5 FAQs About Dog Bites

Getting bit by a dog can be a traumatic experience. For some people, suffering from a dog bite results in medical bills, lost wages from taking time off work, and psychological damage from reliving the fearful experience. For those who have been the victim of a dog bite and want to know more about their options, here are some answers to 5 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about dog bites.

FAQ #1: What’s the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit?

If you were bitten by someone’s dog, you can take action against the dog’s owner, but only within a certain time frame. In Arizona, if you want to file a complaint because another person violated a statute (in this case, the statute would be the state’s dog bite law), you have one year in which to do so. If you plan to file a civil case against a person for injuries you sustained, you have two years but a civil negligence dog bite claim can be much more difficult than one based on the dog bite law so every effort should be made to file within one year.

FAQ #2: Should I Worry About Rabies?

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), you should report all bites to your local animal control. If the dog has a verified clean bill of health, you don’t need to report it to the public health department. If you don’t know or can’t verify if the animal has had a current vaccine, you should report it for a rabies assessment. You can ask MCDPH or your doctor if they recommend a vaccine for you.

FAQ #3: What Damages Are Associated with A Dog Bite?

Arizona laws place strict liability on owners when a dog bite occurs. People who are permitted to be on the property where the dog lives and who do not provoke the dog will likely be entitled to damages. These can include medical bills for treating the bite, therapy bills for dealing with trauma afterwards, and lost wages for time off work spent recovering. You can learn more about damages by speaking to a personal injury attorney.

FAQ #4: What If I Was Intentionally Bit?

If a dog bit you because their owner sent them to attack you, the owner could face criminal charges. Arizona law outlines different circumstances where dog owners can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

FAQ #5: What Should I Do If I’m Bitten by A Dog?

There are a couple of things you should do after you’ve been bitten by a dog:

  • Go to your doctor and get a thorough examination;
  • Report the bite to your local animal control center;
  • Report the bite to the county health department if the dog’s health history is unknown; and
  • Contact an attorney.

How an Attorney Can Help

A personal Injury attorney can help you get compensated for your dog bite injuries. The attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC understand how painful and long-lasting the effects of a dog bite can be, and we’re here to help you get the damages you deserve so you can fully recover from your injury. Contact us right away.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Dog Bites, or other personal injury matters, call 480.461.5300. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.