Health officials say the number of cases of people treated in Arizona for dog bites has risen dramatically in the last few years.
State Department of Health Services director Will Humble said Thursday that incidents of severe dog bites that required hospitalization have more than doubled. According to Humble, there has been a 139 percent increase in patients requiring at least one night of hospital stay for treatment of a dog bite.
2,358 people were hospitalized between 2008 and 2012; 34,151 emergency room visits involving dog bites were documented in that same period.
What is the legal recourse when I am attacked and bitten by another’s dog?
Under Arizona law, there is “strict liability” for a dog bite. That means, you get bitten, the dog owner is liable. Period.
There are only two exceptions: Provocation, and trespassing. That means, as long as you are where you are allowed to be when bitten, and so long as you are not intentionally provoking or teasing the dog, then the dog owner will be 100% responsible for your injuries.
While these claims are generally covered by homeowners coverage, due to the substantial increase in incidents, some insurers are beginning to limit the coverage or altogether change their policies to cover dog bites claims. Who is your insurer? Do you know what your policy says? If you have a dog, might be best to find out now, before something happens and you need it.
Why are attacks on the rise? Hard to say really. Be careful. If you are a victim, contact an experienced dog bite injury attorney to discuss your rights.