Birmingham Dog Bite Attorney
If you or someone you love have suffered a dog bite injury as a result of the negligence of someone else, contact our team of Birmingham, AL dog bite injury lawyers for a free initial legal consultation.
In 2015 alone, 34 people across the country died from dog-attack related injuries. Most of the victims were children, accounting for 14 of the 34 deaths. Thirteen of the victims were elderly, older than 60, and seven victims were between the ages of 22 and 60. Children are especially at risk in dog attacks, since dog bite injuries are more fatal for children. Most attacks against children occur when the victim is visiting or is temporarily living with the dog’s owner.
If you think you may have a case, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyer.
Alabama Dog Bite Statute
Every state has breed-specific legislation by county as well as dog bite laws. In Alabama, we follow the Dog Bite Statute as laid out in Section 3-6-1 of Alabama Statutes. This statute states that if a dog bites a person without provocation, the dog owner is liable for damages to the person – but only when the person bitten is on property owned by the dog’s owner at the time of the injury. A dog owner may be able to escape liability if he or she can prove no prior knowledge existed of the dog being dangerous.
Negligence and the One-Bite Rule
If Alabama’s Dog Bite Statute doesn’t apply to your situation, the case moves to the provisions of the One-Bite Rule instead. Under the One-Bite Rule, the crucial issue is whether the owner should have known about the dog’s dangerous propensities. This factor will decide whether the court will hold the owner responsible.
If the dog owner can prove that his or her dog has never bitten anyone or shown signs of aggressive behavior, the court will not likely hold them responsible for someone’s injuries. If, however, the dog has bitten someone before the current incident or shown signs of aggression, the owner had a reasonable duty to prevent a subsequent attack. When dog owners fail in this duty, the courts will hold them responsible for damages the dog bite caused.
The courts can find owners negligent in their duties as dog owners if they knowingly keep a vicious dog on the property. If a dog is rabid, the owner will be liable for twice the damages sustained by the injured person, including injuries to the person’s stock, cattle, or hogs. If an owner allows a dog with dangerous tendencies to roam free and the dog bites someone, the courts can hold the owner responsible.
How to Avoid a Dog Bite
- Always approach a dog so they can see you and let them sniff you before petting; never approach one tied up, behind a fence or in a car
- Don’t pet a dog while they’re sleeping, eating or chewing on a toy
- If approached by a stray dog, stand still and wait for them to “investigate” you; don’t run away or make loud noises that could scare them
- Don’t allow young children to play with a dog -even your own- unsupervised
- Let an adult or the dog’s owner know if a dog is behaving oddly or acting aggressively around you or other people
How Dog Owners Can Prevent Dog Bites
- Socialize puppies early by playing with other dogs and people
- Properly train your dog from an early age
- Train them to “drop” toys to avoid reaching into their mouths
- Keep dogs on a leash when outside the home
- Never leave children alone with your dog
- Remove and comfort your dog if they become tense or nervous in a situation
- Introduce all guests to your dog
- Get your dog vaccinated (to prevent infections if they do bite)
What Should I Do When a Dog Bites Me?
- Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a clean towel
- Keep the injured area elevated
- Disinfect the bite with soap and water
- Cover the bite with a bandage
- Avoid infection by regularly changing the bandage and rubbing antibiotic cream over the wound
- Ask the dog’s owner if they’re up date on vaccinations and visit a doctor as soon as possible
What Are My Rights as a Victim?
If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury in Alabama, our dog bite laws may allow you to sue for financial compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental and emotional damage. Dog attacks can often lead to a long-lasting fear of dogs or the outdoors, especially for child victims. Obtaining compensation can take some of the weight off victims by alleviating them from financial burden.
After a dog attack, victims can have severe injuries – puncture wounds, lacerations, disfigurement, blunt-force trauma, crushing injuries, and infection. Many dog-bite victims suffer permanent scarring and need physical therapy to regain the use of damaged tissues and nerves. Surgery and rehabilitation may eventually heal the body, but the mental anguish from a violent dog attack can last a lifetime.
Your Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyers
Whether the owner of the dog that bit you is someone you know or a stranger, you have a legal right to take them to court if the dog was on the owner’s property, you were there lawfully, and the dog was unprovoked. If you believe your dog bite accident sounds like a case of owner negligence, don’t hesitate to contact The Mitchell Law Firm, LLC. Our Birmingham dog bite lawyers experience handling dog bites cases, both minor and severe, can help you win compensation.