Dog bites are serious business in Arizona, and there are multiple related laws as a result. If you have been bitten by a dog, or if you own a dog in that has bitten someone in Arizona, you need to know about these important state laws that affect your right to compensation or your protection against litigation. The information below covers questions about dog bite liability such as dog ownership, the location of incidences, what exempts the owner from liability, and the time limit on liability. As always, don’t hesitate to call your trusted attorney if you have any further questions:
Arizona laws about handling animals are found in under Article 6 and 6.1 in Title 11 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The following sections describe the statutes found there.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite in Arizona?
According to Article 11-1025, the owner of the dog is liable for the dog bite. However, according to Article 11-1020, the liability can also be placed on any person responsible for the dog at the time that damages are inflicted. This is true even if that person is not the owner. If you are ever in charge of a dog in Arizona, make sure it is impeccably trained or keep the dog on a leash when it is not confined safely on private property.
What About Dog Bite Law on Public Vs. Private Property?
Article 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes states that the dog owner is responsible if the dog bite victim was lawfully on public property or private property. A person is lawfully present on the dog owner’s property according to Article 11-1026.
So if you are a dog owner and your dog bites an invited guest on your property, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
What Does the Law Say About a Dog “At Large?”
Some people think that if a dog is outside of its confinement or otherwise acting outside of the supervision or knowledge of the dog’s owner, that the owner is not responsible for its actions. This is a misconception. If a dog is at large, for example roaming the streets without a leash, the owner is still liable for any damages inflicted.
When is the Dog Owner Not Liable for Damages?
For dog owners in Arizona, the law is quite severe. They are almost always liable if their dog bites someone. This holds true whether the bite occurs on private property, public property, with the owner’s knowledge, or without the owner’s knowledge. The owner’s only defense against damages is if the victim intentionally provoked the dog. That means that a reasonable person would need to deem that the victim’s actions or the circumstances were clearly responsible for provoking the dog when it would not have otherwise attacked the person.The full description is found in Article 11-1027 of Arizona’s statutes.
Limitation on Time
It is important to understand that the time limit for the application of these statutes is limited. The liability of damages for dog bites expires after only one year (12-541). If you are seeking damages for a dog bite that occurred in Arizona, you need to act quickly.
It is always best to be cautious with your dog or when you are around other peoples’ dogs. Dog bites are all too common in Arizona, and they can affect entire families and communities. If you have been bitten by a dog recently, be sure to act quickly to act on your rights to recovery. And if your dog has bitten someone in Arizona, you need to take measures to protect yourself from liability. Call the offices of your trusted attorney to get expert advice on these matters and to exercise your rights.