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Dog Bite Cases

Dog Bite Lawyers in Mobile, AL

A snarling dog

Dog attack victims may experience permanent physical and emotional injuries that can have a devastating impact on their quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than four million dog bites occur each year, 800,000 of which require medical attention. Nearly 9,500 animal bites are investigated in Alabama each year, according to the Alabama Department of Health. Our team at Moore Law Firm has more than 35 years of experience in handling all types of personal injury claims in the Mobile, AL, area. If you or a loved one has been injured, a dog bite lawyer can help you understand your rights and pursue all available avenues of compensation for your damages.

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Although many dog bites are minor, some victims suffer serious injury or death, especially when an attack involves a child. Dog bite injuries may include:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Tears and damage to skin, muscles, tendons, nerves, and other tissue
  • Fractured and crushed bones
  • Skull fracture and traumatic brain injury
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), anxiety, and depression
  • Complications such as infections and rabies

Recovery from a dog attack can be a long and costly process. Treatment such as reconstructive surgery, hospital and doctor visits, therapy for physical and mental conditions, and medications can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our dog attack lawyers know the high cost of medical expenses involved in dog bite cases and understand that both your physical and financial well-being may be at stake.

Dog Bite Injuries to Children

A sign with the words Beware of Dog

At least half of the people bitten by dogs each year are children. Most reconstructive surgeries due to dog bites are performed on children, who are much more likely to sustain serious injuries of the face, neck, or head in a dog attack, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

When a dog attack involves a strong breed like a pit bull or Rottweiler, children can easily suffer catastrophic injuries such as loss of eyesight or disfigurement, which have lifelong physical and mental repercussions. It’s important to find the right attorney after a dog attack to ensure your child’s claim is properly valued. Our dog bite lawyers fight to protect children’s interests and help them get the care and compensation they need.

Dog Bite Injuries on the Job

Postal workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, landscapers, and other types of workers who visit people’s homes face a higher risk of being bitten or attacked by dogs. If you’ve been hurt on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the law.

Generally, in Alabama you cannot sue your employer if you receive workers’ compensation benefits unless they deliberately tried to harm you. However, our dog bite lawyers can assess your case and advise you on pursuing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner or other liable parties.

What Should I Do If I’m Hurt in a Dog Attack?

The aftermath of a dog attack can be chaotic, but it’s important to take certain steps to protect your rights. Even if you think your injuries are minor, seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor can evaluate your injuries, prescribe medications to prevent infection, and ensure you get appropriate medical treatment. Medical records also provide valuable documentation and evidence you’ll need to pursue a dog bite claim.

If possible, take photos of the scene and your injuries. If you’re seriously hurt, ask a bystander to help. Collect contact information from the dog’s owner and any witnesses. It’s also a good idea to call the police or animal control to document the incident and obtain official reports. Make sure to keep any ripped clothing or other items that could be used as evidence. If an insurance adjuster contacts you, do not make a statement, sign anything, or accept a settlement before speaking with a dog bite lawyer. A personal injury attorney will evaluate your case at no charge and advise you of your options for recovering compensation.

How Long Do I Have to Seek Compensation?

In Alabama, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the injured party is under the age of 19, their parents or guardians can file a claim or lawsuit on their behalf. However, it’s important to act fast so our dog bite attorneys can thoroughly investigate your case, preserve evidence, and pursue all potential avenues of compensation in a timely manner.

Determining Fault in Dog Attacks

Alabama usually applies the legal concept of strict liability to dog attack cases. Strict liability means a dog owner is liable for any injury their dog causes unless someone was trespassing or provoked the attack.

If a dog owner did not have knowledge of a dog’s dangerous or vicious propensity, they may be liable only for actual damages such as medical bills and lost wages. However, if an injured victim can prove the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous, they may be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

To recover non-economic damages, you must provide evidence of previous dangerous or aggressive behavior, which could include:

  • Previous bites or attacks on people or other animals
  • Snapping at people
  • Chasing people
  • Jumping on people

The types of damages you may be able to recover depend on the circumstances of the bite. Local ordinances such as leash laws also may play a part. Our attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of Alabama law and appreciate that each case is unique. We consider the specifics of your dog bite case, help you understand the law, and advise you on the most practical course of action for recovering compensation.

