Understanding the Different Statutes of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases

Arizona has strict statutes about dog bites, known as “dog bite laws.” They are designed to protect a person who has lawfully entered another person’s property and is bitten by their dog. If you have been bitten by a dog, it’s important that you review and understand the two different statutes of limitations for dog bite cases.

One-Year Limit

Section 12-541 of the Arizona Revised Statutes pertains to the one-year statute of limitations. Essentially this statute says you have one year in which you can file a personal injury lawsuit for a liability that arises when a statute is violated. In this instance, the dog bite statute would have been violated, creating the dog owner’s liability. The “start date” for the one-year time period begins on the day you were bitten.

Two-Year Limit

If you decide you don’t want to file your dog bite case according section 12-541 of the statutes, you can default to section 12-542. This section allows two years in which a plaintiff can file a personal injury case against a defendant for injuries done by one person to another. Just like in 12-541, the time starts ticking on the statute of limitations once a person suffers a dog bite.  However, filing a claim that’s not based on the dog bite statute requires additional proof elements that can make such a claim more difficult.  So, you should always try to start your lawsuit within one year when possible.

Liability of the Dog’s Owner

Statute 11-1025 holds owners liable if their dog bites someone while they’re out in public, or if the dog bites a person who is lawfully present on private property, such as the dog owner’s home. However, you should be prepared to prove the bite you suffered came from a dog, and that you were legally permitted to be in the location where the bite occurred. If you were on private property without permission, the dog’s owner will definitely use that information against you.

The dog bite law protects those who have been bitten, but does not really pertain to people who have been injured when another person’s dog knocked them over or acted in another aggressive way that resulted in injuries. That does not mean you can’t sue in this case. It only means you will likely need to prove liability in this instance. For example, if you’re taking a walk and someone’s dog comes running at you, knocking you over and causing an injury, you may need to prove in court that the dog’s owner failed to leash or properly control their dog on public property.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help 

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you should talk to the personal injury attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC as soon as possible. Let us get to work on your case before the statute of limitations is up. We will fight to get you compensated for your injuries and hold the dog’s owner responsible.

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 need legal advice regarding Statutes of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at  480.461.5335,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. 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.