25+ YEARS EXPERIENCE • 99% SUCCESS RATE • $100+ MILLION RECOVERED
Arizona Dog Bite Attorney
Dogs can be amazing companions. However, stray or strange dogs can be unpredictable, and interaction with them can lead to dangerous accidents. Even dogs you know well can behave aggressively and attack. A dog bite or attack can lead to devastating physical and emotional injuries that people have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
Dog bites can happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Gerber Injury Law is here for you when a dog bite or attack occurs, and we can help you with the legal aspect of your claim. Our focus is personal injury law, and we know how to help you through a painful time as you recover. Let Gerber Injury Law be your best friend when it comes to dog bite accidents.
How Common Are Dog Bite Accidents In Arizona?
Over 60 million people in the United States have dogs as pets. Of the people who own pets in Arizona in 2023, over 40% of them own dogs. The Centers for Disease Control reports that millions of people are bitten by dogs every year, resulting in over 800,000 people visiting hospitals and medical centers to treat those bites.
Over 4.5 million people are injured from dog bites annually. Depending on the severity of the attack, dog bites can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in treatment. You’ll want to hire an experienced Arizona dog bite attorney to help you deal with the logistics of a dog bite claim.
Why Do You Want Gerber Injury Law on Your Side After a Dog Bite Accident?
Gerber Injury Law is dedicated to personal injury cases. We’re your best choice when it comes to dog bite accidents because:
- We take your case seriously and will approach it with compassion
- We’ve had over two decades of handling personal injury cases
- Each client gets individualized treatment and attention to personal details
- We have experience in recovering millions of dollars in compensation for our clients
- Our firm will work hard to settle your case; if we can’t, we’ll take the matter to court
You want an Arizona personal injury attorney who knows what they’re doing when it comes to a dog bite case. Contact Gerber Injury Law for the experienced attorneys you need.
What To Do After a Dog Bite Accident or Attack
You must report the dog bite or incident to the authorities in Arizona. There are important steps you should take immediately after a dog bite accident:
- Talk to the dog’s owner to get their contact information and confirmation of rabies vaccination.
- Wash the bitten area with soap and water.
- Check-in with your doctor. Regardless of if you need rabies treatment, you will want to visit the doctor so they can treat your wound and make a medical record about the event. If you do not seek medical treatment, the insurance company may claim that your wounds or injuries were not severe enough to warrant compensation.
- Talk to the dog’s veterinarian to confirm a rabies vaccination.
- Report the bite or attack to the appropriate authorities in Arizona, like animal control officers. Many cities or counties require you to report any animal bites. There are often animal bite forms for the specific cities or counties you are in that you can fill out online. These forms can be a helpful piece of evidence for your claim.
- Collect your evidence. If possible, take pictures of the injured areas to accompany your medical records. You may also want to keep the clothes you were bitten in if there are bite marks on the shirt or pants. If you do keep your clothing as evidence, make sure not to wash it.
Reach out to the Arizona dog bite lawyers at Gerber Injury Law so we can help you file a claim and communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf. We know how to deal with these companies and can handle these situations.
Diseases from Animal Bites: What is Rabies?
Rabies is a disease that can be exchanged between the bodily fluids of animals, including saliva. A dog (or any other animal) with rabies can pass this disease onto a human through a bite. Dogs that bite people in Arizona are quarantined for ten days to ensure they do not start showing signs of rabies.
The CDC recommends you seek medical treatment if the dog who bit you appears to be ill or if it gets sick during the quarantine. If the dog that bit you cannot be found or quarantined, it is best practice to get a rabies shot just in case. Make sure you speak to your doctor about your concerns. Rabies is deadly if not addressed quickly.
What Can Trigger a Dog Bite or Attack?
Many dogs are generally friendly and happy to see people. However, quite a few dogs get nervous or scared when meeting new people. They may bark or respond aggressively to someone approaching when the dog isn’t comfortable. Other nearby dogs might also increase a strange dog’s aggression or fear. Or, a dog could react poorly because they aren’t feeling unwell or are in pain. The signs that a dog is unhappy and shouldn’t be approached are:
- If the dog is aggressively barking
- If the dog is growling
- If the dog charges at you
- If the dog shows their teeth
- If the dog runs away from you and shows signs of fear at your approach
Dogs may also increase their territorial behavior if they are nursing or caring for a litter of puppies or when they are eating or sleeping. Dogs who have experienced food trauma might react aggressively around meal times. Avoid interacting with dogs in these situations to help prevent dog bites.
