Nationally, it’s estimated that over 4 million dog bites occur each year, with around 880,000 of these situations requiring medical attention. Arizona has seen an increase in the number of dog incidents in recent years. If you are a victim of a bite, your ability to get compensation depends on the state’s ownership statutes in absence of beware of dog sign laws.
Arizona Doesn’t Have Beware of Dog Sign Laws
Many states have requirements for dog ownership, and Arizona is no different. However, while some states mandate that a canine owner must post a sign on the property warning of the presence of a dog, Arizona doesn’t have this particular law.
Are Beware of Dog Signs Legal?
A home or property owner in Arizona has the right to put up signs notifying the public about the presence of a dog, even though the law doesn’t require it. Posting a sign may be an act of courtesy or warning, depending on the guest. Many dog owners use their canine companions as well as warning signs as a deterrent against trespassers.
Does a Beware of Dog Sign Impact Getting Compensation for a Bite?
At least 43% of all households in Arizona own a dog, increasing the likelihood of dog bites. Even if an owner puts up a sign warning about their dog, you can have the law on your side if you suffer a dog bite. Whether a dog is considered aggressive, out of control or prone to biting doesn’t matter in Arizona. If you didn’t know a canine was on the property and likely to cause harm, you don’t need to prove the absence of a beware of dog sign to hold a dog owner accountable for a bite.
Arizona maintains strict liability laws for dog bites. Under the statute, a dog owner maintains full liability for any injuries or damages occurring because their dog bites another person. A Phoenix personal injury attorney can explain if you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries and damages.
Does Arizona Have Beware of Dog Sign Laws for Certain Breeds?
There are no bans on dog breeds in Arizona. While some states classify certain dog breeds as dangerous or vicious and require warnings, Arizona doesn’t distinguish dangerous or aggressive behaviors or tendencies based on breed.
The law specifically prohibits officials, judges and other members of the court from considering a dog’s breed when determining an owner’s liability for injuries their dog caused. This makes any bite eligible for compensation under the law when you can prove negligence on the part of the dog owner.
Arizona Allows Personal Injury Lawsuits for Dog Bites
Since there isn’t an option in Arizona for filing a lawsuit under beware of dog sign laws, you can use a personal injury lawsuit after a bite to recover damages from the dog’s owner. There are limits on reporting a dog bite and key elements that can strengthen your case.
Dog Owner Liability
Under strict liability, the owner of a dog has a duty to control the dog and ensure that no harm is done. This applies to both the private area of residence or while the dog is in public. There are specific laws concerning the minimum areas of control an owner must maintain:
- Confine their dog to a leash less than 6 feet long when in public
- House their dogs indoors or enclosed on their property with a fence
The Arizona statutes concerning dog control use the term reasonable care to determine appropriate measures for restraint or fencing. If a person owns a mastiff, Great Dane, Saint Bernard or other large breed dog, it’s reasonable to assume a two-foot fence around the property isn’t tall enough to contain their dog.
General Public Liability
While a dog owner has the duty to control their canine, there are certain responsibilities for those who come into contact with the dog. Arizona laws can protect the victim of a bite, but there are exceptions. The wording of the statute specifies protection for those with a legal right to be on a property.
Legal right means invited guests on a property, such as family or friends. This designation also includes implied consent for delivery drivers, package handlers, maintenance workers, contractors and other service personnel. If an owner knows someone will be on the property, the dog owner has the responsibility to keep their animal from hurting them.
An owner may be exempt from liability if a person is not legally allowed to be on the property, or if the individual provoked the dog. Under the law, the definition of provocation is left to interpretation by the court. The guidelines state any actions a reasonable person would expect to provoke a dog, but the court decides this on a case-by-case basis.
Arizona Has Limitations on Filing for a Personal Injury
When you seek compensation for a dog bite, the court requires you to prove two things:
- You did not provoke the dog.
- You were on public property when the attack happened, or you had a legal right to be on the dog owner’s property when attacked.
You can claim expenses for the medical treatment you require, time lost at work, long-term disability and more when filing a lawsuit for a dog bite. In Maricopa County, the local government has a process for reporting dog bite incidents. It’s important to follow these guidelines to support a civil case against the dog owner. There is a one-year statute of limitation on dog bites, and this timeline starts on the day the bite occurred.
You may not feel like the bite was serious or you don’t want to hurt your neighbor by reporting a dog for biting, but it’s important to look out for your health and the other members of your community. Dog bites can get infected and lead to more serious complications.
Legal Help When There Are No Beware of Dog Sign Laws
Since Arizona doesn’t officially have beware of dog sign laws, it’s important to know where the legal liability falls with dog bite injuries. Our team of Phoenix dog bite injury lawyers at the Sargon Law Group knows the complexities of the law and how to hold dog owners accountable for their canines. Contact us today for help with a personal injury lawsuit over a dog bite.