Having a dog is a big responsibility! Many people liken it to having a child. A dog can be an amazing worker, companion, and friend. But they can also do great harm to other animals and human beings if trained improperly or worse yet, not at all. In the majority of states, dog bite injuries are a strict liability civil matter. Arizona is included among those states.
Strict liability refers to the legal concept wherein the owner of the dog is always liable when their dog injures another person, even if the other person had been provably negligent before the injury took place. This also applies even if you, as the owner, were not negligent yourself. In short, strict liability means that barring very few exceptions, you are always liable for your dog’s actions as their owner.
As a result, it’s vital that Arizonan dog owners not only know their rights and responsibilities concerning dog ownership but also train their canine companions appropriately to prevent dog bite incidents in the first place. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the hook for medical bills, damages, pain and suffering, and more!
Your Breed of Dog is No Defense
Contrary to popular belief, the breed of dog that you possess is no defense in a dog bite civil case. Whether you own a Chihuahua or a Pit Bull, you are liable for whatever damages your dog inflicts in the state of Arizona. It is no defense to claim that the victim of a dog bite should have known that the dog was dangerous or not. Likewise, “beware of dog” signs on the property also are not a defense. No matter what, you are liable for the damage done by your animal in states with strict liability.
Train Your Dog
Especially with breeds known to be aggressive, it’s important that you train your animal properly to prevent any unfortunate incidents before they happen. Any dog that is poorly socialized to people has the potential to become aggressive. Dogs should be socialized early and often with other humans and dogs. Playful nipping and jumping should be discouraged while the dog is young so that it doesn’t accidentally hurt someone when it grows up. Positive reinforcement, such as clicker training, can help to promote positive behaviors in dogs. In general, most dog behaviorists discourage using negative reinforcement on dogs, as it can promote anxiety and wind up having the opposite effect over time. As always, dogs should be always leashed when out in public as well.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Arizona, we here at Simon Law Group can help you to get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free legal consultation!