Do not approach a dog showing any of these behaviors, as your approach may be seen as aggressive to the dog. Other normal human behaviors that may trigger a dog’s anxiety or fear are:
- Loud noises or voices
- Quick arm or hand movements
- Rapidly approaching the dog and owner
- Seeing another dog/being near another dog
- If someone tries to take a toy or treat away from them
When meeting strange dogs, always approach with caution. To show the dog that you are safe and friendly, remember to:
- Ask the owner if you can approach and pet the dog
- Do not immediately try to pet the dog on the head; instead, hold out your hand for the dog to sniff
- If the dog retreats, don’t try to force your friendship on them; stay calm, back off, and allow them to approach you in their own time
- If the dog wags their tail or seems pleased to meet you, you can slowly reach out to pet them; try to avoid petting them on the head at first until they get to know you
- It can be hard to judge, but try to read the dog’s body language
It’s important to remember not to be fooled by a dog’s looks. Large dogs can be gentle and small ones can be aggressive; every dog has its own temperament, so it’s best to approach each new dog as an unknown. And remember, dogs have days where they’re feeling good and days where they’re not, just like people; it’s important to recognize the days when a dog you may know is asking for space.
Even if you approach the dog as gently as possible with the best of intentions, the dog may still become aggressive or attack. If the dog seems like it is scared, back away slowly. Also, you should not try to pet a stray or strange dog on its own, especially if it is behaving strangely.
Friendly Bites are Still a Danger
Remember, dogs may also bite in play. They may get excited and bite down harder on a toy or unintentionally bite a hand or arm while playing with someone. Even though it was unintentional, that doesn’t mean the bite won’t leave a mark. Playful bites can still lead to an infection. It’s important that you make sure to clean any wound well.
Dog Bites and Attacks and Children: Taking Preventative Action
Dog bites, or attacks can be especially devastating for small children who may get caught in the way. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, children are at a higher risk for receiving dog bites and also at more risk for severe dog bites. Dogs’ jaws are powerful and can significantly injure young children.
Teaching children how to approach and interact with dogs properly is important to minimize dog bite accidents. Children can be excitable, and their eagerness may scare a skittish dog. Here are some ways to avoid unfortunate accidents with dogs and children:
- Teach children the warning signs of a dog who is nervous or scared, and let them know that the dog needs space
- Teach children to ask the owner before petting any dog they do not know
- Teach children how to properly approach a dog (hand out, allow the dog to sniff them first)
- Remind children to use their inside voices when around dogs (or other skittish animals)
- Never allow a child to run up to a strange dog
- Never allow a child to hit or pull on a dog’s tail
- Teach children to give a dog some alone time when eating and sleeping
Parents should teach children how to behave around dogs to lessen the risk to both human and animal life.
What Types of Injuries Happen During Dog Bites or Attacks?
Dogs can be extremely strong and powerful. Their jaws are designed to close firmly, which means that fingers or other body parts in the dog’s mouth can be subject to injury.
Open Wounds or Gashes
Bites can leave victims of dog attacks in a painful position. Dog bites may or may not break the skin, but if they do, they can cause painful wounds. Open wounds, lacerations, gashes, and cuts may result from a dog attack. Deep bites may take a long time to heal.
A bite or attack from a dog leaves the victim open to possible infection if the wound is not properly cleaned and treated. You should wash your wound, and head to your doctor or the emergency room, depending on the severity of the bite.
Because a dog’s jaws are very powerful, they may have the strength to bite and break bones in the hand or arm. Some dog bites are powerful enough to break human legs. Broken bones can take a long time to heal. Young children may be more susceptible to receiving broken bones from dog bites because of their small size.
Dog bite wounds that break the skin can leave lasting damage, including scarring to the injured tissues. Depending on where the dog bites you, there may be a greater likelihood of scarring in certain areas, like the chest or shoulders. This can serve as a vivid reminder of the attack and affect a victim’s mental health as they heal.
Lost Fingers or Toes
A dog bite may be strong enough to break bones, as stated before, and in some cases, a dog’s teeth may be able to bite off part of a limb. Fingers or toes may be severed from the strength of a dog bite. This sort of injury can be very traumatic.
If the dog can reach the person’s face during the attack, it may cause irreparable damage to the eyes. Some damage to the eyes may result in temporary vision loss, while in other cases, it may cause permanent vision loss. Eye damage can include:
- Puncturing the eye
- Avulsions, where the eye tissue is torn
- Orbital fractures, where the bones around the eye are broken
If a dog bites or attacks a person’s head, the victim may experience skull fractures or traumatic brain injury. Any injury to the face, neck, or head can be serious and lead to long-lasting injuries.
Falls or Trips
If a dog charges at you, the sensible thing to do is to retreat. However, because it can be unnerving to have an animal run after you, some people are injured when they fall or trip trying to escape a dog attack. This can cause greater damage, not only because the fall may injure the victim but because it brings the person closer to the level of the dog’s mouth.
A bite that breaks the skin and goes deep enough can cause nerve damage. Nerve damage may affect mobility or movement in the injured limb. It may also make the area affected less able to feel things. Conversely, nerve damage can increase pain in certain areas and be long-lasting.
Dog attacks can open deep veins and arteries, which can lead to severe blood loss. If a dog bite punctures a main artery or vein, the resulting blood loss can lead to death.
