Many people who are bitten by dogs simply go to the hospital, get treated, then go home and continue on with their life. However, some people are bitten by dogs and end up experiencing traumatic, life-changing injuries. Other people are left with permanent scars from their attack and need to have reconstructive surgery after the incident. People who are involved in serious dog bite cases need to know that there are legal professionals out there who can help them deal with their situation. In many of these instances, the dog’s owner can be held responsible for the victim’s injuries and be legally ordered to pay them for medical compensation and pain & suffering. However, there are some things the victim needs to be aware of when attempting to pursue a dog bite case.
The Victim’s Contribution to the Incident
If someone was attacked and seriously hurt by a dog, they won’t be able to receive any sort of compensation for their injuries if it can be proven that they provoked the dog in any way. Someone who was antagonizing a dog or causing it to defend itself will be unable to receive financial compensation because of their involvement in the dog’s behavior. This can be proven by the defendant in a number of ways; if the incident was public and there are several witnesses willing to testify on the behalf of the dog’s owner then the victim in the case will likely lose their lawsuit. If the incident happened somewhere that security cameras were recording and the footage can be obtained, it may prove that the victim was acting inappropriately or provoking the dog. Also, if the victim was breaking the law when the incident occurred, such as trespassing on someone’s property, they will not have a case they can pursue in court.
In order to win a dog bite case, it has to be because the dog either got loose and attacked the victim, or because the owner allowed it to happen. Your lawyer is going to ask you all of these questions about your involvement in the incident so they can be as confident as possible when presenting your case to a judge.
The Dog’s History of Violence
Another important factor in your dog bite case is whether or not the dog in question has a history of attacking people. If the dog’s owner knows that the dog has a tendency to bite or scratch, they can be held accountable if the incident happens more than once. This is especially true if the dog has sent people to the hospital in the past. These records can be brought up by your lawyer in court and they can use them to fight your case.
If it’s the first time the dog attacked someone, a case may still be winnable. This would be in the instance that the owner was being overly negligent when caring for their pet. If someone was in public with a violent dog and let them off of their leash, for example, the owner can be held responsible for any damage the dog caused. Most states have leash laws that require owners to have their dogs contained when they are out in public–taking them off of the leash for any reason is considered negligent and careless.
The Victim’s Knowledge About the Dog
One way that a dog’s owner can avoid liability for an attack is if they can prove that the victim had existing knowledge about the dog’s tendency to bite/scratch people, yet decided to take the risk anyway. For example, if a family friend comes to the house and decided to play with a dog that they knew has bitten people before, the owner can avoid liability.
Also, if the victim had put themselves in harm’s way, the owner can avoid liability. There are times when a family will have a dog locked up in a separate room, but the victim chose to go into that room anyway. If they ended up being attacked by the dog while they were in that closed off room, the owner will not be held liable because the victim put themselves in harm’s way.
The Dog Bite Statutes
When it comes to dog bite situations, each case depends on the laws of the state it happened in. In Arizona, the state has a “strict liability” law in place. What this means is that the owner of a dog can be held liable for an attack even if they took precautions against the dog coming into contact with people and also if they had no idea the dog had a tendency to be aggressive. Overall, dog bite victims have a much higher chance of winning their case in the state of Arizona because of the strict liability law. It doesn’t matter if someone was in a public or private place when the bite happened, the owner can still be held liable in the state of Arizona.
This is why it’s so important to consult with a lawyer about your dog bite case if you live in the state of Arizona. There’s a very good chance that the strict liability law applies to your particular situation or that you can prove the owner was negligent in caring for their dog.
If you feel that you may have a dog bite case worth pursuing, then get in touch with the experienced legal professionals at Tobler Law. This firm has plenty of experience with dog bite cases and is very familiar with the statutes in effect. There’s no need to wonder if you can get financial compensation because of your dog bite injuries when you can consult with a legal professional for free and get the representation you need.