June 10, 2024

Dog ownership is a serious responsibility in Alabama, with rules governing leash requirements and owner liability if dogs attack or bite. When a visitor who is legally on a property is bitten by an unprovoked dog, the dog’s owner can be held responsible for medical bills and other damages.

Understanding the state’s regulations and your rights as a victim can help you get appropriate compensation after a dog attack. An Alabama dog bite lawyer can assist you through the legal process and help you hold the owners responsible.

Introduction to Alabama’s Dog Leash Laws

Alabama allows individual cities to implement leash laws for their area. For instance, it’s illegal in Montgomery to let your dog run at large under Section 4-13 of the municipal code. Owners must keep their dog on a leash no longer than six feet when walking with the animal outside their property. Otherwise, the dog must be confined within an enclosure or fence.

The state also has general rules regarding the restraint of dogs and those deemed dangerous. For instance, Section 3-1-5 of Alabama’s animal laws requires owners to confine their dogs to the premises and not allow them to run at large within a city or town.

The rules are even stricter for dogs deemed “dangerous,” meaning they’ve previously bitten or attacked someone and caused harm. Under Section 3-6A-3, owners must keep the dog in a lockable enclosure with a sign that warns visitors of the dangerous animal.

Liability When a Dog Bites Someone in Alabama

Alabama’s dog bite statute imposes strict liability on dog owners in most situations involving bites and injuries caused by their dogs. Section 3-6-1 holds dog owners responsible for all damages caused by their dogs in the following situations:

  • Unprovoked Attacks: If a dog bites or injures someone without provocation and the person is legally present on the property owned or controlled by the dog’s owner, the owner is fully liable for damages.
  • The Owner’s Property: Liability applies if the person injured by the dog was either still on the property when bitten or was pursued off the property by the dog after being on it.
  • Legal Presence or Invitation: This includes individuals performing duties imposed by law, such as mail carriers or meter readers, making deliveries, conducting repairs, or being on the property by invitation (expressed or implied) of the property owner.

Your Legal Options if You’re Bitten by a Dog

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite in Alabama, you have the right to pursue a settlement to cover your injuries and damages. Our legal team at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you seek the following compensation after a dog attack:

  • All current and future medical costs for treatment of bite injuries
  • Expenses related to rehabilitation, physical therapy, or assistive devices needed due to your injuries
  • Lost income due to time off work and any lost future earnings if you’re unable to return to your previous job
  • Non-economic damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress
  • Funds to replace belongings damaged in the attack

If the dog bite tragically results in a death, the surviving family can also seek compensation for funeral costs and loss of consortium or companionship.

Defenses From Dog Owners

If you file a dog bite claim in Alabama, the animal’s owner might use several defenses to reduce their liability. They could try to argue that you provoked the dog or were trespassing, meaning you had no legal right to be on the property.

The owner might also invoke the “one-bite” rule. According to Section 3-6-3 of Alabama’s animal laws, owners are only responsible for direct economic damages unless victims can prove the owners were aware of their dog’s dangerous tendencies from past behavior. This defense would limit the owner’s liability to actual expenses like medical bills, and exclude compensation for pain and suffering.

The experienced dog bite attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers are skilled at fighting these defenses. We can gather evidence to build a strong case for getting you the full compensation you’re entitled to.

Seek Fair Compensation After a Dog Attack in Alabama

Dog bites can have devastating physical and emotional impacts on victims. When attacks occur due to owner negligence, you have legal rights.

The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you through the complex claims process. With our knowledge of strict liability and one-bite laws, we’ll fight to maximize your compensation.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation, and let our experienced dog bite attorneys help you achieve financial recovery.

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