Alabama Dog Bite Laws and Personal Injury Compensation
Posted on Wed Aug 04, 2021
Insurance companies pay over $100 million per year in dog bite claims. That’s because if someone fails to control their dog and it bites you, you have a right to recover under Alabama dog bite laws. If you have been bitten by a dog, keep reading to learn about your legal options.
Alabama Dog Bite Laws
Alabama dog bite laws depend on where the bite happened. When the bite is on the dog owner's property and the person bitten was on the property legally, there is strict liability under Alabama dog bite law if certain elements are met.
Strict liability means that the dog owner is liable just because the bite happened. There is no need for the victim of the bite to prove how the bite happened or why the owner should have prevented it. The fact that the victim was on the property legally is all that needs to be established for the owner to be responsible for the bite.
However, victims of dog bites must show that the dog owner knew, or should have known, of the dog’s vicious propensities. Under Alabama law, certain breeds, like pit bulls, have vicious propensities as a matter of law. This means that the dog’s breed conclusively establishes that the dog owner should have known that the dog could be vicious.
When the bite occurs off the owner's property, a dog bite becomes a negligence claim under dog bite laws in Alabama. This means that the victim of a dog bite needs to show that the owner failed to take reasonable care to prevent the dog from biting — like following leash laws. The dog's propensity to bite may also come into play and mean that the owner should have shown greater care. This could include dogs who have been declared dangerous under Emily's law in Alabama.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against a Dog Owner?
Alabama dog bite laws have a two-year statute of limitations. That means that you must bring a personal injury claim under Alabama dog bite law within two years of being bitten. If you do not file your case on time, you will generally lose your right to recover from your injuries.
Smart Steps to Take After Being Bitten by a Dog
If a dog has bitten you, it's important to protect both your health and your right to recover under Alabama dog bite laws.
Seek medical attention.
Even if a bite seems minor, there is a risk of infection. The bite may also have gone deeper than you originally thought and done damage to your nerves or muscles. Have a doctor clean and examine the bite to be sure it is properly treated.
Document all injuries.
Your doctor should put notes in your file, but this may not be enough for court. Take pictures of your injuries as evidence. You may also want to explain to your doctor that you need detailed records for insurance or a potential lawsuit.
Contact the dog owner's insurance company.
Most dog bites are covered under the owner's home insurance policy. You need to contact the insurance company by the deadline to make a claim. However, do not settle without understanding your legal rights since you might not know what you're entitled to.
Contact a personal injury lawyer.
An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and if the insurance company is making a fair offer. To protect your rights and to get help with the steps you need to take, contact a lawyer as quickly as possible.
Suffered a Dog Bite? Let Warren & Simpson Fight for You.
Dog bites can be a scary, if not traumatic, experience. Compensation for your injuries can ease the mental and physical burden. To learn more about dog bite laws in Alabama or if you have a case, contact Warren & Simpson now.