Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent an attack, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a dog bite. In this case, you should not add to your physical injury by bearing the burden of the economic and emotional damages resulting from this attack.
Alabama Public Health Laws protect you with certain rights following a dog bite. However, the laws can prove challenging for many people to decipher and apply when attempting to recover compensation to cover medical expenses and other losses.
An Alabama dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can sort through the legal fine print and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We do not shy away from tough cases. Call us today at (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation.
Liability for Dog Bite Injuries
There are precautions you can take to prevent a dog bite. For example, do not disturb sleeping or eating dogs, or those caring for puppies. You should not feed or approach strange dogs, nor should you make eye contact. If a strange dog approaches, you should remain calm.
A person, however, may abide by all these suggestions and still suffer a dog bite. Alabama law protects victims of dog bites in a wide range of situations, with several factors that your lawyer will need to consider when preparing your case.
Alabama’s Dog Bite Statute
Alabama law assigns liability for your dog bite to the dog’s owner if the attack occurred on the property belonging to the dog owner or if the dog followed or chased you off the property belonging to the dog owner. This is outlined in Alabama (AL) Code §3-6-1.
In either situation, the law requires that you were lawfully present on the dog owner’s property. The law may not apply, however, if you provoked the dog in some way. Furthermore, if a dog bites a trespasser, they cannot seek damages from the dog owner.
With Alabama’s laws, the state takes into account whether the dog owner had any previous indication of their dog’s vicious, dangerous, or mischievous tendencies. If the owner did not have this knowledge, a court can hold the dog owner liable, but only for actual expenses (medical bills and lost income) resulting from the dog bite injury, per AL Code § 3-6-3. In some cases, ownership of a particular breed of dog known for this type of behavior may satisfy the court’s requirement of previous knowledge.
The dog owner’s negligence also weighs against them in a civil case following a dog bite, as does any violation of an Alabama animal control law. Property management companies and landlords may also be liable if they knew that a dog showed vicious tendencies before it bit and injured you.
Dogs with Rabies If a rabid dog bit you, and the dog’s owner knew of the dog’s rabid condition, the owner must pay double the damages you suffered, as stated in AL Code §3-1-2.
Recoverable Damages for Dog Bite Claims
In 2019, homeowners insurance policies paid nearly $800 million in dog bite and dog-related injury claims, according to information gathered by the Insurance Information Institute (III).
The types and amount of damages you might recover in your dog bite case depend on the type and severity of your injuries, as well as how they have impacted (and will continue to impact) your physical and mental health, ability to work, and other losses.
You may be compensated for the following:
- Doctor’s fees
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital stay
- Physical rehabilitation/therapy
- Prescription medications
- Home modifications
- Mobility devices
- Lost income
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional stress
- Diminished quality of life
If your loved one died from their dog bite injuries, you may also pursue a wrongful death action. An Alabama dog bite lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. We can explain your legal rights in this matter and present your case with dignity.
Investigating Your Dog Bite Incident
If you hire Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to seek compensation for your dog bite injuries, our lawyers will launch an investigation of the attack you endured. The investigation will yield evidence we can use to support your claim and align it with Alabama’s legal requirements for compensation after a dog bite.
Our investigation can involve:
- Obtaining photos and videos of the dog that attacked you, as well as of your injuries, and, if available, videos of the attack itself
- Acquiring a copy of the police report
- Researching the dog’s history of attacks or vicious behavior
- Interviewing witnesses
- Gathering the dog’s veterinary records
- Soliciting opinions from experts, such as animal trainers
- Gathering all the medical records related to your physical and emotional injuries
- Collecting your previous wage statements
The evidence we obtain will likely paint a clear picture of the circumstances leading to your dog bite and the costs you incurred as a result of the attack.
Alabama’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits
Alabama imposes a statute of limitations—or deadline—for dog bite lawsuits with AL Code §6-2-38. As the victim of a dog bite, you have two years from the date of the attack in which to file a lawsuit. The earlier you begin the process of pursuing compensation from the dog’s owner (typically from their homeowners’ insurance policy), the more time you give your lawyer to file a lawsuit if the insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
An Alabama Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help You
Whatever the circumstances for your dog bite injury, talking to a lawyer will help you understand your legal options. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation: (800) 816-0755.