cases, this trauma can last long-term after the incident. Some people, for example, may suffer ongoing fear of a certain dog breed or PTSD symptoms any time they see a dog.

In some cases, you may go through therapy to help you cope with the dog attack. Therapy can address ongoing anxiety or PTSD and make managing those symptoms easier. However, it can also prove extremely expensive.

Talk to your lawyer about whether you received a psychological diagnosis, including anxiety, PTSD, or depression, following the dog attack and what steps you took to receive treatment for those conditions.

Did you have multiple visits with a psychologist? Did you work with a psychiatrist? You may have the right to pursue compensation for these expenses.

Did your dog bite injuries cause you to miss time at work?

Sometimes, even minor dog attack injuries can interfere with your ability to work. For example, suppose you spend most of your day typing. You need dexterity in your hands to complete most of your work responsibilities. Injury to your hand from a dog attack could interfere with dexterity. You might have bandages that prevent you from moving your fingers normally. These injuries could sometimes cause enough pain to prevent you from typing.

You might also suffer more severe injuries, making it more difficult to complete other tasks. Dog bite injuries could prevent you from working on the floor in a factory setting or taking care of responsibilities on a construction site. The more severe your injuries, the longer you may have to spend out of work.

While some people can return to work soon after a dog attack, even if they have lingering effects from their injuries, others may have more trouble getting back to work while healing. Some employers may also require that their employees wait until they recover from their injuries to get back to work, especially if they sustained injuries that could make it unsafe for them to work.

Discuss the time you missed at work because of the dog attack with your lawyer. A lawyer can help you better understand what compensation you might reasonably expect for your losses.

What suffering did you face as a result of the dog attack?

Dog attacks can cause a great deal of trauma and pain. Talk to your lawyer about how your dog bite injuries have affected you and how you can establish that suffering with evidence.

Physical Pain

A dog bite can cause significant physical pain, which may linger throughout the healing process. Pain may worsen in cases where you need to use the injured area regularly or when a dog attack occurs around a sensitive area.

Physical Limitations

Talk to your lawyer about your physical limitations as a direct result of the dog attack. Do the dog attack injuries prevent you from caring for yourself? Do you need help with tasks you would normally handle on your own? Have your injuries prevented you from engaging in your regular activities and hobbies? For example, a dog bite on your hand could make it more difficult to hold a video game controller, while a dog bite on the leg could interfere heavily with your usual workout routine.

Emotional Challenges

Did you suffer significant emotional limitations as a result of your dog attack? If so, you may have the right to pursue compensation for the trauma accompanying a dog attack. Many people may suffer from PTSD due to their dog attack injuries. Others may suffer from increased anxiety around dogs, making it difficult for them to manage their day-to-day activities, including simply going to the park or other areas where they might encounter dogs.

The aftermath of a dog attack can also lead to several potential emotional limitations that may make it difficult for you to interact with loved ones or take care of normal tasks at home.

If you suffered emotional trauma or limitations as a direct result of a dog attack, talk to your attorney about those limitations and how you can include them as part of your claim.

How Can You Maximize Your Compensation Following an Arizona Dog Attack?

After suffering injuries in a dog attack in Arizona, you may need to maximize your compensation as much as possible. The compensation from a dog attack can help you recover from your injuries and rebuild your life.

1. Get all the necessary information about the dog that attacked you.

Provide photo evidence. Learn who owns the dog. Find out, if possible, whether the dog has attacked anyone else in the past. Going in with all the information can make it easier to determine what compensation the dog’s owner may owe you after the attack.

2. Follow any steps recommended by your medical care provider to maximize your recovery.

Your doctor may recommend that you take specific steps to recover from your dog bite injuries. For example, you may need to keep the wound clean and covered while it heals so that you do not introduce a further risk of infection. Sometimes, your medical care provider may recommend stitches or additional procedures to help clean the wound.

Carefully follow all these steps, including avoiding any activity that could cause you to suffer a higher risk of infection. If you ignore your medical care provider and it ends up causing you to suffer an infection, you may have more trouble receiving full compensation for your injuries.

3. Contact a dog bite accident lawyer to learn more about your rights and how to file for compensation.

Often, dealing with insurance companies or dog owners alone can prove incredibly frustrating as you pursue compensation for your injuries. The dog’s owner may want to minimize their financial losses as much as possible. In some cases, particularly if you need to sue the owner directly rather than going through an insurance company, the dog’s owner may try to guilt or pressure you into accepting a low settlement. On the other hand, a lawyer can help ensure that you know how much compensation you reasonably deserve for your injuries and can help you establish your full right to compensation as you progress with a claim.

Contact a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer to Learn More

If you suffered injuries in a dog attack, working with a lawyer can provide you with more information about your rights and give you vital support as you navigate your claim.

Contact a dog bite injury lawyer for your free consultation regarding your dog attack injuries and your right to compensation.