Huntsville Dog Bite Lawyers
There is no denying that dogs are very prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Between emotional support dogs, and the increased amount of business that are pet-friendly, it has never been more common for dogs to be part of your daily routine. Simply put, there is a reason they’re known as man’s best friend. Nowhere is this truer than in Alabama. 44.1 percent of Alabama households own at least one dog.
As you may expect, however, this increase in interaction with dogs comes with a negative consequence: it also increases the number of opportunities for you to be attacked by such an animal. Our Huntsville dog bite lawyers see the effects of humans and dogs being in such close proximity, and we are prepared to help you if you’ve been injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite attack, call the Huntsville personal injury lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. right away. Contact us today at (256) 513-6848 to schedule your free case consultation.
What Legal Principles are Relevant to a Dog Bite?
Under the Code of Alabama, dog attacks are torts, or wrongful actions that result in your loss or harm. There are two standards that Alabama law uses to decide whether a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by their dog: negligence and wantonness.
A Combination of Laws Governs Dog Bites in Alabama
Like other states, Alabama does not follow a “one bite” rule. There are multiple ways for you to recover damages after a dog bite attack in Alabama. While there are laws that apply to dog bites across the entire state, there are also local ordinances that affect the way dog attacks are handled from municipality to municipality.
Alabama Law Requires Vicious Animals to be Properly Restrained
Alabama (AL) Code § 3-1-3 states that if you are injured as a result of “careless management” of a dangerous animal, the keeper of that animal is liable for your injuries. Since the statute does not specifically name dogs, it is applicable to all animals. Whether or not the management of an animal is deemed careless usually requires an investigation into the animal’s past. If previous behavior indicates that the keeper’s management of the animal can be classified as either negligent or wanton, the handler can be assigned liability for your injuries.
If you were injured by a dog you believe to be vicious, contact our Huntsville dog bite lawyers right away.
Dogs May Not Roam at Large in Alabama
Often referred to as the “leash law,” AL Code § 3-1-5 prohibits dogs from roaming unaccompanied by their owners. The owners or keeper of the dog must take reasonable steps to keep it within the boundaries of the premises where it’s usually kept. If the dog is being watched by someone other than its owner, the keeper must keep the dog on their own premises. Whoever claims responsibility for a dog also claims responsibility for any damage it causes while roaming unaccompanied.
If You Have a Legal Right to Enter a Property, the Owner Has a Duty to Protect You
If you are legally on someone’s property, they are responsible for any damages you may suffer as a result of their dog. This rule is stated in (AL) Code § 3-6-1. Often referred to as the “mailman law,” this rule says that if you’re legally on someone’s property and their dog bites you without incitement, the property owner is liable for your injuries.
The law also declares the owner liable for damages caused to someone who was on their property “immediately before” the attack, and was “pursued therefrom” by the dog. This means that even if their dog has chased you off of their property, the owner still may be responsible for damages incurred in the attack.
Dog bite laws can be confusing. If you’re searching for clarity after suffering from an attack, call the Huntsville dog bite lawyers of Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. to learn more about the statutes governing these cases.
Negligence in Dog Bite Cases
Negligence refers to a person acting in a way that a reasonable person would not in a specific situation. The opposite is also true. Negligence also refers to someone failing to act when a reasonable person would have. In dog bite cases, this standard usually applies to the previous behavior of the dog. For example, if a dog has bitten someone, then its owner has reason to know of its dangerous behavior.
Under both state law and the Huntsville Code of Ordinances, owners have certain obligations regarding their dogs’ behavior. If they don’t fulfill these obligations, or if they fail to warn you of possible danger, they may be liable for the injuries the dog caused you.
Wantonness: How it Differs From Negligence
Wantonness is slightly different standard than negligence. If someone’s actions are wanton, then they have acted with conscious disregard for the well-being of others. Ignoring leash laws is a good example of this. If an owner knows their dog has exhibited dangerous behavior, they would be wanton by purposefully removing its leash in public. In turn, this could lead to their liability if the dog injured you in any way.
An Actual Bite is Not Necessary to Cause Liability
While “dog bite law” is a general term used to refer to cases involving animal attacks, it is important to note that an actual bite is not necessary to recover damages. For example, if a dog roamed unaccompanied in violation of the leash law, and causes you to crash your car, the dog’s keeper may be responsible for the damages you incurred in the collision.
While bites are common in dog attacks, other injuries that can be incurred from such a situation include:
- Puncture wounds
- Injuries to your soft tissue
- Nerve damage
- Psychological trauma
Call Our Huntsville Dog Bite Lawyers for Help Today
After you’ve been injured in a dog bite case, you may need help sifting through the Alabama laws to see which statutes apply to your situation. The Huntsville dog bite lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. have won dog bite cases all over Alabama. Our attorneys understand how to fight for you to obtain the compensation you deserve after you’ve been injured. A dog attack is scary, and can affect your life for years. You shouldn’t be left with pain and medical bills because of someone else’s negligence.