According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur each year. Even seemingly minor dog bite injuries may require medical attention, resulting in lost wages and medical expenses. Additionally, you may be experiencing a great deal of emotional trauma and pain and suffering because of the incident. Victims of dog bite injuries are legally entitled to damages from the owner of the dog under Alabama law.
Recovering damages under Alabama’s strict liability dog bite laws
Recovering actual damages (e.g., medical bills and lost wages) after a dog bite incident is possible under Alabama’s strict liability laws. First, we must consider if the dog is dangerous or not.
If the dog is classified as dangerous, owners are liable if the dog bites the victim without provocation. Additionally, if you can establish that the owner was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s dangerous propensities, you may recover non-compensatory damages (e.g., pain and suffering).
If the dog is not classified as dangerous, dog owners are still liable for injuries caused by their dog if:
- The victim was legally on the owner’s property.
- The victim did not provoke the dog.
Recovering damages under a negligence claim
Dog bite victims can also recover additional damages by filing a negligence claim. To recover damages, victims must show that the dog had bitten someone or shown aggression before and therefore, the owner should have known of their dangerous propensities.
Dog bite victims can also file a negligence claim against the owner if the owner violated a leash law in their area.
The aftermath of a dog bite can affect you for years to come. If you are interested in filing a claim against the owner of the dog that bit you, a personal injury attorney in your area may be able to help.