Dog Bite & Animal Attack Lawyer in Chatom
Dogs are man’s best friend, but they are also animals at heart. When they feel threatened or unsafe, they can act out by biting or attacking the perceived threat. Despite popular misconceptions, dog bites commonly affect people who already know the dog—these attacks don’t usually target random people on the street.
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, you might be wondering who’s going to pay for your medical bills and other expenses. If negligence can be shown, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner. Discuss your options now by calling the Chatom office of Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley at 251-847-2237 or the Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483.
Who’s Responsible for a Dog Bite?
One of the most widespread misconceptions of dog bites is the “one bite law.” People assume that a dog gets one “free” bite without consequences, and that any civil or criminal consequences don’t occur until the second bite. However, that isn’t the case in Alabama or in most other states. If a dog bites someone on their owner’s property and the victim is permitted to be on that property, the owners are liable for any damage caused. If a dog is known to be dangerous and the owners let it roam or do not keep it secured, they are liable for additional damages.
Alabama law states that a dog owner is liable for injuries caused when their dog bites someone without provocation on their property—as long as that person is legally allowed to be there. This excludes trespassers, but includes mail workers, meter workers, utility workers, and others who have a valid and legal reason to be on the property.
It’s important to note that the relevant statute does not cover dog bites that occur in public. However, it does include dog bites that occur after a dog pursues someone off of their owner’s property and subsequently bites them.
The principles of common law negligence still apply, so you may still be able to seek compensation after a dog bite in public. A dog owner is legally expected to know the traits of their dog’s breed, such as a strong jaw, a propensity for guarding, or a high likelihood of attacks.
Additionally, an owner who violates a pet-related statute could be held liable for damage caused by their dog. Consider, for example, a dog owner who violates a municipal statute requiring dogs in public to be leashed and under their owner’s control. If their dog is wandering free, they could be held liable for all damage caused by their dog.
Common Injuries You May Suffer After a Dog Bite
The severity of your injuries play a big role in determining how much compensation you get. Injuries commonly reported after dog bites and attacks include:
- Lacerations and scarring
- Permanent disfigurement
- Nerve damage
- Communicable diseases, including tetanus and rabies
- Muscle tears
- PTSD and other forms of mental trauma
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Animal Attack
After a dog bite, it’s important to act quickly to protect your rights and file a claim. Use these tips to protect your health:
- Make a mental note of any identifying information. Remember the dog’s approximate size, color, markings, and any breed identifiers. Write this information down at the first opportunity.
- Call the authorities if you suffered serious injuries. Call the police to the scene if you’ve sustained serious injuries. You may need emergency medical attention and a police report.
- Exchange contact information with the dog’s owner and any witnesses. You must get the dog owner’s contact information. Ideally, you should also get contact information for any witnesses who saw the attack.
- Seek medical attention. Prompt medical attention is key after a dog attack. This can help you avoid permanent damage, scarring, and infectious diseases.
- Report the animal bite to the authorities. Consult the animal control department in your city and file a report as soon as possible.
- Hire an attorney. An animal bite attorney can help you fight for the compensation you are owed.
Choose Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley for Your Injury Claim
The team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley knows how devastating a dog attack can be, and we fight aggressively to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve. To schedule a consultation now, call our Chatom office at 251-847-2237 or our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483. You can also get in touch with us online.