Originally published March 24, 2020.
Dogs are a big part of many people’s lives in Alabama. Owners take their pets to work, play with them in the park, and eat with them at dog-friendly restaurants. However, sometimes dogs get nervous, scared, or surprised, and can bite, leaving their victims nursing serious injuries, like lacerations and punctures, nerve damage, broken bones, infected wounds, and mental trauma. In fact, every day nearly 1,000 people in the United States get emergency medical treatment for dog bites.
If you suffered a dog bite in Alabama and the dog belonged to someone else, you may be eligible for compensation. However, you will need to work with a competent Montgomery personal injury lawyer to get justice. Alabama’s dog bite laws can be difficult to understand, and you need to focus on your recovery at this time
Many people believe that owners can only be held responsible if they knew the dog was dangerous or vicious. This is known as the one-bite rule. In some states, this is the only approach taken to dog bite incidents. Other states practice strict liability, which means a dog owner can be held liable for damages regardless of whether or not the dog acted aggressively before.
In Alabama, there are multiple laws that affect dog bite cases. In some ways, the state practices a unique combination of the one-bite rule and strict liability. Also, depending on the nature of the incident, state or local laws may apply. On occasion, not just pet owners but landlords and property owners can be legally responsible. Let’s look at some of the laws that may apply to your case.
This law applies if someone has a dangerous animal and they allow it to go free or manage it carelessly. They may have to provide compensation for injuries the animal causes because they failed to restrain it.
Anyone in charge of a dog is legally required to confine that dog within the limits of specific premises. This law, otherwise known as the leash law, requires owners to prevent their dogs from roaming and injuring others. If the dog strays, they can be held liable for injuries it causes. Your personal injury attorney in Montgomery, AL will help you to build a strong case.
The piece of legislation is also called the mailman law. It applies when a person is legally on the property of the owner and they get injured by the dog. If the dog chases an individual off the owner’s property and then attacks them, the owner can also be held responsible.
In addition to the state animal laws, local municipalities often have their own ordinances that may apply in your situation. In some cases, owners must register and license certain breeds in order to keep them. Some local laws identify Rottweilers, pit bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Bulldogs as inherently vicious.
If you have a valid claim against the owner, you can collect a range of damages. These include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your attorney will examine all aspects of your case to ensure you make a claim for full and fair compensation. Eyewitness testimony, doctor’s reports, medical bills, and previous pay slips can help to support your claim.
You have two years following the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. If you don’t take legal action within this timeframe, the court will likely bar you from doing so. Two years may seem substantial, but your medical treatment and insurance negotiations may take several months.
Dog bite claims can be complex. You need to pursue the case under the right law, and you must go after the correct defendant. Also, negotiating with an insurance company is rarely easy so you need to have a skilled negotiator on your side. When you get representation from an Alabama personal injury attorney at The Vance Law Firm, you’ll get the ally you need.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.