What You Need to Know About Service Dog Bites


A service dog is any canine trained to assist someone with a disability, including mobility impairment, mental illness, and visual or hearing impairments. They’re taught to react in a specific way to assist the disabled person when necessary. A service dog may help someone use their wheelchair or aid a blind person navigating a crowded location.

Service dogs are usually well-behaved and friendly. But what happens when you get attacked by one? In some cases, you may be able to seek compensation through hiring a lawyer. We’ll cover some more information on service animals, followed by what to do when you’re bitten by a dog.

Service Dog Bites in Arizona

  • Service dogs are well-trained to handle stress and aren’t likely to attack people
  • While service dogs are protected by the ADA, you may still have an option to seek compensation if you’re attacked by one
  • Dog bites are usually covered by landlord insurance, renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or another type of policy
  • It’s important to get a lawyer involved if you’ve been attacked by a service animal

Service Dogs and the ADA

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs have been trained to perform tasks or do work for a disabled person. The ADA offers protections for service dogs and their owners, but you may still be able to recover compensation in the event of an attack, despite this. Although service dogs receive special training, they’re still dogs and will react if they’re provoked. It’s important to exercise caution around service animals as you would with any other animal.

In the event of a dog attack, the victim must show that they didn’t provoke the animal in any way, which can be a challenge. The court will then examine the evidence to determine whether provocation occurred.

Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Animals

While service dogs are trained to assist disabled people with diabetes, seizure disorders, or other issues, emotional support dogs provide companionship for therapeutic reasons. Emotional support animals aren’t protected by the ADA since they don’t receive training like service dogs do.

Dog Bite Liability

In general, dog owners are liable when their animal bites someone in public or attacks while the victim is legally on the owner’s property. This applies even when the dog has never attacked or bitten someone previously. If the victim decides to sue the owner, the owner has one potential defense: showing that the victim provoked their dog. To determine liability, the court must decide whether a reasonable person in the situation should have expected that the dog would react by attacking.

What Type of Insurance Covers Dog Bites?

Generally, the owner of the service dog will cover the costs for an attack using their insurance policy. There are several types of insurance that may offer coverage for such events, like landlord insurance, renter’s insurance, business insurance, or homeowner’s insurance. 

If you’re the victim of a service dog bite, you should speak to an injury attorney about your case before you make any arrangements with the owner’s insurance agency. The insurance agency will always try to get away with paying as little as possible. Speaking with an attorney is a good way to determine whether the settlement offer from the agency is accurate or fair.

How to Prove an Injury

If the owner of the dog is found to be responsible for the attack, you may seek repayment for injury-related expenses after a dog bite. The owner might have to pay for your lost wages, property damage, and medical bills from the incident. If you want to recover compensation for amounts you can’t prove with a receipt, such as pain and suffering, you’ll probably have to file a personal injury claim.

What to Do When You’re Attacked by a Dog

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s crucial that you visit a doctor right away. Even if the injury seems insignificant, it could lead to an infection and become much more serious later on. You should also document the incident to make filing an accident claim easier. After receiving medical care, do the following:

  • File a report with animal control
  • Report the incident to the police
  • Get the dog owner’s contact information
  • Collect witness contact information (if applicable)
  • Document the dog bite in writing and take pictures

FAQ on Dog Bites in Arizona

Here are some of the most common questions to consider regarding dog bites in Arizona: 

Q: What is the statute of limitations on dog bites?

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you must take legal action to pursue compensation within the year following the attack. If you decide to wait longer than this, the claim may be dismissed and you’ll lose your chance to receive benefits from the dog’s owner.

Q: Do I have to report a dog bite?

Arizona law requires you to report a dog attack if you have “direct knowledge” of one. This means that witnesses, victims, and the dog’s owner all have the same responsibility to notify a county enforcement agent in the event of a bite. You can fill out a report online or call Animal Control to do so.

Q: What can you receive compensation for after a dog bite? 

If you’re attacked by a dog, you’ll soon notice that medical bills can pile up fast. Filing a personal injury claim can result in receiving compensation that helps you cover these expenses. You may get financial assistance for pain and suffering, future medical bills, lost wages from missing work, psychological help, and other costs.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured

Dog bites can have severe consequences, not just physically but mentally. Naturally, you’ll wish to receive compensation for your difficulties if you’ve been attacked by a dog. While the result of a service dog bite case can be unpredictable, it’s best that you have proper legal counsel to increase your odds of receiving compensation. 

As mentioned, gather as much information as you can to prove your injury and help your case. Give our personal injury lawyer a call today for answers to your questions. 

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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