Dog Bite Laws: Are They Really Just for Dog Bite Incidents?

Dog growls at man

Dog bite laws seem to be pretty self-explanatory. If someone’s dog bites someone else, then the victim will have to look to their state’s dog bite laws to figure out if they can file a claim for compensation from the dog’s owner. Many states have strict liability rules that state the dog’s owner can be held liable for the dog’s actions, even if they had no reason to think their dog would ever intentionally hurt someone.

However, dog bite laws are sometimes interpreted by courts as the foundation for any other sort of animal attack. For example, if a housecat scratches and partially blinds a welcome guest, then the victim could likely bring a claim against the cat’s owner, even if the cat had always been friendly and mild-mannered before the attack.

If you are hurt by someone else’s pet while visiting their property, then the root of your case will be premises liability law. In such a case, the animal will pose an unreasonable hazard to visitors, and it is the property controller’s responsibility to make certain such hazards cause no harm. If you’re hurt by a pet while in public, then the situation could be interpreted a little differently under the law, but the responsibility to control an animal still falls on an animal’s owner, not other people interacting with it.

Pay Close Attention to Your State’s Dog Bite Statutes

While dog bite laws can be interpreted by a court to apply to other forms of animal attacks, this is not always the case. Some states have written specific statutes to describe dog bite liability. Arizona, for example, has Section 11-1025 (Arizona Revised Statutes), which requires injuries to be caused by a dog’s bite specifically. If a large dog knocks you over and you suffer an injury because of it, then that statute no longer applies to your case.

To figure out the details of a dog bite or animal attack claim, it is always helpful to speak with a local personal injury attorney. They can hear your story and figure out which statute applies before building your claim. Meanwhile, you only need to focus on trying to recuperate from your injuries by following your doctor’s orders as closely as you can.

Injured by a dog or another type of pet while visiting a friend in Phoenix, Arizona? Call (623) 207-1555 to connect with Rafi Law Group. We can figure out if you have a valid claim during a no-obligation consultation.

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