If you own a dog or live near someone who does, you’ve probably heard at least one horror story involving a dog bite or attack. If you are a pet owner, it’s important to understand the laws in your area and to know your rights so that you can protect both yourself and your pet. If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, it’s also important to understand what legal recourse you have.
What is the One Bite Rule?
In many states, there is a “one bite rule” that says the first time a dog bites or injures someone, the owner may not be held liable for damages. The idea is that generally domestic animals do not intend to injure others, so an owner cannot know that their dog has a tendency toward being vicious until after the first incident. As a result, there may be no liability for the first incident of a dog injuring someone. If there were subsequent incidents, however, the owner now knew of the dog’s dangerousness, and the victims could demand and receive compensation.
Arizona, however, does not have a one bite rule. Instead, Arizona holds pet owners to a standard of strict liability. This means that any incident that involves a dog injuring a person is something that the dog owner is held responsible for. They do not have to know that the dog is vicious, and there does not have to be negligence involved. In Arizona, any dog bite or dog attack that results in injury is something that the owner of the dog is legally responsible for. The only exception is if the injury was a result of the victim provoking the dog.
How to Avoid Dog Injury Incidents
If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to be aware that in Arizona there is no one bite rule. You could be legally liable if your dog injures anyone, even if the dog has never shown a vicious tendency before in its life. The only time you would not be held liable is if you can show that your dog was provoked, and unfortunately, the burden of proof is on you. Compensation in dog injury cases can include medical care, pain and suffering, lost wages, and even therapy.
The best option for you, as a dog owner, is to train your dogs to behave well around others, and to keep them on a leash anytime they are outside the home. If you have a yard that you allow dogs to play in without a leash, make sure it is securely fenced in and that the dogs cannot escape by digging under or jumping over the fence.
If you are around dogs that you do not own, keep your distance unless the owner specifically says you can pet the animal. Even then, show caution and do not move abruptly toward the dog. If you see dogs running off leash in your neighborhood, stay inside until they are gone. If you feel that there are stray dogs that are causing a concern, call animal control or the animal shelter to report them. Do not try to catch the stray dogs yourself, as they may injure you.
If you’ve been injured by a dog, you can seek compensation even if it’s the first incident. There is no one bite rule in Arizona. You’ll want to consult an injury lawyer before you settle your case with an insurance company. For more information about dog bite cases, or to obtain representation for your dog bite case, contact Sonja Duckstein at 602-212-0202. I’m here to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.