Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys / Phoenix Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
With mild weather, a plethora of hiking trails, and plenty of dog-friendly housing and shopping accommodations, Phoenix is often mentioned as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.
However, dog ownership comes with responsibilities, including protecting others from being injured from the dog’s bite. Arizona holds dog owners accountable for injuries their dogs cause to others, even if the dog owner had no reason to believe their dog would bite.
If you’ve experienced an injury due to a dog bite, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury through a personal injury claim. An experienced Phoenix dog bite attorney from Hutzler Law can explain this process in greater detail for you and explain the types of services our firm provides to dog bite victims to assist them with their claims.
At Hutzler Law, we have a passion for pursuing justice. We offer our clients personalized legal advice and treat every case as if it were going to court. Though many of the personal injury cases we accept end with successful negotiations, planning for trial keeps us sharp and helps us create robust cases backed by our knowledge and experience. Though we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, we stand by our solemn promise to put the best interests of our clients first.
Call us at (480) 841-9761 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We can’t wait to serve you.
Dog bite injuries can lead to life-long consequences. If you have been attacked by a dog, speak with the Hutzler Law team today and learn your rights!Talk to Us
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Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year. Of those bites, around 800,000 will result in the need for medical care. One of the most difficult aspects of that care is properly treating the wound to protect the victim from infection.
Dogs carry several different types of bacteria in their mouths, and around half of all dog bites will become infected. Some bacterial infections from dog bite wounds include staphylococcus, streptococcus, pasteurella, and capnocytophaga. Additionally, being bitten by a dog not vaccinated for rabies can increase the risk of acquiring this often-lethal infection.
Dogs bite for several reasons, most often when stressed or scared about a situation, or:
Contrary to popular belief, dog bites aren’t relegated to a certain breed. In truth, all dogs have the propensity to bite in certain circumstances.
Children are most commonly the victims of dog bites because they lack understanding of the proper way to approach a dog or the need to take caution when approaching an unfamiliar dog. Because of the child’s smaller stature, they are most likely to suffer bite injuries to the face. Dogs who are not spayed or neutered have a higher likelihood of biting.
Arizona follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means at when a dog bites someone in a public place or who lawfully enters private property, the dog’s owner must compensate the victim for the injury, even if the owner had no reason to believe that their dog was prone to aggression.
This makes seeking compensation for the injury easier for dog bite injury claimants, as they are not required to prove that the owner had previous knowledge of their dog’s aggression or that the dog owner’s negligence resulted in the bite.
Many states across the U.S. follow a one-bite rule, which states that the dog’s owner is only liable for the expenses of injuries caused by their pet if they knew the dog was capable of biting. In one-bite rule states the dog is permitted to bite once without consequence to the owner. However, subsequent bites will result in liability.
While strict liability is the rule in most dog bite cases, the dog’s owner is not liable for:
The Maricopa County Animal Control Center (MCACC) handles dog bite complaints. When MCACC receives a report of a dog bite occurring in Phoenix, either phoned-in or online, their field officers begin investigating.
The investigation generally begins by quarantining the dog at home or in a shelter for ten days to observe them for signs of rabies. The quarantine will likely be at home if the dog’s owner can show proof of rabies vaccination. If, after ten days, the dog is not showing any signs of rabies infection, it will receive a vaccination if necessary and be sent home with its owner.
If the dog bite occurred while the victim was on public property and the dog’s owner allowed the dog off their property without a leash, they may receive a citation and must appear in court.
At their initial appearance, they must enter a plea. If they plead guilty to the charge, the court may fine them and order them to license the dog. If they plead not guilty, it will schedule a trial.
Whether the owner of the dog that bit you receives a citation, you may seek compensation for your injury. This process usually begins with a claim against the at-fault party’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. The insurance companies who provide these policies usually cover expenses associated with the injury up to the policy’s limits. Most homeowner’s policies carry limits of between $100,000 to $300,000.
Some insurance companies will not insure homeowners with a dangerous dog breed. In contrast, others will provide coverage but require the owner to sign a waiver of liability for expenses associated with dog bites. Many insurers will not ask about the breed of the dog unless someone already filed a claim. At that point, the insurer may consider the dog high-risk, and the homeowner can face non-renewal of their policy or higher premiums.
If the at-fault dog owner’s insurance provider fails to compensate the claim in full, the claimant can file the claim in civil court and let a judge or jury determine liability and compensation.
Individuals who have filed a dog bite claim can seek compensation for the expenses of their injury and the psychological impacts the injury has had on their life.
Some examples of the expenses and impacts commonly appearing in dog bite injury claims include:
An experienced attorney can assist their client with a dog bite claim by:
While we cannot tell you what you should do in those circumstances, we can remind you will not file a claim against your friend personally but against her insurance policy. It is why people carry homeowner’s or renter’s policies. If you do not file a dog bite claim, you will need to pay for the expenses of your injury.
As noted, children are most often the victims of dog bites, and their injuries are often worse than adult dog bite injuries. When a dog bites a child in Phoenix, their parents or legal guardians may file a claim on their behalf, or they can wait until the child reaches 18, at which point the child will have two years to file the claim on their own.
Our experienced legal team can help you explore your legal options for obtaining compensation for your child’s injury.
While claimants often want to know what the “average” claim is worth, the truth is that there’s no such thing as an average claim. Instead, each case is unique in what caused the bite, the injuries and complications that resulted, the amount of insurance the at-fault dog owner carries, what income the claimant earned before the injury, whether they will lose earning capacity because of the injury, and much more.
Most of these claims resolve through settlements.
The attorneys at Hutzler Law are far less concerned about what the average dog bite claim is worth and far more interested in obtaining the maximum compensation available to you for your claim.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations on most personal injury claims—including dog bite claims—is two years after the date on which the injury occurred.
The experienced legal team at Hutzler Law treats every claim as though it will be prosecuted in court, even though most will likely end via a negotiated settlement. This approach ensures the client’s claim is as strong as possible. We have daily staff meetings to ensure that the entire team is on the same page and working toward the same goal: getting you paid for your injuries. For more information about seeking compensation after a dog bite, contact us at (602) 730-4530 for a free case evaluation.
4323 N 12th St, Suite 101,
Phoenix, AZ 85014
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