Huntsville Dog Bite Lawyer
For many of us, pets are more than just animals – they’re members of the family. Unfortunately, not everyone treats animals with the careful attention and respect they deserve. When a pet owner’s negligent behavior contributes to a dog bite or animal attack, you may be able to collect compensation for any damages you incur. Contact the Huntsville dog bite attorneys at Conchin Cole & Jordan LLC today to schedule a free review of your legal options. Alabama residents choose our firm because:
- As a locally owned and operated firm, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in settlements for families just like yours.
- We have a reputation for excellence in our community.
- We prepare every case as if it’s going to trial – and will not hesitate to pursue litigation if it means fair compensation for your injuries.
Dog Bite Laws & Statutes in Alabama
If you have sustained an injury from a dog or other animal in Alabama, you may have legal grounds to pursue a claim. However, determining circumstances that merit a claim require the guidance of a Huntsville dog bite lawyer. Dog bite laws in Alabama can be complex and state statutes provide several different scenarios in which you, as a victim of an animal attack, may pursue compensation.
Alabama Code 3-6-1
The state’s rules for dog bites fall under Alabama Code 3-6-1. This law states that an owner of a pet may be legally liable for any injuries that pet causes on his or her property when the following apply:
- You were legally on the pet owner’s premises.
If you were invited to an acquaintance’s house for a barbecue, for example, you may be able to obtain compensation for any injuries his or her dog causes. If you were trespassing, on the other hand, you will not.
- A dog or other pet was the proximal cause of your injuries.
In other words, the animal who attacked you directly led to your injuries. This applies not only to bites but also to knock you over.
- You incurred damages as a result.
In order to collect compensation for a dog bite, you must be able to demonstrate that you suffered losses. Examples of these losses include medical bills, lost wages, and the projected cost of future care.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites
Dog bite injury claims require the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. They also feature certain deadlines for filing a suit, called the statute of limitations. Under state law, a victim has 2 years from the date of the incident to file a claim for compensation. If he or she misses this deadline, he or she could lose the right to collect damages.
Alabama law does not provide a specific remedy for dog bites incurred at a public place or third- party dwelling. On the other hand, a person who sustains injuries from an animal attack in one of these instances may still collect damages based on the concept of negligence. In this case, a plaintiff will have to establish that a pet owner failed to use reasonable care regarding the control of the animal. For example, showing that a pet owner violated a local leash law is one way a victim might prove negligence.
Alabama’s Strict Liability Laws and “One Bite Statutes”
In Alabama, a dog owner may be liable for the actions of his or her pet under the theory of strict liability. In other words, it doesn’t matter if a dog owner knew if his or her pet had the capacity to be dangerous. He or she will still be liable for any injuries that pet causes, even if the owner had no reason to believe the dog might be dangerous. However, this rule only applies to injuries that occur on a pet owner’s premises.
In some respects, however, Alabama is also a “one-bite” state when it comes to liability. States with a one bite rule do not hold a person liable for a dog’s injury unless he or she had reason to believe the animal was dangerous. In Alabama, a pet owner is strictly liable for any economic damages associated with an injury (such as medical bills or lost wages). On the other hand, Alabama observes a one bite rule when awarding punitive damages. In other words, a victim cannot collect damages for intangible losses unless the dog has a history of violence, giving the pet owner reason to believe it was dangerous.
When a dog bite occurs away from private property, then the case may fall under the purview of common law negligence. In this case, a “one bite statute” may apply. In other words, you may have to show that a pet owner had reason to believe that his or her dog was dangerous, and allowed them in public anyway. Under Alabama law, a plaintiff must be able to show that a dog displayed previous vicious or dangerous propensities. This could be more than just a prior bite history; it could include any behavior that may illustrate that an animal posed a risk of injury.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Many responsible pet owners treat their dogs and other animals like members of the family by keeping up with routine vaccinations and socializing them to behave around people and other animals. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same dedication and responsibility regarding pet ownership.
A dog bite can lead to serious damages, with some injuries requiring hospitalization or surgery. If you recently suffered harm from an animal attack, you need an experienced Huntsville dog bite attorney. If you or a loved one recently suffered harm from a dog bite or other animal attack, you may be able to file a claim and collect compensation for the economic or non-economic damages you sustained. However, these claims require assistance from an attorney with experience with dog bite law in Huntsville, AL. Contact the Huntsville lawyers at Conchin Cole and Jordan, LLC, to schedule a free review of your legal options.