When dogs attack, they can cause significant injuries to their victims. Dog bite injuries are often physically and emotionally traumatic. Children and the elderly are especially at risk in dog attacks and can suffer fatal injuries. Victims of dog attacks in Arizona may be able to hold pet owners accountable. If a dog in Glendale recently bit you, take the right steps toward personal and financial recovery.
Collect Information at the Scene
Collect information available to you at the scene of the dog attack. This includes the pet owner’s name, a description of the dog, where the incident happened and the names of any witnesses. Your Glendale personal injury lawyer may need this information to help you hold the dog owner liable for your injuries. Take photographs of the dog and your injuries, if possible. If the dog bite caused serious injuries, report the incident to Animal Care and Control. They may need to quarantine the dog while they conduct an investigation.
Go to the Hospital
Take care of your physical health by going to a doctor for dog bite injury treatment. Go to the hospital as soon as possible after an attack. Typical treatments for dog bites include cleaning the wound, sterilizing it to prevent infections and applying a bandage. More serious bite injuries may require stitches or reconstructive surgeries. You may also need rabies shots if the dog was not up to date on its vaccinations. Keep copies of all treatment-related medical documents and hospital bills for future reference.
Learn Arizona’s Dog Bite Law
Next, protect your rights as a dog attack victim by learning about related dog bite laws in Arizona. Each state has a unique way of handling dog bite incidents. Pet owners are often liable for dog bites since animals are property in the eyes of state law. This makes pet owners equal to property owners, with the same responsibilities to keep their properties safe for others. This responsibility includes being accountable for any injuries a dog may cause.
Arizona is a strict liability dog bite state, meaning you do not have to prove the pet owner was negligent to obtain compensation. The necessary elements for a claim are that your injuries stemmed from a dog bite and that you were in a public place or legally on private property when the bite occurred. You would only need to establish negligence if your case involved something other than a dog bite, such as a dog damaging your property or jumping on you.
Prepare for Possible Defenses
If you file a dog bite injury claim in Glendale, the pet owner will have the opportunity to present a defense. A common defense is the victim’s comparative negligence. Arizona’s pure comparative negligence law states that the courts will diminish a victim’s compensation award by his or her percentage of fault. If the pet owner can prove you instigated the attack in some way, such as by trespassing or provoking the dog, you could lose some or all of your available compensation. In Arizona, however, you could be 99% at fault and still recover some compensation.
Find Out How Much Your Case Is Worth
Contact a Glendale dog bite attorney to arrange a free consultation about your recent attack. An attorney can listen to your story, evaluate your case and let you know if you have grounds for a civil claim. A personal injury claim against the pet owner could result in several types of compensation for your damages.
- Current medical costs
- Foreseeable future medical expenses
- Missed income from lost time at work
- Dog-related property repairs
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish (including post-traumatic stress disorder)
The value of your dog bite injury claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and how much they impact your life. If you suffered permanent scarring or disfigurement, for example, your case could be worth a considerable amount. Even for less serious dog bite injuries, however, you could recover at least the costs of your related bills. Working with a personal injury attorney can help you fight for maximum compensation.