Owning an animal comes with many responsibilities. Whether it is a dog, cat, horse, livestock, or a wild animal, a pet owner is not only required to care for the animal, but they are also responsible for ensuring others are safe from harm when around the animal. Thus, when an animal bite occurs, a victim should understand that the owner could face liability for damages caused by the bite.
The type of animal involved in a bite case can establish the type of liability placed on the owner. While animal ownership can range greatly, this post will focus on dogs, horses, and wild animals.
In Arizona, strict liability applies to dog bite cases. This means that a dog owner will be held responsible for the harms caused by a dog regardless of whether the owner had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensity or whether the owner was at fault.
Horse-related injuries are often suffered when riding a horse that belongs to another individual. Whether a victim was injured while riding on a trail or receiving a lesson, it is common for these riders to assume the risk of injuries while riding a horse. However, if negligence played a role in the injury in question, then contributory negligence could place liability on the owner.
Finally, owners of wild animals are generally strictly liable for any injuries their pet causes. This is because an undomesticated animal has the potential to be uncontrollable or vicious. Even if the animal is trained, a wild animal is considered to be inherently dangerous.
An animal bite or attack can be an overwhelming and emotional event. In fact, it could cause even the biggest animal lover to develop emotional trauma and a fear of animals. The damage caused by an animal bite therefore goes beyond the physical injuries suffered. Thus, it is important that animal bite victims understand how the law applies to their situation and how best to act on their right to seek compensation.