Lawyers For Dog Attacks | Birmingham & Huntsville, AL

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Alabama Lawyers For Dog Attacks

Birmingham Dog Bites Attorney

Dog Bite Injury Attorneys

Dog Attack Left You Scarred? We Fight for Healing and Justice.

Dog owners have a responsibility to control their animals. When a dog attack happens, the victim shouldn’t suffer the consequences.  Our Alabama lawyers for dog attacks are dedicated to protecting victims and holding negligent dog owners accountable under Alabama law.  We’ll fight for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress caused by the attack.

Dog bites happen when a dog injures someone by using its teeth to puncture or tear their skin. This can occur when the dog feels threatened, scared, or provoked, or sometimes even during play. When a dog bites, it can cause pain, bleeding, and potentially serious injuries that may require medical attention.

Key Summary: 

  • Dog bites result from a dog using its teeth to puncture or tear the skin, causing pain and potentially serious injuries.
  • Dog bites can manifest as puncture wounds, lacerations, or crush injuries, each varying in severity.
  • Dog bites can lead to physical injuries, infections, rabies transmission, and emotional trauma.
  • Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, from bruises and lacerations to amputation and wrongful death.
  • Alabama’s Mailman Rule holds dog owners strictly liable for damages caused by their dog’s bite, especially for lawful visitors on their property.
  • Alabama’s dog bite laws combine elements of negligence and a one-bite rule, affecting liability for dog owners.
  • Contributory negligence can impact compensation for dog bite victims in Alabama.
  • The statute of limitations for dog bite claims in Alabama is two years from the date of the harm.
  • Dog bite victims in Alabama have the right to pursue compensation for various damages, including medical expenses and emotional harm.

What are Dog Bites?

Have you ever wondered what happens when a dog’s chompers clamp down on your skin? That’s a dog bite! Dog bites are like pinches, but way stronger – their sharp teeth can break the skin and leave puncture wounds. Dog’s bite can even crush your skin and bones.

What are the Types of Dog Bites?

Not all dog bites are equal. Sure, they all hurt, but dog bites can vary depending on their mood and strength.  Here are the three main types of dog bites:

  • Puncture wounds: These are the most common type of dog bite, caused by the dog’s teeth piercing the skin.
  • Lacerations (tears): These bites can cause deeper tears in the skin and may require stitches to close.
  • Crush injuries: In severe cases, a dog bite can crush underlying tissues and bones.

What are the Potential Consequences of Dog Bites?

If you end up with a dog bite, a sting might be the first thing you feel. Dog bites can have some potential after-effects including 

  • Physical Injury: Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, lacerations, bruising, nerve damage, and even broken bones.
  • Infection: Dog bites can become infected if not cleaned and treated properly. This is because a dog’s mouth harbors a variety of bacteria.
  • Rabies: In rare cases, a dog bite can transmit rabies, a deadly viral infection. Up-to-date rabies vaccinations for dogs are essential.
  • Emotional Trauma: Dog bites can be a frightening experience, especially for children, and may lead to emotional distress, anxiety, or fear of dogs.

What Injuries Results from Dog Bites? 

Dog bites can lead to a range of injuries that vary in severity – from minor wounds to serious medical complications. Understanding the potential injuries resulting from dog bites is essential for both prevention and proper treatment. The following are the different types of injuries that can occur as a result of dog bites:

  • Bruises and abrasions
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Dislocations
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Crush injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Amputation
  • Wrongful death

Dog bite victims typically need several surgeries, including corrective plastic surgery. Additionally, they need therapy for PTSD, anxiety, and insomnia. If you or a loved one sustained injuries from a dog bite, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation from lawyers for dog attacks in Birmingham and Huntsville to help assess your options in pursuing damages. 

What are the Alabama Dog Bite Laws?

Laws governing pet ownership and dog bites vary from state to state. These laws govern who and when a dog bite victim may file a claim for damages against a dog’s owner or another party. Alabama’s dog bite laws are based on a tort system. 

A tort is defined as a wrongful act, such as dog owner negligence. If a dog owner was negligent and caused your injuries, you might have a case against them. In Alabama, dog owners are liable for damages caused by their pets if:

  • The dog was not provoked in any way. You couldn’t have prompted the dog to react violently. This might involve yanking the dog’s tail, prodding the animal, or hurting it. The owner of the dog can use provocation as a form of defense.
  • The victim was not trespassing. To seek damages, you must have been lawfully on private or public property at the time of the dog attack. The pet owner did not owe you a duty of care to prevent the dog bite if you were trespassing.
  • The dog was a vicious breed or had previously attacked. Proof that the pet owner was aware of or should have been aware of the dog’s propensity to bite is necessary for a claim of negligence. If the owner was aware, they were obligated to prevent an attack.

