Dog Bites

Phoenix Dog Bite Attorney

Arizona Dog Bite Injury Claims

Did you know that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year? Or that 885,000 people experience dog bites so severe that they require medical treatment every year?

These statistics from The National Center for Disease Control, show that Americans are significantly impacted by dog bites each and every day.

At the Rafi Law Group, our skilled attorneys have experience handling dog bite cases. We have guided numerous clients to successful settlements for their personal injury or premises liability claims related to dog bite injuries.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you should consult with a Phoenix dog bite attorney to discuss your available legal options. However before you do, there are a few things you can do to improve your legal defense.

If you have suffered a dog bite injury, you should:

  • Get Medical Assistance: Even if the injury seems small and minor. Dog bites have the potential to transmit bacteria, viruses, and rabies.
  • Report it: A police report can be essential evidence if your case goes to court. When you call, make sure you say that you were "attacked." The law considers dog bites and attacks to be the same thing.
  • Contact Animal Control: Animal control officers can validate a police report and the dog's owner may be fined or cited. They can also order rabies tests and require the owner to keep the dog confined, on a leash, or muzzled. 
  • Document Everything: Get the dog's owner's name, address, and insurance information. You should also try to get the same information for any landlords or property owners that can be held liable for your injuries. Clear photos of your injury, bite marks, the dog, and the area where the incident occurred can come in handy if your case goes to court. However, only take pictures if the environment is safe.

Arizona Dog Bite Law

According to A.R.S. 11-1027, the dog owner is liable for injuries sustained by another person as a result of a dog bite and if the bite was suffered while the person was in a public place or lawfully in a public place. The only exception is if the victim clearly provoked the dog.

While dogs can scratch people if their nails are untrimmed, the law only applies to dog bites. Likewise, Arizona’s bite law is a strict liability law, meaning the law applies even if the owner didn’t know the dog would bite or if it happened on private property. Liability means that the owner bears the financial responsibility for injuries.

However, the law doesn’t protect people who were trespassing on private property. For example, if someone was trying to sneak into a house to commit theft, he or she would not be protected if the house was defended by the homeowner’s dog.

Statutes of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims in AZ

There is also a statute of limitations for dog bite liability. In Arizona, a person injured by a dog must file a premises liability suit within 2 years of the date of the bite. If an injured person fails to meet the deadline, the court will almost certainly throw the case out before hearing it.

Likewise, a person isn’t protected by the law if he or she provoked the dog. A dog is considered provoked when the injured person does something a reasonable person would avoid doing. For example, a reasonable person would avoid kicking a dog because he or she knows it would likely provoke the dog to bite back. A person who kicks a dog and is then bitten would not be protected by the Arizona dog bite law.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite injuries can vary in severity, ranging from minor to more serious injuries. Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Puncture Wounds: Dogs have sharp teeth, and their bites can result in puncture wounds. These wounds may not bleed much but can go deep, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Lacerations: Some dog bites can cause cuts or tears in the skin and underlying tissues, leading to lacerations. These injuries may require stitches or other forms of wound closure.
  • Bruises: Dog bites can also cause bruising, which occurs when small blood vessels beneath the skin break, resulting in discoloration.
  • Infections: Due to the bacteria present in a dog's mouth, there is a risk of infection with any dog bite. Infections can lead to redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes systemic symptoms.
  • Nerve Damage: In more severe cases, dog bites may damage nerves, leading to numbness, weakness, or other neurological symptoms in the affected area.
  • Fractures: Strong bites or bites to the bones can result in fractures. This is more common in children or older individuals whose bones may be more susceptible to breakage.
  • Scarring: Dog bites can leave permanent scars, especially if the wound requires surgical intervention or if it heals poorly.
  • Emotional Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, dog bites can cause emotional trauma, particularly in children. Fear and anxiety related to dogs may persist long after the physical wounds have healed.

What Do I Need to Seek Compensation for my Dog Bite?

If you've been bitten by a dog and are seeking compensation, there are certain steps you can take to strengthen your case.

Here's what you may need to seek compensation for a dog bite in Arizona:

Medical Documentation:

  • Keep detailed records of all medical treatments you receive for the dog bite.
  • Gather medical bills, receipts, and invoices related to hospital visits, surgeries, medications, and any other healthcare expenses.

Photographic Evidence:

  • Take clear and detailed photographs of your injuries, including bite marks, bruises, and any visible scarring or disfigurement.
  • Document the progression of your injuries over time with additional photographs.

Incident Report:

  • If possible, file an incident report with local animal control or law enforcement. Include details about the dog, the incident, and any witnesses.
  • Obtain a copy of the incident report for your records.

Witness Statements:

  • Collect statements from any witnesses who saw the dog bite incident. Their accounts can be valuable in supporting your case.

Dog Owner Information:

  • Obtain the contact information of the dog owner, including their name, address, and phone number.
  • Identify the dog's breed and any relevant details about the dog's behavior.

Proof of Dog Ownership:

  • Gather evidence establishing the dog owner's ownership, such as licensing information or veterinary records.

Insurance Information:

  • Determine if the dog owner has homeowner's insurance that may cover dog bite liability.
  • Obtain information about the dog owner's insurance policy, including the insurance company's name and policy number.

Lost Wages Documentation:

  • If you've missed work due to the dog bite, document the days you were unable to work.
  • Gather evidence of your income, such as pay stubs or employment records.

Communication Records:

  • Keep records of any communication with the dog owner, their insurance company, or any other involved parties.

Legal Representation:

  • Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in dog bite cases. They can provide guidance, assess the strength of your case, and represent your interests.

Speak with Our Phoenix Dog Bite Attorneys

Our law firm is dedicated to meeting your legal needs, and can provide informative services from start to finish. If you have suffered a dog bite, we can help you pursue compensation for you injuries. Our Phoenix dog bite lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in Arizona’s courts.

Call (623) 207-1555 to get started on your free case evaluation today.