If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog in Arizona, what do you do? Most people won’t think twice about a dog bite, but these bites can be more than just a little nibble from Fido. Dog bites can lead to severe injury and can even get infected, often needing urgent medical attention. In some cases, a dog bite can even be cause for a lawsuit, given special Arizona laws. If you’ve been injured by a dog during an attack, don’t miss out on the critical medical attention, or compensation, you may deserve.
What causes a dog to attack?
Dogs are normally very happy, huggable, and playful, but they are also very loyal and territorial animals by nature. Since all dogs have different personal temperaments, and those temperaments also vary by breed, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why a dog chose to attack someone. Ultimately, the onus is on the owner (and, by proxy, the person choosing to interact with the dog) to ensure that the dog feels safe and is safe for others to be around when that dog is taken into a public place.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs often display warning signs that they are unhappy or are about to attack. Some of these signs include showing teeth, barking, and growling. But what could possibly provoke a dog to want to bite? There are many, including, fear, territory, surprise, and unwanted attention, such as petting when the dog is grooming, protecting puppies, sleeping, or eating.
Arizona’s Stance on Dog Bites
Arizona has a special statute on dog bite injuries that differs from other states, making your case crucial if you live in Arizona. Arizona holds the owner of the dog liable for injuries much more strictly than other states. If a dog bites a person in this state, even if the owner didn’t have knowledge of the attack, they are liable for that time and every time after. This differs from other states, because other states have a ‘one bite free’ policy, where the first time a dog bites someone, the owner may not be liable. In Arizona there is no first warning. Knowing this statute can help your case if you’ve been injured by a dog bite, as the owner claiming that the animal has never bitten anyone before or has never displayed aggression prior to the attack is still not a valid excuse for negligence or lack of knowledge. If a caretaker is caring for the dog at the time of the attack, both the caretaker and the owner may be held liable for the damages. Knowing this legal information is also crucial in case the owner is not present at the time of the attack.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Bitten?
If you’re able to, and depending on the severity of the wound, you should take the following steps after being bitten by a dog:
-Stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound.
-Wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with soap and lots of water to remove bacteria.
-Cover the wound with a bandage or cloth to protect it.
-Seek medical attention and contact your physician for further treatment. (This is important, because physicians are required to contact animal control if a person comes in seeking care for a dog bite injury.)
These steps should also be taken, likely after the wound is cared for, depending on severity:
-Contact the police or animal control services about the incident.
-You will want a police report or formal record of the accident in case the wound gets worse.
-Collect the owner or caretaker’s (if owner is not present) and dog’s personal information, including:
-Name, address, phone number, insurance information, etc.
-The dog’s breed, age, medical/vaccine history, veterinarian contact information, and temperament history.
The following scale can help you determine the severity of the dog bite and inform you on when/how to seek proper medical attention. It can also be used in court as an objective measure of the wound and to calculate appropriate damages.
What Considerations Are There for My Doctor To Know About?
Seeing your physician after the dog bite can be critical, as dog bites can be more than just a little scratch. Injury considerations include breaking of the skin, but can also develop into tetanus from bacteria and rabies concerns further down the line if not treated quickly. Even if the bite seems small, it’s best to get it checked out. Getting the dog’s vaccine/medical history can help you determine if the dog is up to date on its vaccinations, as rabies and other diseases can be dangerous to humans. This can also help you in court, as you may be able to prove the owner’s further liability if the dog is not updated on its vaccinations and it bites you. Your own vaccine history may be important as well, as tetanus and rabies vaccine boosters can protect you from foreign bacteria transmitted by an animal bite. If you also have medical risk vulnerabilities, such as age, pregnancy, or are an immune-compromised individual, this will be important information for your doctor to consider.
Once you’ve received medical attention for the dog bite, it’s important to know how you can move forward in submitting a claim for your injury.
Simon Law Group, PLLC, has represented numerous children as well as adults who have been attacked by dogs. If you’ve been injured in a dog bite/attack, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today for more information.
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