Dog Bite Incidents: Who Pays Damages?

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: July 28, 2017

Dog Bite Incidents: Who Pays Damages?

As a personal injury attorney with offices in both Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, I talk to lots of dog bite victims.  Most are unaware that in Arizona a dog owner is responsible to compensate someone who their dog injuries, even if the dog has never bitten before. In fact, Arizona is what is known as a strict liability state.

This means that a dog bite victim does not need prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover.  The victim needs to only show that he or she was bitten, and the owner will then be held responsible. In fact, in Arizona both the dog owner and the person responsible for the dog at the time of the bite can be held responsible for the injuries caused by the biting dog. For example, if you take a friend’s dog for a walk and the dog bites someone, you may be jointly liable for the victim’s damages.  The statute of limitations for bringing a statutory strict liability dog bite claim is one year from the date of the bite.

In addition to Arizona’s strict liability statute, Arizona law also imposes non-statutory liability on dog owners. This means that in addition to being able to bring a legal claim under the Arizona Revised Statues discussed above, dog bite victims may also have a negligence claim against the dog owner or person responsible for the dog. The statute of limitations for claims based on negligence and Arizona common law is two years from the date of the bite.

Finally, a dog owner can be held criminally liable for his biting dog.  In Arizona a dog owner is guilty of a class 6 felony if:

  1. The person owns a dog that the owner knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal by a court of competent authority, and
  2. The dog bites, inflicts physical injury on or attacks a human being while at large.

After proving liability, a dog bite victim will be entitled to be compensated for his medical bills (both past and future), pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.  The personal injury lawyers at Zanes Law focus on helping our clients who have been injured. To learn about our services please click on this link.  If you have been injured in any way, please call us and we will do our best to help you just like we helped our many clients who have left us 5-Star Google reviews


Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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