Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers: Why are dog attacks to children so common, and who is liable?
Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers have to be ready to handle all kinds of cases. It is not just people who injure people. Arizona Personal injury Lawyers have represented people involved in all types of animal attacks and animal related cases (dogs, cats, horses, cows, snakes, birds, etc..). Unfortunately, some of the most common victims of dog bites are young children. In addition to being especially tragic, injuries to children can also present special challenges with recovery times, scarring and permanency of injuries.
The biggest reason that young children are so often the victims of dog bites is that both dogs and young children lack the judgment, knowledge, and impulse control of an adult person. Even well-trained dogs react primarily on instinct, which can spell trouble for young children who don’t understand how to behave around animals. A child who wants to hug or wrestle with a dog, for example, may be unknowingly triggering a defensive reaction from a dog that doesn’t want to be handled. The dog’s instinct will be to bite to stop the unwanted contact in this situation and the child may not recognize the typical warning signs that the dog is about to bite, such as a growl. Even if the dog does want to play with a young child, the dog’s natural response will be to treat the child as a littermate, not realizing that human children are much more fragile and more vulnerable to bites than puppies are.
Arizona Personal injury Lawyers know that because dogs cannot be expected to regulate their own behavior, the law imposes the duty of controlling them upon their owners. Many people believe that as long as they have no reason to think their dog is aggressive, they cannot be held legally responsible if the dog bites someone. Some states have the “one free bite” rule. Arizona does not. In Arizona, the law imposes strict liability on dog owners when their dogs bite people.
What does that mean?
Strict liability means that if your dog bites someone, you are liable. Period. There are few defenses to this rule of law. Typically, provocation and/or trespass. If the dog was provoked by the victim prior to biting, or, if the victim was on property he had not right to be on, the owner may not be liable. Consult an Arizona Personal injury Lawyer to help make this determination.
In addition, Arizona also recognizes a negligence-based tort for a dog bite in which the plaintiff can show that the dog owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from harming them. Both strict liability and negligence claims can be brought at the same time, however, there are different statutes of limitation for each. It is crucial that you talk to an Arizona personal injury lawyer about your claim, as soon as practicable.
Dog bites can be extremely serious. So can the lawsuits they generate. It is important to have the guidance of an Arizona personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in these types of incidents to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. To speak with a professional Arizona personal injury lawyer who specializes in helping victims of dog bites, call Zachar Law Firm at 602-494-4800 or visit www.ZacharAssociates.com.