According to recent statistics, over 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites annually.
The bites can cause excruciating pain and infections. Although Arizona is one of the most pet-friendly jurisdictions in the United States, there were over 30,000 emergency cases and more than 2,000 in-patient cases due to dog bites between 2008 and 2012.
Who is liable for dog bites in Arizona? Read on to find out.
If you are a dog owner in the state, the law will impose strict liability on you if your dog bites other people. In Maricopa County, you are required to report the incidents to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
If your dog is involved, it should be confined by the authority if possible until investigations are completed.
If you incur injuries from a dog, the state’s law allows you to make a negligence claim as an alternative to strict liability. In such situations, you will need to prove that the dog’s owner failed to exercise reasonable care, and that resulted in the injuries.
For example, you can sue a dog owner for failing to put a leash on their dog.
When filing a report, you are required to provide a detailed description of the dog. For example, you should reveal the breed, color, size, and any other unique features of a dog for easy identification.
Defenses for Dog Bites in Arizona
The state’s law allows two main defenses in dog bite cases.
First, if you can prove that the victim of a dog bite provoked your dog, you will not be responsible for damages and costs. However, the law does not provide a clear definition of what amounts to provocation.
Secondly, if victims get dog bites after getting into your property without your consent, you will not be required to pay for their medical expenses and damages. However, the law requires you to warn people that you have a dog.
What Damages can you recover?
If you win your case against a negligent dog owner in Arizona, you may be awarded the following damages:
This aims to indemnify you for the dog bites and covers costs such as medical expenses and lost income.
You may also get damages for the pain and suffering as a result of dog bites.
If you can prove that a dog owner was grossly negligent, a court of law can also award punitive damages.