Written by attorney Doug R Zanes

Dog Bites - The Law in Arizona

As a Tucson and Phoenix personal injury law firm, we talk to lots of dog bite victims. In Arizona, when a dog bite causes injuries, the owner of the dog may be legally obligated to pay the victims damages, even if the dog has never bitten before. In fact, based on Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 11-1020 and 11-1025a, Arizona is what is know as a strict liability state. This means that to be successful on a dog bite claim the victim does not need to show that the owner of a biting dog did something negligent. The victim must only show that the dog bit him and that the person the claim is brought against owned the biting dog. Nothing more. In fact, in Arizona not only is the dog owner responsible for the injuries caused by his biting dog, the person or persons (other than the owner) who are responsible for the dog at the time it bites may also be liable for the damages caused to the victim. For example, if you take a friend's dog for a walk and the dog bites someone, you may be jointly liable for the victim's damages. The statute of limitations for bringing a statutory strict liability dog bite claim is one year from the date of the bite. In addition to its statutory liability, Arizona law also imposes non-statutory liability on dog owners. This means that in addition to being able to bring a legal claim under the Arizona Revised Statues discussed above, dog bite victims may have a claim arising under local city or county ordinances. For example, if the city that you are in has a leash law and the law was violated, that violation may be a basis for a negligence claim. In addition, dog bite claims may also be brought under Arizona common law and for negligence. These claims are more difficult to prove than a strict liability claim, but they may also be made concurrently with a statutory strict liability claim. The statute of limitations for claims based on negligence and Arizona common law is two years from the date of the bite. Finally, a dog owner can be held criminally liable for his biting dog. In Arizona a dog owner is guilty of a class 6 felony if: 1. the person owns a dog that the owner knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal by a court of competent authority, and 2. the dog bites, inflicts physical injury on or attacks a human being while at large. If a dog bite victim proves liability, the victim is entitled to be compensated for his injuries and other damages. Some examples of these damages are the cost of the needed medical care, the estimated cost of any future medical care to treat wounds and reduce or eliminate scars and disfigurement, counseling costs, lost earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering. This list illustrates the types of damages a victim is entitled to but it is not a complete list. If you've been injured in a dog bite incident or any other accident, contact Zanes Law today at 520-777-7777 or 866-430-2585.

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