Alabama Dog Bite Lawyers
The benefits of owning a dog are often explained in depth by researchers, friends, and family. Some studies indicate that having a canine companion is linked to a longer and healthier life. Many people in Alabama may have taken these ideas to heart. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, Alabama is 7th in the country for dog ownership. Of Alabama households, 44.1 percent own at least one dog.
While a dog can certainly be your best friend, there are also situations in which these pets can become dangerous. Some are aggressive, unpredictable, or even trained to fight. These factors can cause a dog to attack you or a loved one.
If you were injured in a dog attack, do not hesitate to contact our Alabama dog bite lawyers. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., an attorney will review the laws and local ordinances applicable to your situation and help determine whether the dog’s owner or handler violated any of those rules.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
If a dog attacked you or a loved one, you might be suffering from:
- Severe lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Infections, such as rabies or tetanus
- Psychological harm
At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we know that dog bites are not always a minor nip. If you were attacked by a dog, you may have suffered multiple bites. The dog may have torn the skin, muscle, ligaments, and/or tendons. Depending on where the dog bit you and the severity of the bite, you may have disfiguring scars. You may have permanent limitations, such as nerve damage and reduced mobility.
To discuss the value of your physical, psychological, and financial injuries, call our Alabama dog bite lawyers as soon as you can. We will work with your physicians to determine the value of your injuries and the amount of compensatory damages you can seek.
Alabama’s Tort Principles Related to Dog Bites
Torts are wrongful acts, other than a breach of contract, that result in you suffering a loss. Negligence is a type of tort, and it often results in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. When you are injured in a dog attack that was the result of a dog owner or handler’s negligence, then Alabama’s tort principles apply to your situation.
If you wish to sue the dog’s owner or handler based on negligence, you must prove that the individual acted in a way that a reasonably prudent person would not in a similar situation. Or, you must prove the dog owner failed to do something a reasonably prudent person would do in a similar situation. In relation to a dog bite case, it could be that the dog owner failed to keep the dog in their yard or took an aggressive dog to a crowded park. Whether or not the dog owner or handler was negligent is determined on a case-by-case basis in Alabama. A judge will review the dog’s history, the owner’s history with owning and controlling pets, and the circumstances surrounding the attack.
You may also have a claim if you believe the dog owner or handler was not just negligent, but they were reckless. In Alabama, this is also known as wantonness and is defined 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 knows their actions are likely to cause harm.
If you have questions about the torts applicable to your case, call the Alabama dog bite lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today for help.
Alabama Dog Laws
Alabama has a number of laws that relate to dog attacks and dog bites:
Dog Owner Liability/“Mailman Law” (Alabama [AL] Code §3-6-1)
If any dog, without provocation, bites or injures an individual, who at the time had a right to be where they were, then the dog’s owner shall be liable for the bitten individual’s damages. However, there is a limitation to this law. A dog’s owner is only liable if the individual was on the owner’s property at the time of the bite or immediately prior to the attack, and the dog followed the individual off the property. Per AL Code §3-6-2, a person is lawfully on the dog owner’s property if they are there due to the laws of the U.S., are reading meters, delivering milk, making repairs to public utilities, or are on the property through an express or implied invitation of the owner or tenant of the property.
Vicious Animal Law (AL Code §3-1-3)
Under this law, if anyone owns or keeps a dangerous animal of any kind and as the result of that person’s careless management of the animal, another individual is injured, then the animal’s owner is liable. Whether or not an animal is vicious or dangerous is not based entirely on the breed of dog, though this is considered. A judge will also look into the animal’s history to see if there is a record of any previous attacks, bites, or aggressive behavior. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we utilize vet records, neighbor’s experiences, witness testimony, and expert witnesses to prove certain animals are vicious.
Permitting Dogs to Run at Large/”Leash Law” (AL Code §3-1-5)
This law states that owners or keepers of dogs should confine them dogs to their own premises or the premises where the dogs are regularly kept. This means that typically, a person’s dog should be in some way confined to their yard. If a dog’s owner or keeper violates this law, they are guilty of a misdemeanor.
Under Alabama laws, if you are injured by a dog bite, there are many ways to hold the dog owner or keep responsible. Whether or not the owner was negligent, they may be responsible under the Mailman Law, Leash Law, or Vicious Animal Law. To discuss the best way to prove your case, you should speak with our Alabama dog bite lawyers right away.
Local Dog Ordinances in Alabama
When it comes to your case, it is not just state law and legal principles that will be relevant. Many counties and cities have their own ordinances in regard to dogs and other animals. For example, many municipalities require dogs to be confined to their owner or handler’s property, and require dogs to be on leashes when out in public. Your county may also have a vicious dog law, which dictates when dogs are considered vicious and dangerous.
If you are unsure of your municipality’s ordinances related to dogs, or whether any of the ordinances impact your dog bite claim, you should talk with an Alabama dog bite lawyer. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we will thoroughly investigate your case, analyze the relevant law, and explain your legal options.
Dog Bite Compensation
If you were injured in a dog attack and the dog’s owner or handler is at fault, let one of our Alabama dog bite lawyers fight for you to receive compensation for your:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning potential
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of quality of life
Belt & Bruner P.C. Have a Track Record of Success in Dog Bite Cases
Choosing an attorney for your case can be difficult. You want to work with someone who understands you and your family, and someone who will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Our Alabama dog bite lawyers have years of experience handling dog attack cases, including those related to feared breeds and typically non-violent types of dogs. We have worked with individuals who were harmed by small-to-medium sized dogs, and others who were bitten by large, strong breeds. We have also handled cases resulting in moderate injuries as well as those involving significant and permanent harm. Overall, we have fought to obtain more than $11 million in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome to your case or a specific amount of compensation, we have obtained sizeable awards for our clients, and we are prepared to help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Contact Our Alabama Dog Bite Lawyers Today
If you were injured by a dog or any other type of animal, your first step should be seeking medical attention. You may need stitches, an updated tetanus shot, or preventative antibiotics. If your injuries are more severe, do not hesitate to go to an emergency room. Once you are safe and have been cared for, then contact our experienced and skilled Alabama dog bite lawyers. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we want to help you hold the dog owner responsible for their dangerous animal and obtain the compensation you need to cover your injuries and expenses.