In Arizona when a dog bites somebody the owner of that dog is liable in almost every case.
That means, even a dog that is not dangerous that bites somebody creates a situation where the owner is responsible for paying the medical bills and all of the other associated losses allowed under the law for the dog bite injury. However, very few people have enough money to pay for their own medical bills, let alone the medical bills of somebody that their dog bit. So, how does somebody who is bit by a dog get reimbursed for their time from work, their pain, their medical bills, and their loss of enjoyment of life, scar revision, or any other effects they have as a result of the dog bite?
The answer usually is not found in trying to get the money from the actual dog owner, but through their insurance. The reason we all have insurance is to protect us if we have liability for something we’ve done wrong. Although our dog unexpectedly biting someone may not be “wrong” it is something that under the law we are responsible for. Therefore, it is insurance that will often have to protect us from that lawsuit.
That means that the person who has been bit by a dog in Arizona needs to try to seek insurance coverage. This is not always easy.
We have had cases where there was homeowners insurance that would cover the medical bills and the other losses but the owner of the dog refused to provide any information. In some cases, we have had to take these cases through a lawsuit and all the way to a default judgment and a “damages hearing” to get a judge to Order the amount that has to be paid. Thereafter, we have had times where we have had to use that judgment to gain the information we need about homeowners insurance so that our client can be compensated.
If you know somebody who has been bit by a dog and they do not know whether or not there is any responsibility on the part of the dog owner or they do not know if there is any way to get money because the owner of the dog does not have enough money to actually pay, they should absolutely seek an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney to help them through that process.