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If you or somebody you love is bitten by a dog in Arizona, do you have to report the incident to authorities? After a dog attack occurs, it is challenging to know what to do, particularly if you or somebody you love sustains an injury. In general, dog bite incidents should be reported, but to whom? Here, we want to review basic Arizona dog bite laws as well as some steps you can take to help increase your chances of recovering compensation.

Do You Have to Report a Dog Bite in Arizona?

What Does Arizona Law Say?

Arizona law is specific about reporting animal bites. Under current state law, “If an animal bites any person, the incident shall be reported to the county enforcement agent immediately by any person having direct knowledge.”

Victims of the incident or witnesses should report the incident to the appropriate authorities and describe the dog as best they can. This should include information such as the dog’s breed, size, and color. Individuals should report any features that can help authorities identify the dog.

When individuals make their report, they should let law enforcement or animal control authorities know what happened in as much detail as possible.

Can You Recover Compensation?

The state of Arizona handles dog bite claims on a strict liability basis. In other words, the owner of the dog will be held legally responsible for the injury caused by the dog bite, regardless of whether or not the dog has bitten anybody before or whether or not the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the incident. As long as the injury victim was either on public property or lawfully on private property when the incident occurred, a strict liability claim can proceed.

Individuals may be able to recover a range of types of compensation after a dog bite injury occurs in Arizona. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Any necessary surgical costs
  • Coverage of medications
  • Lost wages if a victim cannot work
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages

When filing a strict liability dog bite claim in Arizona, individuals will not be able to receive pain and suffering damages. However, dog bite injury victims may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the dog’s owner if the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the incident in some way. If a personal injury claim is successful, the victim could recover pain and suffering damages as well.

What Happens After the Dob Bite is Reported?

After a dog bite or attack is reported, local authorities will likely conduct an investigation into the incident. If the animal is unvaccinated, it will be quarantined for at least 10 days. After that, the dog may be released and returned to its owner. However, the dog bite injury victim could ask for a vicious dog determination to occur.

If a victim or witness reasonably believes the dog is vicious, they can file a petition with the court to initiate a vicious dog determination. In the event the court believes the dog is a threat to the public, they may have the dog impounded while a determination over the future of the dog is made. In the event a dog is found to be vicious by the court, there are various actions that could occur. This could include requiring a dog owner to place warning signs outside of their home or more severe measures, including euthanization of the animal.

Will You Need an Attorney?

If you have been bitten and injured by a dog in Arizona, you may need an attorney to help with your claim. These cases can become challenging, even when pursuing compensation through a strict liability claim. A Phoenix dog bite injury lawyer can help investigate the incident and handle all communication with other parties, including any insurance carriers involved in the case.