Arizona Dog Bite Cases and Liability

Arizona dog bite cases involve both statutory and common law considerations.  It you are the victim of a dog bite the owner may have homeowner’s insurance or an “umbrella policy” which will provide coverage to pay for your injuries and suffering.  There are two different statute of limitations to be aware of in dog bite cases.

In Arizona strict liability can apply to dog bites.  Liability under A.R.S. Sections 11-1120 and 11-1025 are governed by A.R.S. Section 12-541, which requires you to bring your claim within one year of the dog bite.  Common law claims are controlled by a two-year statute of limitation in accordance with A.R.S. Section 12-542.  A.R.S. Section 11-1020 dictates that an owner or person responsible for a dog shall be responsible for any injuries to a person or damages to property caused by a dog while at large.  At large means “being neither confined by an enclosure nor physically restrained by a leash.”  Strict liability is important because it means the victim of the dog bite does not have to prove liability, rather, only causation.  A dog does not have to be “at large” for strict liability to apply as it will also govern the situation when dogs are under the control or in possession of their owners such as if you get bit at the owner’s home, though you must be lawfully present in the owner’s home to prevail upon your claim or lawsuit.  The only defense to strict liability is if the victim provokes the dog to bite.

Liability of a landlord for a dog bite of a tenant’s dog is difficult because a landlord is generally not liable for damages caused by a tenant’s animal.  This can leave a victim without a remedy because tenants typically do not have insurance or assets to go after if their dog bites someone.  On the other hand, if a landlord becomes aware of the presence of a dangerous animal and does nothing to remove the animal from the tenant’s home then the landlord may be responsible for compensating the injured party.

If you are the victim of a dog bite we are available to discuss your options at Mohave Law’s Bullhead City office located at 2020 Silver Creek Road, Suite C-102; Bullhead City, Arizona 86442.  Our phone number is (928)-263-2026 and we will be happy to discuss Arizona dog bite cases and liability.