Did You or Your Family Member Suffer Serious Injuries Due to a Dog Bite in Scottsdale?
For over 33 years, Snyder & Wenner has been representing victims of serious dog bites and dog attacks in Scottsdale. Dogs are great companions and friends. While many are loving and friendly, some are poorly trained and aggressive. It is often not the dog’s fault, which is why in Arizona, dog owners are liable for injuries sustained if someone is victimized by a dog bite or dog attack. This is called strict liability. There are some exceptions, including if the dog was provoked. Since it is not simply a cut and dry issue, you need experienced, successful attorneys to represent you.
Why Is the Owner of the Dog Liable for a Dog Attack or Dog Bite?
Arizona’s law regarding dog bites is clear: A.R.S. § 11-1025 provides that if you are a victim of a dog bite, you may bring a lawsuit against the dog’s owner for any and all injuries and damages sustained. Since Arizona is a strict liability state, you do not need to prove that the dog had a propensity to attack or that the owner had reasonable knowledge that his or her dog might attack someone. Under the law, since the claim is made in accordance with the statute, you may only have 1 year to file your lawsuit under the strict liability rules. If more than one year has passed since you or your loved one was attacked, you may still have recourse under the law. General negligence claims in Arizona must be filed within two years of when the victim knew or should have known of the facts that would put him or her on notice to investigate a claim. This means that you would have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit. Under the general theory of negligence, however, there is no strict liability. You must, therefore, prove that the dog owner knew or should have known of his or her dog’s dangerous propensities and that he or she did nothing to prevent an attack from occurring. General negligence claims are more difficult to prove in dog bite cases, as the dog may not have ever attacked someone prior to attacking you. This is where the common thought comes from that your dog gets “one free bite” before you can be held responsible. Under strict liability, however, that is not true.
What Do I Do if I Have Been Attacked or Bitten by a Dog?
The most important thing you can do is to ensure you are in a safe, protected space. If a dog is untrained or aggressive, it may continue to attack you. Next, call 911 and report the injuries. If the attack is severe, have an ambulance come get you to take you to the hospital. At the hospital, you will be given antibiotics and you may require a consult with a plastic surgeon. The surgeon will discuss with you why surgery is needed and what future care may be required. Since we live in Arizona, the intense rays from the sun will likely require you to use a special cream to protect your injuries from further damage.
Who Do I Collect Against if I Have Been Injured by a Dog Bite?
In Arizona, all homeowners are required to maintain liability insurance on their home. If the attack occurs at the owner’s place of residence, a claim will be made against his or her homeowner’s insurance carrier. If the owner rents an apartment or house, he or she may have renters’ insurance that would cover the damages. A dog bite to the face can result in medical bills totaling more than $100,000, and scars may need future surgeries and care. It is essential to hire an experienced, successful attorney to investigate the claim and to file the necessary demand and/or lawsuit within the statute of limitations. At Snyder & Wenner, we go the extra mile. We do not just rely on the amount of the medical bills to substantiate a demand against the insurance company. We take the time to understand how the injuries have affected you and how they will continue to affect you in the future.
What Are the Laws That Pertain to Dogs That I Need to Know About?
At Snyder & Wenner, we have dedicated our careers to helping innocent victims. We also care about our community and want to make it a better, safer place. If we can stop dog bites and dog attacks from occurring in the first place, everyone would be better off. Accordingly, please understand that there are laws and ordinances in place that you are required to comply with. Scottsdale has city codes in place requiring dogs to be on a leash when they are outside of the home. This obviously does not include certain areas, such as many of Scottsdale’s dog parks, where dogs are permitted to run free within the enclosure. Phoenix Municipal Code 8-14 provides:
- Dogs are not permitted to run loose in public or on their own property.
- Dog owners must provide a way to confine or enclose their dogs on their property.
- Dog owners must provide their dog(s) with a collar when the animal is at least three months old
- If the dog is not enclosed, the owner must have his or her dog on a leash that is a maximum six feet long.
What Do I Do Now?If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury from a dog attack, contact us today. We have had unrivaled success litigating personal injury claims, and we would be happy to speak with you about your case.