Dog bites are common in Arizona since there are so many dog lovers in our State. Unfortunately, these incidents occur very frequently and children are often the target of vicious animals. The injuries always include some trauma as a result of a violent attack or scarring that may or may not heal over time or with scar revision. It is important to know your rights and the rights of your children under Arizona law after one of these attacks.
Arizona Law on Dog Bites
Unlike other States, a dog owner is held strictly liable after a dog bite. The person walking the dog is also held strictly liable. This simply means that fault (or liability) for the event should not be an issue. There is one exception in Arizona, and that is provocation. If the person who is bit or attacked by the dog provoked the dog, then that becomes a defense to the claim for damages. The Arizona statute states that provocation is a defense of a “reasonable person would expect that the conduct [of the victim] … would be likely to provoke a dog.” As hard as it might be to believe, the defense of provocation is made in almost all dog bite cases that make it to court.
Damages After a Dog Bite
The injuries and damages after a dog bite are not to be taken lightly. Children and adults often go through counseling and surgery. For example, some of our clients go through plastic surgery on their mouths after an attack (mostly children) and some have gone through ligament surgery for attacks on their legs and ankles. Attacks by several dogs can be even worse and can lead to changes that cannot be fully remedied by surgery or scar revision treatments.
Choosing an Attorney After a Dog Bite
While there are literally hundreds of personal injury attorneys to choose from in every major city in America, we invite you to conduct some research to find an attorney who will not only represent your bests interests but attorneys who have a passion for their work and have a winning record. Our attorneys get to know about our clients injuries, we speak with the client’s doctors and listen to their recommendations and we visit the sites of the attacks to understand how the victims were attacked. Moreover, paper medical records only tell half of the story. The person’s injuries as demonstrated through changes in their behavior and activities fully explain the extent of the victim’s losses.
Many of our clients have a change in personality and they change the way that they interact with their families, spouses and friends. Our clients tell us about their loss of activities such as no longer going out to social gatherings and being ashamed of scarring. Victims will lose time with their families at birthday parties, weddings, and anniversaries–this is time that they will never be able to recover. These are only a few examples of the changes that dog bite victims can experience. This is why it is extremely important to know the client and express all of these losses to a jury or an arbitrator. An insurance adjuster may not be very receptive to these losses and this is where you have to pursue your claim in court.