Montgomery Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog ownership is common throughout Alabama. Dogs offer companionship, a way to teach children compassion, and are often used for hunting and protection at home. However, the large number of dogs in the state also contributes to a high frequency of dog bites. An unexpected attack from a dog can lead to you suffering serious physical injuries. The attack can also be emotionally scarring, particularly for young children.
If you were bitten by a dog and suffered injuries, you should speak with our Montgomery dog bite lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. We are highly experienced in animal attack cases. We have handled cases involving a wide range of breeds, injuries, and situations.
The Myth of the “One Bite Rule”
Many people wrongly believe that a dog and its owner may not face repercussions if their dog has never bitten someone before. They think that the dog’s first attack does not result in the owner’s liability. However, this is not true. There is “no one bite rule” in Alabama. If a dog attacks you and causes harm, then there are multiple ways in which you may be able to hold the owner or handler responsible for your injuries.
Local & State Laws May Apply to Your Dog Bite Case
If you were attacked by a dog and injured, you should speak with one of our Montgomery dog bite lawyers regarding the laws that apply to your case. Your case may be related to Alabama tort principles, Alabama statutes, and local ordinances.
Alabama Tort Principles that Pertain to Dog Bites
All states have their own case law and legal principles regarding torts, which are wrongful acts that result in harm or loss to another person. Negligence and wantonness are two types of torts, which can enable a person to file a personal injury claim.
Negligence means a person’s conduct did not meet the standard of what a reasonably prudent person would or would not do in a similar situation. Wantonness, also known as recklessness or gross negligence, is defined as a person’s conscious act or failure to act with a reckless or conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others while knowing their actions are likely to cause injuries.
If you suffered from a dog bite, you may be able to file a personal injury claim based on the dog owner or handler’s negligence or wantonness. For example, you may allege that the dog owner was negligent for failing to put their dog’s collar on, which is necessary to ensure the owner’s invisible fencing system works. You may also claim the dog’s owner was reckless if the owner trained the dog to be protective and took it to a public park without a leash, knowing the dog may be aggressive toward others.
Alabama Statutes Related to Dog Bites
If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, you may file a personal injury claim based on Alabama’s tort principles, or you may file a personal injury claim alleging the dog’s owner or handler violated one or more state statutes. Our Montgomery dog bite lawyers can help you understand all of the regulations dog owners in the state must follow.
One very important statute is Alabama (AL) Code § 3-6-1, often referred to as the mailman law. It states that when any dog, without provocation, bites or injures you, when at the time you had a right to be where you were, then the dog’s owner shall be liable for your damages, so long as you were on the owner’s property at the time (or you had been on the owner’s land, and the dog pursued you off of it). This means if you were on someone else’s property, such as their front doorstep or their lawn, and the homeowner’s dog attacked you without provocation, then the homeowner is liable for your injuries.
Another important statute is AL Code § 3-1-3. In Alabama, if anyone owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal, and as a result of that person’s careless management of the animal you are injured, then that animal’s owner or handler is liable for your injuries. Whether or not the dog was vicious or dangerous depends on a number of factors, including the breed and the dog’s history. The court will look to see whether the dog attacked, bit, or was aggressive in the past.
Alabama also has a leash law: AL Code § 3-1-5. Owners or keepers of dogs should confine the dogs to their own property or premises where the dogs are regularly kept. This typically means ensuring a dog is in a kennel, behind a fence, chained to the yard, or trained to adhere to an invisible fence. Dogs usually should not be allowed to run free unless in an area designated for that purpose.
Montgomery Dog Ordinances
Many counties and cities in Alabama have their own animal and dog-related ordinances, and Montgomery is no different. Chapter 4 of Montgomery’s Code of Ordinances outlines the city’s rules and regulations regarding animals Under Section 4-13, dogs running at large is prohibited. It is illegal for owners or any person with custody or control of a dog to allow that dog to run free within the city. Section 4-121 defines a vicious animal as one that attacks, bites, or inflicts severe injury on humans, pets, companion animals, or livestock. Montgomery requires that vicious animals be confined in adherence with local ordinances.
After a dog bite, call our Montgomery dog bite lawyers to investigate the situation. If we find evidence that the dog’s owner or handler violated one or more local ordinances or state laws, this is evidence we can use in court when we attempt to hold the owner liable for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
At Belt & Bruner, P.C., we have seen our clients suffer from all types of injuries after a dog attack, including:
- Puncture wounds
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Psychological trauma
Whether you suffered moderate, serious, or severe injuries from a dog bite, contact us as soon as you can to discuss obtaining compensation from the dog owner.
Personal Injury Compensation After a Dog Bite
When you are able to hold a dog’s owner or keeper responsible for your injuries caused by a bite, then you may request compensation for your:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning potential
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of quality of life
These are known as compensatory damages. If you can establish that the dog’s owner engaged in wanton or malicious behavior toward you, then you may also be able to obtain punitive damages. These are not intended to compensate you for your physical, emotional, or financial injuries. Instead, they are intended to punish and deter the defendant.
Call Our Montgomery Dog Bite Lawyers for Help Today
After a dog bite, you may think the financial burden rests on your family. However, that may not be the case. You should speak with an experienced Montgomery dog bite lawyer before assuming that there are no means of obtaining recourse. At Belt & Bruner, P.C., we will thoroughly investigate the attack and advice you of your rights and options. If there is a basis for holding the dog’s owner or keeper liable, then we can represent you in an insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit. If you were attacked on a person’s residential property, their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover your medical expenses.
Our Montgomery dog bite lawyers have a track record of success. We cannot guarantee a certain outcome to your case or a potential amount of compensation. However, we will always fight for you to receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.