Dog bite liability in Alabama generally lies with the dog’s owner or the person presumed to control the animal when the attack occurred. Alabama law provides multiple grounds to pursue a claim against the dog’s owner or another liable party.
Grounds for a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Alabama
There are three primary statutes our attorneys could use to support a dog bite lawsuit in Alabama. Which one we might use in your case depends greatly on the circumstances of what happened. However, they can all be equally effective in allowing you to recover compensation if the evidence supports your claim.
The grounds for a dog bite case in Alabama include:
The Dog Is Dangerous
Under Ala. Code § 3-1-3, If the dog has a history of aggressive behavior or has exhibited dangerous tendencies, the owner must carefully oversee their behavior and take extra steps to prevent harm to others.
Aggressive, dangerous, or bad behavior could include:
- Previous bites
- Snapping at people
- Chasing them
- Knocking people down
As advocates for victims, we must show evidence of this previous behavior.
The Dog Was Not Under Control or Contained
Under Ala. Code § 3-1-5, dogs cannot be allowed to run loose. Owners must keep their dogs inside a fence, on a leash, or otherwise under their control at all times. When a bite occurs off the dog’s property, the owner did not likely have control of the dog at the time. This is one of the most used arguments for dog bite liability in Alabama.
The Dog Bit Someone Legally on the Owner’s Property
Ala. Code § 3-6-1 is sometimes called “the mailman law.” When someone visits a property for a legal reason, such as delivering the mail or a package, the owner must protect them from unreasonable harm.
This includes keeping their dog contained or under control. If a dog bites someone with a legal right to be on the property, the owner would be responsible under the state’s premises liability laws.
This is true regardless of whether the dog has a history of vicious or dangerous behavior. It can also apply if the dog chases the person away from the property and then attacks. Commonly, we apply this statute in cases involving delivery workers, utility workers, and guests invited onto the property.
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What does “Strict Liability” Mean?
Some states have what is known as a “one-bite rule” for canine attacks. In these states, it is difficult to hold the pet owner legally responsible for their dog’s bad behavior unless they have a history of similar attacks. Essentially, every dog in these states gets to bite one person for free before that owner is liable.
This is not the case in Alabama. Instead, you may hear Alabama’s dog bite laws referred to as “strict liability.” What this means is that the owner is liable for their pet’s bad behavior as long as the animal was not provoked.
Recovering Compensation for an Alabama Dog Bite Incident and Injuries
Dog bites can cause serious injuries and require extensive treatment, monitoring, and aftercare. We often see clients suffer injuries like:
- Lacerations, puncture wounds, and tearing
- Damage to the underlying muscle, tendons, and ligaments
- Damaged nerves
- Related infections
- Psychological disturbances
All of these require current and possibly future medical care. Some will necessitate plastic surgery and other treatment to reduce scarring or improve movement and function. Mental health care might also be necessary.
In addition, victims could miss work or suffer permanent impairment or disfigurement. We pursue damages to cover these costs and more for our clients.
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What Your Lawyer Will Do to Support Your Alabama Dog Bite Case
As a part of handling one of these cases, we:
- Identify the owner of the dog
- Investigate the dog’s history
- Determine if the owner has homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, or personal assets to cover the expenses
- Build a case to show what happened and the damages our client suffered
From there, we can file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit on behalf of the client and fight for an appropriate payout.
You must contact us quickly after your injuries occur. This allows us to gather the most evidence and build the strongest case. In addition, Ala. Code § 6-2-38 imposes a deadline for lawsuits. Most parties have only two years to act. However, you might have less time under certain circumstances.
You Could Speak With a Prospective Legal Firm, Often for Free
Working with an Alabama personal injury lawyer can help you develop a case and pursue dog bite compensation. Personal injury law firms generally provide free initial consultations where you can learn more about your options and the grounds that support your claim or lawsuit.
Talk to an Our Personal Injury Legal Team for Free Today
You can speak with a staff member from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We represent all our clients based on a contingency fee, and there are no upfront costs associated with hiring our attorneys.
Call (800) 537-8185 for your complimentary consultation with our lawyer today.
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