Joint, Muscle, or Tendon Damage
Depending on where the bite occurred, how deep it is, and how extensive the damage in the area is, dog bites may bring about muscle damage. Joints, ligaments, and tendons can take a long time to heal. It might take physical therapy to heal the delicate interconnection of joints, tendons, and muscles.
The Emotional Distress of Dog Bites
People who are bitten by dogs or are victims of dog attacks may develop a fear of canines. Fear of dogs is called cynophobia, and the person may need the help of a licensed psychologist or therapist to help treat or overcome their fear. It’s estimated that around 8% of people are clinically afraid of dogs.
It can be a very traumatic experience to be bitten or attacked by an angry animal. While we can’t help the emotional healing, we can work to help you receive compensation that you can put toward your overall recovery.
Who is Liable for Dog Bite Injuries or Attacks in Arizona?
In many other states, whether the owner is negligent or not is considered in the claims proceedings when it comes to dog bites and attacks. In many states, the owner’s negligence is determined in the claims proceedings. Arizona is not one of those states, though. In Arizona, the Arizona Revised Statutes 11-1025 rules that the dog’s owner is responsible for the pet. They are entirely liable for the bite or attack. Arizona has strict laws regarding dog bite injuries and accidents.
Regardless of whether the owner was aware that the dog would bite or not, you may file a dog bite accident claim. Even if you were legally on the owner’s property, the owner is still accountable for their dog’s actions. If you were not on the owner’s property by invitation and were there illegally, you won’t be able to file a claim for dog bite accident injuries. An exception to this rule may be if a child wanders onto the property and is bitten by a dog. The specifics of dog bite accident injuries are looked over carefully during the claims process, so it is important to have extensive information about the bite or attack and a dog bite attorney in Arizona to guide you.
Dog Attacks and Provocation
While the strict liability law is upheld in Arizona for dog bites, if it is found that you provoked a dog, you may not be able to bring forth a dog bite claim. That is why it is so important to follow the guidelines listed above on how to behave around dogs. It reduces the chance of a life-changing attack, and your provocation could be used against your claim whether you were aware of it or not.
What Happens if a Stray Dog Bites Me in Arizona?
If a stray dog bites you in Arizona, it is challenging to pursue legal recourse. First and foremost, it’s important to determine whether or not the dog had rabies. If you cannot find the owner or the dog is not caught and quarantined, it is imperative you see a doctor to get a rabies shot. Report the dog bite accident to the proper authorities, and steer clear of stray and strange dogs to avoid this situation.
What Sorts of Damages Can I Recover After a Dog Bite Accident in Arizona?
The damages you’ll recover in a dog bite accident claim can vary, depending on how severe the bite or attack was, how much medical expenses and treatment cost, and what sorts of after-effects you have due to the attack. You may be entitled to:
- Compensation for your medical expenses, including hospitals bills, medication, treatments, or surgeries
- Compensation for therapy to heal from emotional injuries
- Compensation for lost wages, if you had to miss work to recover from your dog bite injuries
- If your pet was involved in the attack, compensation for their injuries
- Continuing medical expenses to help you fully heal from your injuries
- Personal property damages from any property that may have been damaged during the dog attack
- Pain and suffering damages for your injuries
- Punitive damages towards the owner, if they intentionally caused the dog to attack you
While some states have a cap for much you can receive on damages, there is no cap in Arizona. This means an exact compensation figure is difficult to judge and needs to be examined on an individual basis. The Arizona dog bite injury lawyers at Gerber Injury Law can help.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Arizona
Statutes of limitations institute a timeframe in which victims of injuries can file a claim. Most personal injury cases give the victims at least several years to report the claim, but dog bites and attacks in Arizona are different. In Arizona, you only get one year to file a claim against the owner of a dog for biting or attacking you. That means you only have 12 months to gather your records and evidence and make your claim.
How Can Gerber Injury Law Help with a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
If a dog has attacked you, you want an Arizona dog bite accident lawyer on your side. Gerber Injury Law has extensive experience handling dog bite accident cases, and we’re ready to take on your case. We can help you with the following:
- Gather evidence from the attack, including eyewitness statements from anyone who was in the area at the time of the dog attack, police reports, video or photographic evidence, and medical reports detailing the extent of the injury and the procedures needed to treat it
- Work with insurance companies to settle for appropriate amounts of compensation due to you
- Settle your case out of court for an appropriate sum that covers your medical and emotional damages cost
- Take your claim to court in the event that we do not come to agreeable terms of settlement
Gerber Injury Law has settled cases for clients whose compensation has exceeded the national average for dog bite payouts. You can trust our firm to get your dog bite accident claim handled.
Contact Gerber Injury Law for Questions about Your Dog Bite Accident Today
Dog bites are serious injuries. You and your family deserve to be represented by someone who will treat your case respectfully. You can count on Gerber Injury Law to help with your dog bite accident claim.
Request Your Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured, don’t hesitate – contact our attorneys today!
After insurance company failed to pay $10k in policy limits for injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident.
For bicyclist hit by car.