In Arizona, dog owners are held to strict liability pursuant to state statutes 11-1020 and 11-1025(a). These statutes assert that if a dog bites or causes injury to a person other than its owner, the owner can be held for committing a Class 6 felony. Provided the victim did not provoke the dog, felony charges could still apply even if its owner was genuinely unaware of the dog’s vicious nature. There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing claims in dog bite cases, but because of the way the statute was written the protections afforded to bite victims are largely lost if a claim is not brought within the first year following the attack. Pursuant to state code 12-541, statutes of limitation apply in dog bite liability cases in Arizona, and most cases must be filed within one year of the incident(s).
In some cases, owners can claim provocation as the reason for the dog attack and thus, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 11-1027, avoid punishment. In Murdock v. Balle, for instance, the defendants were able to show that the claimant had indeed provoked the dog into an aggressive posture. This was a sufficient argument against the action for damages to prevent an award.
[There is an important distinction to be made here, however. “Provocation” is not the same thing as “assuming the risk to provoke.” In another case in the 1980’s, the Arizona State Supreme Court ruled that “contributory negligence and assumption of risk” on the part of a claimant was not enough to justify a claim’s dismissal.]
Even in relatively simple dog bite cases in Arizona, in which the owner was clearly responsible and the facts at hand are undisputed, it may behoove claimants to seek professional counsel. Recovering settlements from insurance companies can still be tricky, even when the claim seems simple. Many insurance companies will fight vehemently to avoid paying even a small claim, and the economic situation in America now only aggravates the problem. There are lots of other good reasons to seek counsel from a skilled Arizona dog bite injury lawyer. It’s impossible to gauge how a defendant may react to your legal strategy. You’re at an immediate disadvantage if your opponent takes legal counsel and you do not.
Fortunately, the husband and wife law team of Mark and Alexis Breyer can assist you in crafting a battle-ready case. We provide client service of the highest order. Some of the aspects of our care for our clients include contingency representation, 24/7 availability in the event of client emergencies, and free consultations if you’re still examining options in your case. We encourage you to contact us for a meeting if you’ve got questions about how to proceed. Alexis and Mark Breyer literally wrote the book on Arizona personal injury claims. It’s available for free on our homepage at www.BreyerLaw.com. Breyer provides free consultations.
Please peruse the remainder of DogBiteLawyersArizona.com to find out more about your rights, dog bite stats, and answers to frequently asked questions about dog bites. If you’re ready to get started, phone us now at 602-978-6400.