Being bitten by a dog can be a huge disruption in your life. Besides the shock, pain, and initial upset of being bitten, there’s also the financial burden of doctor’s visits, the time commitment and loss of wages from visiting the doctor and recovering, plus the potential for long-lasting emotional trauma and anxiety. It would have been better if the bite had never happened in the first place, but since you can’t change it, you can settle for the compensation a good dog bite attorney can get you. Here’s everything you need to know about getting compensation for a dog bite in Arizona.
Arizona’s Stance on Compensation for a Dog Bite
While many other states have negligence and dangerous dog laws, enabling them to claim ignorance the first time their dog bites someone, Arizona takes the stance that it’s hardly your fault whether the owner knew their dog could bite. You still have the same physical and emotional trauma, medical bills, and recovery time either way.
In technical terms, Arizona is known as a “strict liability” state, which means that a good dog bite attorney should be able to win compensation for your injuries regardless of whether the owner knew their dog could bite. The only defense they might have is if you were provoking the dog, or if you were illegally trespassing on their property. In all other situations, they owe you compensation for your bills, lost wages, and potentially even for pain and suffering.
The Role of Homeowners Insurance
When you’ve been bitten, your dog bite attorney isn’t going after the owner’s life savings, but rather they’re requesting compensation from the owner’s homeowners or renters insurance policy. Most of those policies have a liability limit that can pay out to compensate for injuries that the policy holder could be held responsible for. That’s not to say that it only covers your dog bite if you were on their property at the time! Policies also cover certain incidents that happen away from home, such as if their dog gets loose or if you cross paths with the owner while they’re walking their dog, and that’s when you get bitten.
What If Their Policy Denies Coverage?
Sometimes insurance policies may simply not cover the dog bite. Just as many landlords and HOAs have breed restrictions, many insurance companies do too! Data shows that certain dog breeds are more likely not just to bite, but also to cause real harm when biting. These include breeds such as pit bulls, Dobermans, German shepherds, rottweilers, and wolf hybrids. If you’ve been bitten and you find that the owner’s insurance won’t pay out, you may need to hire a good dog bite attorney to take the owner to court. Just because they have been denied coverage, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be compensated. A dog bite can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health, not to mention your finances.
Bitten? What To Do Next
If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog, your first actions were probably to get medical attention. Once you’ve been treated, it’s time to start thinking about who is going to pay for all this. It shouldn’t be you! Gather all of your documentation, including medical paperwork, police reports, and any information you have on the dog and its owner. It’s important to start looking for a dog bite attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is handled correctly from the very beginning. For more information about Simon Law Group, PLLC, and how we handle dog bite cases, contact us today.