German Shepherd jumping to attack 

Dog Attack Injury Attorney

If you or a family member was attacked by a canine, please contact our law firm in Tucson. Our Tucson dog bite lawyers have handled these cases in the past and many common elements are found in such attacks. For example, most dog bites to children are, unfortunately, bites to the face. Legal action should be taken immediately through a personal injury lawyer.

 

Dog and Animal Attacks in Tucson

In the State of Arizona, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a dog bite is two years, but one year for strict liability after the attack.  For children, the statute of limitations (the time to file the lawsuit after the day of the dog bite) is extended to two years after the child turns 18 years of age.

 

Criminal Restitution for Dog Bites (a criminal act)

Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-603(C) mandates restitution to the victim “in the full amount of the economic loss as determined by the court . . . .” Economic loss is defined as:

[A]ny loss incurred by a person as a result of the commission of an offense. Economic loss includes lost interest, lost earnings and other losses that would not have been incurred but for the offense. Economic loss does not include losses incurred by the convicted person, damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages or consequential damages.

A.R.S. § 13-105(16) (2013). When determining restitution, the trial court “shall consider all losses caused by the criminal offense or offenses for which the defendant has been convicted.” A.R.S. § 13-804(B) (2013). Furthermore, the restitution award must bear “a reasonable relationship to the victim’s loss.” State v. Lindsley, 191 Ariz. 195, 197, 953 P.2d 1248, 1250 (App. 1997).

 

A loss is recoverable through restitution if: (1) the loss is economic; (2) the loss is one that the victim would not have incurred but for the criminal conduct; and (3) the criminal conduct directly caused the economic loss. Id. at 298, 5, 85 P.3d at 1056. Direct causation is satisfied when the causal nexus between the conduct and the loss is not too attenuated factually or temporally. State v. Guilliams, 208 Ariz. 48, 53, 18, 90 P.3d 785, 790 (App. 2004) (quoting United States v. Vaknin, 112 F.3d 579, 589-90 (1st Cir. 1997)). If the loss results from a causal event other than the defendant’s conduct, then it is considered consequential and thus unrecoverable. State v. Wilkinson, 202 Ariz. 27, 29, 7, 39 P.3d 1131, 1133 (2002). Nonetheless, Arizona’s mandatory restitution statute is quite broad and authorizes an award for a wide variety of expenses caused by a defendant’s conduct. State v. Baltzell, 175 Ariz. 437, 439, 857 P.2d 1291, 1293 (App. 1992).

Contact an Arizona crime victim attorney today.

 

An Entity can be a “Victim” under Arizona Restitution Laws

An entitiy can be a “victim” within the meaning of Arizona’s restitution statute. See A.R.S. § 13-603(C).  Section 13-603(C) states that “[i]f a person is convicted of an offense, the court shall require the convicted person to make restitution to the person who is the victim of the crime . . . in the full amount of the economic loss as determined by the court . . . .” While A.R.S. § 13-603(C) does not define “victim,” the definition of “person” within Arizona’s criminal statutes includes a “government” or “governmental authority.” See A.R.S. § 13-105(30). In Arizona, restitution is mandatory in a criminal case. See A.R.S. § 13-603(C).

A “victim” means any entity, including a government agency, that legally stands in the victim’s shoes, and as a result, suffers the victim’s own economic loss. State v. Prieto, 172 Ariz. 298, 299, 836 P.2d 1008, 1009 (App. 1992) (holding Arizona Department of Economic Security is a victim entitled to restitution for providing psychological services to actual victim); see Guilliams, 208 Ariz. at 51-53, 9-15, 90 P.3d at 788-90 (recognizing Arizona Department of Corrections as a victim under restitution statute).

 

Exclusion of Breeds from Homeowner’s Policies

As a homeowner and a dog owner, you should check the coverages in your homeowners policy because some types of dogs are excluded such as Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Labrador Retrievers.  In the event, that the homeowner is not properly insured we can obtain a Judgment against the homeowner to collect the same from the dog owner.  We have also used our client’s medical payments and policies to help the injured party to cover medical billing.

 

Filing a Timely Claim and Defenses

Because the statute of limitations in Arizona for strict liability is 1 year, victims have a limited time in which to file their cases.  You can still sue within 2 years, but the strict liability is lost after the first year if you did not file a lawsuit.  Also, the witnesses must be secured in the event of the claim of a defense by the dog owner such as provocation. This defense is common by the defendants because it is the only defense that can be made under Arizona law.

Arizona Statutes:

  • A.R.S. § 24-521. Liability for dog bites

The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place … 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.

  • A.R.S. § 24-523. Provocation as defense

Proof of provocation of the attack by the person injured shall be a defense to the action for damages.

 

Liability of Children under Arizona Law for Dog Bites

A child can be deemed to provoke a dog under Arizona law.  The legislature made contributory negligence of the injured party irrelevant to the liability of the dog owner.  The statute does not distinguish between intentional and unintentional acts of provocation.  Provocation is defined as an act or process of provoking, stimulation or incitement. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1827 (1961).) Thus, an unintentional act constitutes provocation within the plain meaning of the statute.