Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyers | Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C.

No fee unless we win.

93 Verdicts and Settlements of One Million or more

Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Birmingham, you may be able to pursue compensation. Call our Birmingham dog bite lawyers today to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case.

93

View Case Results For:  

Dog Bites

Alabama Dog Bite Laws

Alabama dog bite laws are based on torts. Torts are wrongful acts that result in loss or harm to a person. The tort of negligence may provide relief to a dog attack victim. Alabama law defines negligence as follows:

“A person’s conduct is negligent when he/she either does something that a reasonably prudent person would not do in a similar situation, or he/she fails to do something that a reasonably prudent person would have done in a similar situation.”

In the context of a dog bite case, a showing of negligence is a case-by-case evaluation that must take into account a number of factors concerning the dog, the dog’s history, and the owner’s actions towards their dog or the injured party (i.e., failure to warn an individual about a dog’s vicious characteristics).

The tort of wantonness may also provide an avenue of relief to an individual harmed by a dog. Alabama law defines wantonness as:

“A person’s conscious act or failure to act with a reckless or conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others, and the person is aware that harm will likely or probably result.”

Much like negligence, every fact of the case must be considered when evaluating a potential claim for wantonness. Discovery should be focused on the dog owner’s actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the dog, the environment, and the circumstances leading up to a bite or attack. In addition to compensatory damages, an injured party may be allowed to recover punitive damages if he or she proves the owner or landlord acted with wantonness.

BBB A+ rating award
Best Layers 2018 award
National Board of Trial Advocacy award
super lawyers 2022 award
rising star award
Top 100 Trial Lawyers award
Nation's Top One Percent award
Million Dollar Advocates Forum logo
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum logo

What Alabama Laws Pertain to Dog Attacks?

Alabama Code § 3-1-3—Vicious Animal Law

Under this code provision, a dog owner can be liable for injuries caused by his failure to properly restrain a vicious or dangerous animal. The specific law reads as follows:

“When any person owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, as a result of his careless management of the same or his allowing the same to go at liberty, and another person, without fault on his part, is injured thereby, such owner or keeper shall be liable in damages for such injury.”

As you can see from the language of this section, this provision is not limited to dogs but instead applies to any vicious or dangerous animal. Whether or not an animal is “vicious or dangerous” often times requires investigation into the animal’s past, whether or not the animal has previously shown signs of aggression (even if there has not been a previous attack or bite), and the breed of animal. Our Birmingham dog bite lawyers employ a number of investigative tactics to uncover this evidence such as investigating the dog’s breeding history, vet records, witness or neighbor’s experiences with the animal, and the testimony of witnesses with expertise in the field.

Alabama Code § 3-1-5—Dogs Roaming at Large Law

Every person owning or having in charge any dog or dogs shall at all times confine such dog or dogs to the limits of his own premises or the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner of any dog or dogs or other person or persons having such dog or dogs in his or their charge from allowing such dog or dogs to accompany such owner or other person or persons elsewhere than on the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $2.00 nor more than $50.00.

This code provision often referred to as the “leash law,” requires dog owners to take steps to confine their dogs to their property in order to prevent them from roaming at large and possibly injuring others. Like other Alabama dog laws, liability may be imposed based on a violation of this statute in instances where a dog causes injury even if it does not bite someone. Examples would include a dog roaming off property of an owner and causing a bicyclist or motorcyclist to crash and sustain injury.

Alabama Code § 3-6-1—“Mailman” Law

This code section, nicknamed the “Mailman Law,” governs situations when a person is injured by another’s dog when the victim is legally on the property of the dog owner. The provision also provides that if the dog chases an individual off the owner’s property and then attacks, the owner can be liable for that off-premises attack. The specific law reads as follows:

“If any dog shall, without provocation, bite or injure any person who is at the time at a place where he or she has a legal right to be, the owner of such dog shall be liable in damages to the person so bitten or injured, but such liability shall arise only when the person so bitten or injured is upon property owned or controlled by the owner of such dog at the time such bite or injury occurs or when such person has been immediately prior to such time on such property and has been pursued therefrom by such dog.”

Alabama Code § 3-6-2 provides the definition of “legal right to be” for the previous code section as follows:

“For the purpose of this chapter a person shall be considered to be lawfully upon the private property of the owner of such dog when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws of the United States or the postal laws and regulations of the United States, when reading meters, when delivering milk, when making repairs to any public utility or service upon said premises or when on such property upon the invitation, either expressed or implied, of the owner or lessee of such property.”

When these two provisions are read in combination, it is easier to see why the law is nicknamed the “Mailman law,” given the specific example of a postal worker being bitten when delivering mail to a home. However, this law provides protection for anyone legally on the premises of a dog owner. Unlike Ala. Code § 3-1-3, the Mailman law applies to any dog and does not require any showing that the dog had a “vicious or dangerous” characteristic.

Birmingham Dog Bite Laws and City Ordinances

In addition to the animal and dog laws enacted by the Alabama legislature, many local municipalities have enacted additional ordinances that may apply to a dog attack and call for financial responsibility for one’s injuries. Some cities require registration and licenses for owners to harbor certain breeds within city limits. Many Alabama towns have enacted “vicious dog laws” that apply to a number of specific breeds. Some local laws presume that breeds such as pit bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, and Rottweilers are inherently “vicious” breeds. Other breeds, however, may also fall into general catchall provisions of “vicious dogs” under local laws.

See what our clients are saying. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Client Reviews

We’ve successfully represented clients who have suffered many types of injuries, and we’ll do our best to pursue maximum compensation for your losses. We will deliver the attention you deserve and take care of all the details of your case so you can focus on recovery.

Read More Reviews

It’s been three years, and during that time they have been in touch with me every step of the way. I can’t thank this firm enough.

Alexandria Carter

google review logo

I would certainly recommend Belt, Bruner & Barnett, P.C., because of their knowledge and expertise. They’re wonderful to work with.

Heidi Layton

google review logo

He [Keith Belt] worked relentlessly and went above and beyond the call of duty. He’s just an incredible man and an incredible attorney.

Debra Webb

google review logo

Municipal and Local Alabama Dog Laws

Below is a list of local dog laws available online. Click on the link for your town to read more information about your local law or check with your city clerk for a copy of any potential dog and animal ordinance.

Case Results

$25,000,000

Settlement in a Bad Faith/Fraud Case

Next Case See All Case Results

$13,500,000

$13,500,000 Settlement in a Product Liability Case

Next Case See All Case Results

$13,000,000

Jury Verdict in a Distracted Driving Case

Next Case See All Case Results

$12,750,000

12,750,000 Truck Accident Settlement

Next Case See All Case Results

$12,500,000

Jury Verdict in a Commercial Truck Crash

Next Case See All Case Results

Contact Our Experienced Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog or other animal in Birmingham, you should immediately seek medical help. Contact an experienced Birmingham dog bite lawyer who can help you navigate the complex Alabama legal system to recover compensation for your injuries. Call Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today at 205-933-1500 to find out how our dog bite attorneys can help you.