If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover monetary compensation under Alabama’s dog bite statutes for damages suffered .There are multiple circumstances in which a person who has suffered a bog bite may be entitled to compensation. If another person’s dog has bitten you, it is he or she will be held liable for injuries. But the owner can only be held liable if the dog bite occurred on the owner’s property or if the dog ran off of the owner’s property to pursue the victim. Although the owner can usually be held liable for a full range of damages, under what is known as mitigation law, owners have a defense. If the owner of the dog did not know or have any reason to indicate that his or her dog was dangerous or aggressive, then the owner can only be held liable for actual expenses. Sometimes, circumstances, such as owning a dog that has a reputation of being aggressive may satisfy this requirement that an owner be aware of the potential for aggressive behavior in their dog.
When Are You Entitled to Recover Damages?
The owner of a dog who has bitten or attacked another may be held responsible for injuries incurred by their animal if the following circumstances have been met:
1. The victim of the attack did not provoke the dog.
2. The victim was not trespassing on the property where the dog resides.
3. The victim was on the animal’s owner’s property or had been run after by the dog after leaving the property.
If you have been injured by a dog on the owner’s property, you may be able to collect damages for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, psychological distress, and/or disability.
One Bite Rule
In cases in which the plaintiff is asking for damages and the dog bite statute does not apply, he or she needs to prove that the owner of the dog had reason to believe that their dog had the potential for vicious behavior. This is referred to as “scienter”. The only issue is whether the owner knew or had reason to believe as a reasonable person would that the dog had dangerous propensities. The plaintiff may use many circumstances to prove or plead that the owner had sufficient knowledge of or reason to believe that the animal had displayed the potential to act aggressively.
Landlord Liability for Dog Bites, a Form of Premises Liability
In cases where a home or premises is rented out, if a dog bites or attacks another person, liability could fall onto the landlord, rather than the owner of the dog. The owner of a property has a legal responsibility to prevent and correct dangerous conditions on a property that could result in injury, and this includes prohibiting dangerous animals from entering or residing on the premises.
Statute of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
In Alabama, there is a strict deadline for those affected by dog attacks or bites. An injured victim of a dog bite has two years from the date of attack to file a claim with the courts. Because of this, if you have been bitten or injured by a dog, it is essential that you contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases as soon as possible following the attack to protect your right to a recovery.
What to Expect from the Drake Law Firm
At the Drake Law Firm in Birmingham, our personal injury attorneys have over ten years of experience defending complex personal injury cases. We are a small firm with a practice exclusively dedicated to injury and wrongful death law, and have a nearly 99 percent success rate in the cases we take on. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked, call Drake Law for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we recover a settlement for your injuries.