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Owner liability, defenses and damages in animal bite cases

Both pet owners and those individuals who have been bitten or attacked by another person's pet may find the following information helpful in understanding pet owner liability, potential responsibilities of other parties in an animal bite lawsuit, potential defenses, as well as damages a victim may be able to recover in such cases.

In any animal bite case, first and foremost the victim should seek immediate medical care to ensure that an infection or some other serious complication from the animal bite is prevented. After the initial treatment, an animal bite victim may find it helpful to contact a personal injury law firm in order to share the specific facts and circumstances and have an attorney determine if there is a basis for a legal claim.

Generally, in order to hold an animal owner liable, the most important inquiry is to ascertain who is the actual owner of the animal in question. For instance, when it comes to a dog bite, in the state of Arizona the owner of the dog is strictly liable if the dog bites or attacks. Under the legal theory of strict liability, regardless of whether or not the owner of the dog knew about their dog's potential for aggression, the dog owner is responsible for the harm the animal may cause. However, in some cases a dog owner may not be found liable if, for instance, an individual provokes the animal and is subsequently bit.

In addition to the pet owner, others such as property owners, landlords, those who have temporary custody of the animal and parents of minors who own an animal may be held liable for the harm the animal may cause to another.

It is important to gather all of the facts and get a good grasp on who is responsible for the attack and injuries, and therefore possibly responsible for damages. Victims who have suffered serious injuries in an animal attack may be entitled to damages including but not limited to medical cost stemming directly from the attack, any lost wages, pain and suffering, and disfigurement.

Source:, "Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview," accessed on August 5, 2014

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

Keith A. Hammond, P.C. Attorney at Law
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Flagstaff, AZ 86001-4623

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