Factors That Influence Dog Bite Claims In Alabama
Many people consider their dogs much-loved members of the family, but it’s important to remember that they are animals and can cause injury. Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. Nearly 800,000 of those bites require medical care, according to a study from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
So who is liable when a dog bites someone? The complexities of dog bite statutes in Alabama can be confusing. The personal injury lawyers at Moore Law Firm have successfully handled dog bite claims for more than 30 years, and can help you understand your rights and options if you’ve been hurt by a dog or another pet.
Alabama Dog Bite Law
There are important distinctions in Alabama’s dog bite laws that can affect your personal injury claim. Dog bite laws in Alabama vary, depending on whether someone knows their dog is aggressive or dangerous.
Dangerous dogs – When owners of a dog that is known to be dangerous are careless or let it wander about, they are liable if it bites someone without provocation
Average dogs – An owner can be strictly liable if their dog bites someone who is on their property legally (i.e. postal worker) and didn’t provoke the animal. Otherwise, the determination is based on the dangerous propensity of the dog and knowledge of the owner.
Dog Bite Claims In Alabama
The tricky thing about Alabama dog bite law is that there are limits to the damages that may be recovered if the dog was previously friendly (average). The bite must occur when an injured victim is on the owner’s property or has left their property and is being followed by the dog. Typically, when a previously friendly dog bites someone in a public place the owner may not be liable. Another issue that can throw a wrench in a dog bite claim is that injured victims can only recover actual damages such as medical bills and wage loss. They are normally not entitled to non-economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
However, if an injured victim can prove that the owner knew about a dog’s aggressive tendencies, they may be able to recover non-economic damages. That’s why it’s vital to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine what recourse you may have if you’ve been the victim of a dog bite in Alabama.
What Is Emily’s Law?
Named after a young woman who died due to a dog attack, Emily’s Law was enacted in 2018. Complaints about dangerous dogs in Alabama must now be investigated by county officials. Owners of dangerous dogs are now required by law to take the following precautions:
- Register the dog with the county and pay an annual fee
- Sign an affidavit that states the dangerous dog will always be appropriately secured and supervised
- Show that there is a locked enclosure for the dog
- Acquire a $100,000 surety bond that covers the dog
- Spay or neuter and microchip the animal
If a dog that is designated dangerous by the county attacks someone, it may be euthanized, the owner may be subject to personal injury claims, and may even face criminal charges.
How Dog Attack Victims Can Recover Compensation
Dog bites and attacks can lead to catastrophic injuries, especially when a child is involved. Pursuing all possible sources of compensation can help to ensure you or your loved one gets the care they need and holds negligent dog owners accountable. Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites, although some breeds may be excluded from coverage.
If an owner has a surety bond on their dog, that money should go to an injured victim if the dog attacks someone. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you find out which options may be available to you and fight to help you recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years, so it’s critical to contact an attorney right away.
What To Do After A Dog Bite
A dog attack can be a chaotic scene. Try to stay calm, make sure everyone is safe, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If someone has suffered serious injuries or the dog can’t be subdued, call 911. If possible, get contact information from any witnesses and obtain the insurance information of the dog owner as well.
It’s always a good idea to see a doctor any time you are involved in an accident or bitten by a dog. Medical records are vital evidence that can back up your story and help your lawyer put an accurate value on your claim. Make sure to take photos of your injuries and write down everything about the incident while it’s fresh in your mind. It’s also important to file a report with animal control in your city or county.
How A Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Dog bite cases can be complex, especially when a victim suffers serious injury. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and advise you of the most effective course of action to recover compensation. Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful and unpleasant. Your dog bite lawyer can handle all communication and negotiations and help to ensure your claim is not undervalued.
Contact A Mobile Dog Bite Attorney
At Moore Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers have helped hundreds of dog bite victims recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us online, call 251-445-7602, or use the convenient chat feature on our website to schedule a free consultation.