Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, but unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly. Dog bites can be traumatic experiences that leave victims with serious injuries, both physical and emotional. In Arizona, dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs under certain circumstances. However, Arizona law also provides several defenses that dog owners can use to defend against dog bite lawsuits.
Here are some common defenses used in Arizona dog bite lawsuits:
Trespassing or provocation: Arizona law states that a dog owner is not liable for injuries caused by their dog if the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property or if the victim provoked the dog. If the victim was taunting or teasing the dog, or if they were committing a crime on the owner’s property, the owner may not be held liable for any injuries caused.
Assumption of risk: If the victim knew that the dog was aggressive or had a history of biting and still chose to approach or interact with the dog, the dog owner may argue that the victim assumed the risk of being bitten. This defense is often used in cases where the victim was familiar with the dog, such as a neighbor or friend.
Contributory negligence: Arizona law allows for the defense of contributory negligence, which means that if the victim was partly responsible for their injuries, the amount of damages awarded can be reduced accordingly. For example, if the victim ignored warning signs or failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid being bitten, the dog owner may argue that the victim’s actions contributed to their injuries.
Working dogs: If the dog was a trained working dog, such as a police or military dog, the dog owner may have additional defenses available. For example, if the dog was performing its duties at the time of the bite, the dog owner may argue that the dog was acting within the scope of its employment and therefore not liable for any injuries caused.
Comparative negligence: Arizona also recognizes the defense of comparative negligence, which allows for the allocation of fault between the victim and the defendant. This means that if the victim was partly responsible for their injuries, but the dog owner was also negligent in some way, the damages awarded can be reduced proportionally to the level of fault assigned to each party.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Arizona is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bite cases. This means that the dog owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, even if they had no prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies. However, the defenses listed above can still be used to reduce or eliminate liability.
It’s also important to understand that not all injuries caused by dogs are considered “dog bites” under Arizona law. For example, injuries caused by a dog jumping on someone or scratching them with their paws may not be considered a dog bite, and different legal standards may apply.
If you have been injured by a dog in Arizona, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately and report the incident to local animal control authorities. This can help ensure that the dog is properly quarantined and observed for signs of rabies or other diseases.
Dog bite lawsuits in Arizona can be complicated and often require the expertise of a personal injury attorney. If you have been injured by a dog, it’s important to understand your rights and legal options, as well as the potential defenses that may be used by the dog owner. A qualified attorney can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Smith & Green, Attorneys At Law, P.L.L.C. can provide experienced and knowledgeable legal representation for those who have been injured in dog bite cases in Arizona. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of cases and can provide guidance and advocacy throughout the legal process.
Our attorneys can help by:
Investigating the case: Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the incident to determine liability and assess the strength of any defenses that may be used by the dog owner.
Negotiating with insurance companies: We will handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Filing a lawsuit: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, our attorneys will file a lawsuit and vigorously represent you in court.
Defending against common defenses: Our attorneys are well-versed in the common defenses used in dog bite cases in Arizona and can provide a strong defense against these arguments.
Advocating for your rights: We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that dog bite injuries can take on victims and will fight for your rights and full compensation.
At Smith & Green, Attorneys At Law, P.L.L.C., we are committed to providing compassionate and personalized legal representation to our clients. We understand that each case is unique and will work tirelessly to ensure that your individual needs and goals are met.
If you have been injured in a dog bite incident in Arizona, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.