The burden of proof to establish that the pet owner is to blame for the injuries under Alabama’s dog bite law is on the victims. It is your responsibility as the victim to prove that the owner’s negligent handling of a dangerous animal caused or significantly contributed to your injuries. The state courts will only then award compensation for your damages. 

What Do I Need To Know About the Mailman Rule in Alabama?

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the Mailman Rule, also known as the Dog Owner Liability Statute in Alabama:

Alabama’s Strict Liability Rule

Unlike some states, Alabama has a strict liability rule for dog bites. This means the dog owner is held responsible for any damages caused by their dog’s bite, regardless of whether they knew the dog was aggressive beforehand.

Who is Protected by the Mailman Rule?

The Mailman Rule applies to lawful visitors on someone’s property. This includes:

  • Mail carriers
  • Delivery personnel
  • Salespeople
  • Meter readers
  • Anyone with a legitimate reason to be on the property (e.g., guests)

What is Alabama’s Negligence and One-Bite Rule?

Alabama’s dog bite laws combine elements of negligence and a one-bite rule, creating a nuanced approach to dog bite liability for dog owners. Here’s a breakdown:

The One-Bite Rule Exception (for bites off the property)

However, there’s a one-bite rule exception for bites that occur off the owner’s property. This means if someone is bitten by a dog off the property and the dog has no prior history of aggression, the owner may only be liable for economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages), not emotional distress or pain and suffering. This exception applies if the owner can prove they were unaware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

Contributory Negligence and Dog Bites

While Alabama follows a strict liability rule for dog bites on the property, contributory negligence can still be a factor. This means that the dog owner’s liability for damages may be reduced if the victim’s actions contributed to provoking the dog.

How Does Contributory Negligence Work?

Here’s how contributory negligence works and how it can impact your case and potential compensation:

  1. The court will assess the percentage of fault attributed to both parties – the dog owner and the victim.
  2. The victim’s compensation award will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
  3. For example, if the court finds the victim 20% at fault, their total compensation award will be reduced by 20%.

Examples of How a Victim’s Actions Might Contribute to a Dog Bite

  • Trespassing: If you are bitten by a dog while trespassing on private property, your actions might be considered contributory negligence.
  • Teasing or Startling the Dog: If you intentionally provoke the dog by teasing, harassing, or cornering it, your actions could be seen as contributing to the bite.
  • Ignoring Warning Signs: If a property has clear “Beware of Dog” signs and you still enter anyway and are bitten, your disregard for the warning might be considered contributory negligence.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites?

The statute of limitations is a deadline by which an injured party must file their claim or risk losing their ability to do so.  The statute of limitations for dog bite claims in Alabama is two years after the date of the harm. Most courts would dismiss the case without holding a hearing if a claimant filed a lawsuit after the statute of limitations had already passed. 

The last thing you would want to happen is to lose the opportunity to seek fair compensation for your damages. To make sure your rights to fair compensation are protected, file your dog bites claim on time. 

What are my Rights as a Dog Bite Victim?

Dog attacks frequently result in a lifelong fear of dogs or the outdoors, especially if children are the victims. Getting compensation can help you feel lighter by removing your financial burden. If a dog bit you in Alabama, you might be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Surgeries
  • Therapy and rehabilitation
  • Loss of wages 
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional harm
  • Wrongful death  

Whether or not you know the owner of the dog that bit you, you have the legal right to bring them to court if the dog was on the owner’s property, you were there legally, and the dog attacked without provocation.

Call our Alabama Dog Bites Attorney Now!

Dog bites are unique cases because the victim often knows the responsible party most of the time. In your case, the dog owner could be a longtime neighbor, friend, or family member. 

You may believe that filing a dog bite claim will not be as difficult as filing other types of personal injury claims, but insurers do not want to pay any amount for any claim. As a result, the settlements they offer are typically significantly lower than what victims are entitled to. Contacting Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys as soon as possible is your best course of action. Regardless of who the dog owner is, it is your right to pursue justice. 

Petro Accident and Injury Attorney can assess your case, inform you of its potential value, and respond to any inquiries you might have.  We also handle other cases such as injuries to children, boating accidents, and workers’ compensation. Do not think twice. Get professional advice from our personal injury law firm right away!

Helping Injured Alabamians