The last thing you worry about when walking down the street is getting bit by a dog. When you’re hanging out in the park, you see a dog and you want to pet it. Who doesn’t love a dog? Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend. But there are times when they are anything but. Dog attack lawyers handle more than their fair share of personal injury cases every year. A Birmingham dog bite lawyer understands that these types of attacks can cause pretty serious injuries. If the dog barely breaks the skin, you really won’t have a case against the dog owner. But if the dog penetrates the skin or does much worse, your attorney will have to consult the dog bite laws to see what your rights are.
Believe it or not, most people are bitten by dogs they know. You may be visiting a neighbor or friend who has a dog. You may have pet that dog a dozen times. But, dogs are unpredictable. You never know when they may decide to bite you. If you have been injured by a dog bite, call HWNN today at (855)965-1688 for a risk-free case review.
What are the Dog Bite Laws in Alabama?
The laws regarding dog bites are different in every state. If you’re injured by a dog, the law will protect you to a certain extent. In Alabama, a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog bite if:
- The injured party didn’t provoke the dog
- The injured person wasn’t trespassing when they got bit
- The victim was on the owner’s property or was chased off by the dog
Like most other states, Alabama protects victims from all injuries caused by a dog – not just dog bites. So, if a dog knocks down a child and they break a bone, the dog’s owner may be liable. The same is true if a dog chases the plaintiff into the street and they get hit by a car. As long as the injury is foreseeable to the dog owner, they can be held liable.
One of the interesting things about Alabama dog bite laws is that they don’t apply in public places. So, if you get bit by a dog in the park or any other public place, you can’t sue under the dog bite statute. However, you can still sue under negligence.
Other states have something called a strict liability law or a “one bite” law. Under a strict liability law, the dog owner is responsible for your injuries even if he didn’t know his dog was aggressive. In states with a “one bite” law, it’s a little different. The first time a dog bites someone, the owner has a “get out of jail free card.” But after that, he’s on the hook for all damages.
In Alabama, they have a hybrid of both of these laws. The dog owner is liable the first time his dog bites someone. However, he isn’t liable for punitive damages unless he knew his dog was aggressive.
Alabama doesn’t have a separate leash law. However, if an owner doesn’t keep his dog on a leash, it will be easier for you to prove that he’s liable for your injuries.
As with all other personal injury cases, there are defenses to the dog bite laws.
What Are Possible Defenses to a Dog Bite Injury?
Alabama law does provide certain defenses to dog owners. This means there are times when he won’t be held liable for your injuries. The defenses available to dog owners in Alabama include:
- Provocation: If you provoke someone’s dog, you can’t then turn around and sue him under the dog bite statutes. You should know better. The defendant can submit evidence that you provoked the dog. If he is able to do this, you will not recover. The same is probably true even if you sue under a negligence theory.
- Location: You must get bit on private property in order to sue under Alabama dog bite laws. Otherwise, you’ll have to sue under personal injury. So it really depends on where you get hurt. Whether or not you have a dog bite case depends on where the attack took place.
- Trespassing: If you’re trespassing at the time of the dog bite, the owner will not be liable. For the most part, this is true whether you sue under the dog bite laws or under negligence.
If your case falls under any of these three defenses, you may not be able to recover under the dog bite laws. This doesn’t mean you can’t recover at all. It just means you’ll have to sue under negligence.
In order to prove negligence, your Birmingham dog bite lawyer will have to prove the following:
- The defendant had a duty to keep his dog away from you. He must keep his dog on a leash. He also has to make sure he keeps far away from strangers if he knows that his dog is aggressive. The same is true for other dogs. If the dog owner knows his dog isn’t friendly, he’s under a duty to keep his dog away from other dogs so they don’t get hurt.
- The defendant breached his duty of care. If the dog owner has his dog out without a leash, he’s breached his duty. The same is true if he allows his dog to roam around in his yard without a fence.
- You were injured. It’s not hard to show that you’re injured. You’ll go to the hospital for treatment. There will be medical documentation to prove your injuries.
- You do have to show that the dog bite caused your injuries. The medical records should be able to prove this. So can witness statements and pictures of the incident.
What Kind of Injuries Do Dog Bite Victims Suffer?
Unlike other personal injury cases, dog bite cases involve a certain type of injury. Although dog bites usually don’t cause very serious injuries, that doesn’t mean they can’t. Some of the more common dog bite injuries include:
- Skin tears – A lot of dog bites caused skin tears. Even small dogs can cause these injuries. The good news is, these usually heal themselves and don’t require any kind of medical treatment.
- Bruises – If the dog holds on for a while, you may end up with bruises. These will go away after a few days. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to recover for minor bruises.
- Broken bones – If the dog knocks you down when he attacks you, you may suffer broken bones. Or, if the dog bites you through the muscle, he could break one of your bones. This means you’ll probably need surgery.
- Infection – Most dogs are cleaner than humans. However, there is a chance that you could get an infection from your dog bite. The hospital will always check to see if you contracted any diseases, including rabies.
- Facial disfigurement – A lot of dog bites affect the face of the victim. The problem with this is you may need plastic surgery. You could even end up with permanent scarring. Your Birmingham dog bite lawyer will make sure you’re compensated for this.
As with any other type of accident, it’s crucial that you receive medical attention as soon as you’re attacked.
How serious your injuries are may depend on the dog that bit you. Bigger dogs don’t necessarily cause worse injuries. For example, just because you got bit by a pit bull doesn’t mean you’ll recover more money.
What Kind of Damages can Your Birmingham Dog Bite Attorney Get You?
If you get attacked by a dog, you will likely be able to recover damages. Just like with any other personal injury case, the defendant will be held liable for your injuries.
Your Birmingham dog bite lawyer will demand that you be compensated for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Not a lot of dog bite cases will involve property damage. But that doesn’t mean they can’t. For example, if a dog knocks you down while you’re carrying an expensive piece of personal property, it may get damaged. Or, if a dog mows you down and knocks you through your screen door, the defendant will have to pay to get your door replaced.
Call and Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
If you or your child have been injured by a dog, you need to call a Birmingham dog bite lawyer. Your attorney can do a case evaluation and let you know what your case may be worth. They can also answer any questions you may have. Contact our offices now and get expert advice from an experienced attorney.
Call our toll free number, (855)965-1688, and schedule your initial consultation today. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.
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