How Can I Receive Compensation After a Dog Bite Injury?

Usually, a dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance, renters’ insurance, or another general liability policy may cover damages in dog bite cases. Sometimes, more than one party may be liable. For example, if a renter’s dog bites someone and the landlord knew that the tenant’s dog had a propensity for violence, both the renter and the property owner could be liable for damages. These types of cases are complex. Our dog bite lawyers thoroughly investigate your case and pursue all possible sources of compensation.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Seek If I’m Injured by a Dog?

Depending on the extent of your injuries and losses, you may be able to recover damages such as:

  • Compensation for permanent scarring, impairment, or disfigurement
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

Will My Case Likely Go to Settlement?

The liable party’s insurance company will likely seek to settle your dog bite claim. Although it can be tempting to take the first settlement offer that comes along, it’s not advisable. Insurance companies always aim to pay as little as possible on claims, and you may end up accepting a settlement that doesn’t come close to covering all your damages. Having a dog bite lawyer gives you a much better chance of recovering a larger settlement.

Dealing With Insurance Carriers

Unfortunately, insurance companies care more about their bottom line than injured victims. They try to deny liability or minimize payouts in all types of personal injury claims, including dog bites. That’s why it’s crucial to have a dog bite attorney in your corner. We handle all negotiations with insurers, act as your staunch advocate, and fight to recover the full amount of compensation you need to protect your health and financial stability.

What If the Liable Party is Uninsured or Underinsured?

If the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance, your dog bite lawyer may advise you to file a civil lawsuit to cover the cost of your damages. Whether or not this is a viable option depends on whether the dog’s owner or other liable parties have the financial resources to pay any award or judgment that may be issued by the court.

How Does a Civil Lawsuit Work?

If a reasonable settlement can’t be reached or the dog’s owner doesn’t have insurance, your personal injury attorney may advise you to take your case to court. In a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff can take action and request compensation from a defendant who’s liable for some type of wrong. To initiate a civil lawsuit, you must file a complaint in the appropriate court.

The complaint must state the cause of action for the complaint, outline legal and factual reasons you believe the defendant is liable, and set forth the compensation or damages you’re requesting. Once a summons is issued to the defendant, pre-trial discovery may begin. During this process, possible settlements may be discussed, with the judge aiding negotiations. If the parties cannot come to a fair agreement, the matter goes to trial.

The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff in personal injury cases. That’s why it’s vital to have a dog attack lawyer who understands how to prove fault. After both sides have presented their cases, the judge or jury decides whether the evidence demonstrates that the defendant is liable for your damages.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Dog Bite Injury Claim?

The amount of time it takes to settle a dog bite claim varies, depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the insurer to provide a fair settlement. Some cases take only a few months to resolve, while those that go to trial can take years. Our dog bite lawyers make every effort to help you recover compensation in an efficient manner.

What If I Lose a Loved One in a Dog Attack?

If someone you love has been killed in a dog attack, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against any liable parties. However, unless the victim is a minor child, only the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you of your options.

Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama is two years. It’s important to contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can. If your dog bite case involves the death of a minor child, a parent has only six months to file a claim. After six months, the minor’s personal representative must file a wrongful death claim.

Under Alabama law, punitive damages are the only damages you can recover in a wrongful death claim. The amount you may be able to recover will depend on the specifics of your case. Alabama does not place a cap on the amount of wrongful death damages that may be recovered. Our dog bite attorneys can evaluate your case and help determine how much your claim may be worth.

Can I Afford to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer?

At Moore Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers represent clients on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay attorney fees unless we win your case. Our dog bite lawyers offer a free initial consultation, and you won’t pay any up-front fees, even if you don’t proceed with your claim. There may be additional costs such as the services of expert witnesses, but they aren’t due until your case is completed. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the cost of legal representation.

Find a Dog Attack Lawyer in Mobile, AL

Our team at Moore Law Firm is committed to helping injured victims rebuild their lives after a dog attack. We provide the compassionate legal support and personalized attention you deserve. If you, your child, or another family member has been injured in a dog attack, our personal injury lawyers in Mobile, AL, can help. Call us at 251-445-7602contact us online, or use the chat feature on our website to schedule a free consultation.