Kester Law Group is an experienced dog bite law firm serving you locally in Arizona. Attacked by a dog? Bitten by a dog? If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Goodyear, Tempe or anywhere else in Arizona contact Kester Law Group for a free, no obligation, consultation to discuss your case and legal options.
Did You or a Loved One Get Bitten or Attacked By a Dog?
Dogs are terrific companions but dog bites and dog attacks occur nonetheless. There may even be a link between the type or breed of the dog and bites. The dogs that bite the most are:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Lhasa Apso
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Bull Terrier
According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and 800,000 of those bites result in medical care. In fact in 2018, there were 35 deaths from dog bites and dog attacks.
Many more dog bites or dog attacks go unreported because people are fearful of what may happen to the dog owner or the dog, they do not realize that an injury claim can be pursued, do not know how to document or pursue the claim, etc. The dog bite lawyers at Kester Law Group understand the hectic nature and serious consequences of a dog bite or dog attack injury claim. Our first concern is your health and safety.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Dog Attack
Ensure that you are in a safe and protected space. Call 911 and report the injuries to police and animal control. Follow up with your physician or immediately report to the nearest hospital if the attack was severe. At the hospital, you will be given antibiotics to help with potential infections, receive diagnostic tests and you may consult with a surgeon. Dog bites and dog attacks can puncture, tear and rip skin, tear tendons and muscle. Often the bites or attacks require surgical procedures, future medical costs and scar revisions. It is important to document all of your injuries and damages. Obtain copies of medical records and bills. Take photographs, keep an injury journal. Follow up with animal control to ensure the dog does not have any diseases. Obtain the insurance information from the at-fault-party and any witness statements. The dog bite attorneys at Kester Law Group can do all of this and more while you focus on your recovery.
Liability for a Dog Bite or Dog Attack
Arizona Revised Statute §11-1025 states that “the owner of the dog is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge.” In other words, dog owner’s do not get a “free bite” before liability attaches. There is no “free bite” in Arizona.
11-1025. Liability for dog bites
- The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.
- Nothing in this section or in section 11-1020 shall permit the bringing of an action for damages against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite occurred while the dog was defending itself from a harassing or provoking act, or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:
- In the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in criminal activity.
- In the investigation of a crime or possible crime.
- In the execution of a warrant.
- In the defense of a peace officer or another person.
- Subsection B of this section shall not apply in any case where the victim of the bite was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.
- Subsection B of this section shall apply only where a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subsection B of this section.
There are some defense to a dog bite or dog attack. For instance, there could be a defense to a dog bite or dog attack if you were trespassing, provoking or acting aggressively toward the dog. This is why you need an experienced dog bite lawyer to help. Kester Law Group is the top rated dog bite firm in Scottsdale and all of Arizona.
Time Limit to Bring Injury Claim for a Dog Bite or Dog Attack (Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite)
There are two timelines for statute of limitations for dog bites or dog attacks. The dog bite statutes, A.R.S. 11-1025 through 11-1027, have a (1) one-year statute of limitations from the time of the dog bite or dog attack. If a claim is brought at any time within 1 year, the dog owner may be held immediately liable. For the common law negligence statutes, there is a (2) two-year statute of limitation. There are certain situations that may toll a statute but Kester Law Group recommends that victims of dog bite injuries or dog attack injuries seek legal action as soon as possible.
Other Laws That Pertain To Dogs (Leash Laws)
Every city in Arizona has leash laws relating to dogs. These laws are in place to help make our communities safe and to assist or avoid dog bites or dog attacks. For instance, Phoenix Municipal Code 8-14, provides that:
- Dogs are not permitted to run loose in public or on their own property.
- Dog owners must provide a way to confine or enclose their dogs on their property.
- Dog owners must provide their dog(s) with a collar when the animal is at least three months old
- If the dog is not enclosed, the owner must have his or her dog on a leash that is a maximum six feet long.
Who Pays For My Dog Bite Injuries? The Dog Owner or the Insurance Company?
In Arizona dog bite injuries and dog attacks may be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy, rental insurance policy or otherwise. However, there could be exclusions in the insurance policy. To know if your dog bite injury claim or dog attack injury claim is covered by an insurance company contact the dog bite lawyers at Kester Law Group.
When an individual obtains an insurance policy the insurance company usually makes inquiries about dog ownership and breeds. The specific dog breeds prohibited by insurers vary from company to company, but at least five appear on every list:
- Pit Bull
- Presa Canario
- Chow Chow
According to the Insurance Information Institute, claims related to injuries from dogs account for one-third of all homeowner liability dollars insurance companies pay out every year. In 2016, that figure was $602 million from more than 18,000 claims. Otherwise, an average of $33,000 per claim. In 2018, the insurance industry reported 17,297 dog bite claims in resulting in $675 million in total liability payment.
Before you speak to the insurance company about your dog bite or dog attack contact the dog bite attorneys at Kester Law Group. Do not ever give a recorded statement without first talking to an attorney. Insurance Companies have 2 goals in mind when evaluating your injury claim:
1.) Pay the minimum amount possible;
2.) Close the claim as quickly as possible to stem damages and losses.
Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries and Dog Attacks
Dog bites and dog attacks result in serious injuries and consequences. Often the road to recovery can be long. Sometimes, sadly, people do not fully recover from their injuries. Compensation for injuries include but is not limited to:
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages due to missing work
- Counseling, therapy or surgery, if needed
Again, generally, the insurance policy of the dog’s owner will pay for these costs. It’s important to discuss your case with a dog bite lawyer before making arrangements or accepting any settlements. If you do not speak to the dog bite lawyers at Kester Law Group, you have no way to determine if an insurance company’s settlement offer is fair.
There Are No Fees Unless We Win. We’re In This Together.
“Do I owe any money if my case doesn’t recover anything?” No. If you hire Kester Law Group and we don’t recover money for you on your case, you owe us absolutely nothing. When you retain us, we operate on a contingency fee. We get a percentage of the recovery that we get for you. If there is no recovery, then there is no fee owed and you owe us nothing.