To most of us, pets are a part of the family. We treat them with love, companionship, and care. Unfortunately, not everyone shows the same devotion to their animals. In fact, some people neglect their pets or even abuse them, which can lead to aggression. Some animals are innately aggressive. Arizona law provides recourse to victims of animal attacks. If you or a loved one has recently sustained a domestic animal bite or other injury from an animal, our attorneys can help.
THE STRICT LIABILITY RULE FOR DOG BITES
Arizona is one of a handful of states that has a “strict liability rule” when it comes to canine bites. This dog bite statute makes pet-owners legally responsible for injuries in most scenarios. Some states allow owners a pass when they didn’t know a pet was dangerous, which makes it more difficult to obtain compensation. Arizona law, however, states that owners are responsible for the actions of their pets, even if they did not have reason to believe a pet was dangerous.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. To collect compensation, victims must be able to say they were in a public place or were lawfully in the space where a dog or other animal bit them. In other words, owners cannot be strictly liable for the actions of their pets if someone was trespassing or committing a crime on their property.
This strict liability rule only applies in the first year after the bite. Between years one and two, regular negligence and its defenses apply.
If you suffer a dog bite, you may face more than just a flesh wound. Saliva transfers rabies and allows it to make its way into your blood stream, and to the brain. Often, there are no obvious signs of rabies until several months later when it has already made it to the neurological system, at which point it is usually too late for treatment.
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you should wash the wound for at least five minutes using soap and water. You should also seek treatment from a doctor, who can determine if you need further treatment. If so, you will receive a series of anti-rabies shots that stimulate production of antibodies and protect against rabies infections.
Animal control will also monitor the animal for signs of rabies. Ignoring the potential for rabies can be a costly medical mistake that can cause greater damages than a single dog bite wound. It is also important to seek medical help if you suffer scratches during the attack, in case the dog’s salvia contacts an open scratch wound. Your rabies treatments may be eligible for compensation.
Dog bite cases can be easily mishandled by an inexperienced lawyer. At Gage Mathers, we have handled dog bite cases for decades and know all the common mistakes to avoid.