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Dog Bites Lawyer in Scottsdale

The United States Postal Service (USPS) reports that more than 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs while delivering mail in Arizona in 2022, making Phoenix the ninth city with the highest number of dog attacks on USPS employees when compared to 36 other major cities in the US. While postal workers deal with dangerous dogs daily, dog attacks can affect anyone and cause serious injuries that often require surgery. Young children and senior citizens are especially vulnerable to dog bite injuries. So, what happens if you or a loved one is hurt by a vicious dog in Arizona? Learn the facts about dog bite laws in Arizona and see how a Scottsdale dog bite attorney may be able to help you protect your rights as a victim.

What Are the Dog Bite Laws in Arizona?

In some states, dog owners are subject to a “one-bite rule,” which makes a dog owner responsible for injuries caused by their dog to another person only after the dog has a known history of vicious propensity and at least one other bite. This makes it difficult for dog bite victims to recover compensation as they often need to prove that the dog has bitten before and that the owner was negligent.

In Arizona, however, dog bite victims do not have to prove the dog that hurt them has a bite history. Dog owners in The Grand Canyon State are subject to a strict liability rule. If a dog bites someone in Arizona, the owner is responsible for damages regardless of the dog’s past behavior. This rule applies to attacks on public or private property, even if the owner had no idea the dog was dangerous or that it had a history of biting.

What Is Lawful Presence, and How Does It Affect a Scottsdale Dog Bite Case?

An essential aspect of the Arizona dog bite law is that the victim can only claim damages for a dog attack on private property if they were lawfully present on that property when the attack occurred. But what does it mean to be lawfully present? Simply put, if you are a guest or a customer who has been invited by the property owner or have been given the property owner’s consent to be present on the property, you are considered to be lawfully present. The same goes for someone who enters the property to perform a legitimate duty, such as USPS workers delivering the mail or meter readers from the utility company.

In contrast, someone who is trespassing onto the property when the dog attack occurs may not be able to claim damages and get compensation for any injuries. This is because they won’t likely be able to prove that they were lawfully present or had the legal right to be on the property. Proving lawful presence is an important element of a solid dog bite claim and a common defense tactic used by dog owners, as they can try to allege that you were not invited or authorized to be on the property.

Can You Sue the Owner of a Dog Who Bit You?

There are a few different ways to recover compensation for a dog bite. In many cases, the dog bite victim may be able to file an insurance claim to recover damages. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have coverage for visitors who are injured while on the property. This may be an option if, for example, your friend’s dog or a neighbor’s dog hurt you, and you want to get compensated for your injuries without creating conflict with the dog owner. In this case, the dog owner’s insurance company would be responsible for paying you for your damages, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.

In other cases, insurance coverage may not be available. That’s when you may need to choose litigation. Depending on what happened, you may be able to file a strict liability claim against the dog owner, and in some cases, you may file a negligence claim as well. In addition, if the person who was in possession of the dog violated any municipal ordinance or state laws, you may also be able to hold them liable because they violated the law.

For example, many cities and towns, such as Scottsdale, have laws that require dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash while in public areas. If you were injured by a dog who was being walked without a leash at a park, you may have a negligence per se cause of action as well as a strict liability cause of action. If you are considering taking your case to the courtroom and filing a dog bite lawsuit, speak to a skilled dog bite lawyer in Scottsdale to learn the best approach for your legal claim.

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in Scottsdale?

In Arizona, there are two different statutes of limitation applicable to dog bite cases – it all depends on whether you are filing a lawsuit based on strict liability or the lawsuit is negligence-based like any other personal injury case. The state’s strict liability statute allows you up to one year to take legal action, counting from the date when the dog bite happened. If you miss that deadline, you may still file a personal injury lawsuit, but you will likely need to prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to have a successful claim and secure a fair settlement. If you or a loved one are in a situation where legal action is necessary, contact a Scottsdale, Arizona lawyer for personal injury cases to represent you passionately to get the compensation that you deserve.

In other words, the sooner you act, the better your chances are to recover maximum compensation. At the Wilson Ortiz Law Firm, you can get the strong Scottsdale dog bite legal representation and advice you need to hold a negligent dog owner responsible for your injuries. Contact the Wilson Ortiz Law Firm in Scottsdale by calling 623-294-1442 and requesting a free case evaluation to learn your options.