An attack from a vicious dog can be extremely traumatizing. Such incidents usually happen without warning and can be sudden and savage. Dog bites are serious as they can result in broken bones, rabies, blood loss, lacerations, facial disfiguration and emotional trauma as well.
If you have sustained injury from a dog bite, it's imperative to know the right steps to take in order to get fair compensation. Alabama is a strict liability state meaning that the dog owner will be held liable if their pet bites another person, no matter whether they had prior knowledge that the dog could potentially bite. If you've been bitten by a dog, it's best to seek the help of a reputable Anniston dog bite lawyer. Our firm has been in the industry for years and has successfully handled dog bite claims on behalf of Anniston victims, either through negotiations or litigation.
We can help you protect your rights so, do not hesitate to get in touch by calling 256-666-6000 today!
What Should I Do After Being Bitten By a Dog?
1. Seek Medical Attention
Going to a doctor is obviously the first thing to do after a dog attack, regardless of the scope of the injury. Usually, the shock and adrenaline release prevents people from feeling pain and realizing how severe the injuries might really be. You can brush off a dog attack as something trivial, but seeking medical attention is not only important for your health but also plays a vital role as evidence for your claim.
2. Document the Incident
You should do your best to document the scene. Take photos of the bite and anything else relevant, including whether there was a chain and cage on the dog's property if there was a ‘beware of dog' sign, etc. Also, you'll want to gather information about the dog and its owner. This includes:
-The name of the owner, or person in control of the dog
-The name and breed of the dog
-The dog's vet and animal control license number.
In some cases, the person in control of the dog may try to flee the scene. If this occurs, ensure you take a photograph of them and the dog.
3. Call an Anniston Dog Bite Attorney!
Personal injury claims tend to be complicated, and the process can be a burden if you sustained a severe injury. Having a lawyer by your side can make this process easier and make sure your rights are protected.
Who do I Report a Dog Bite to in the State of Alabama?
1. Report the Incident to the Authorities
For your safety, call the police immediately to notify them the moment a dog owned by another individual bites you. You should ideally call the police if the person in control or owner threatens you. If the incident is over and you don't feel in danger, you can call the non-emergency police number. Regardless, it is important to have an official police report for the incident.
2. File a Report with Animal Control
You should also file a dog bite report with the local animal control after the incident. This will create a formal complaint that can be extremely useful when it comes to making a dog bite claim.
Why Should I Hire an Anniston Dog Bite Lawyer?
1. Dog Bites Can Be Severe
Dog bites can be deemed as serious medical conditions as they can lead to infections like MRSA, rabies, major blood loss, muscle and tendon damage, etc. All these call for medical assistance and some may require long-term treatment, putting you in a financial hurdle. In addition to the need to focus on recovery, you need a lawyer to fight for your rights and ensure you are fairly compensated for the medical expenses and other losses.
2. Access to Resources
When you hire an Anniston dog bite lawyer, you are hiring a team of experts who will work hard to handle your claim and keep you in the loop as the case progresses. You will have a lead lawyer, investigators to garner evidence, and a paralegal for the legwork and research.
3. You Need them Take on Insurance Companies
When it comes to making claims and negotiations, insurance companies have a habit of low-balling their clients and trying whatever they can to avoid making compensation in the first place. An experienced lawyer knows all their tricks and will work on your behalf to ensure they do not take advantage of your vulnerability.
4. Peace of Mind
If you decide to take on the claim yourself, chances are you'll second guess your every move. With an experienced attorney by your side, however, you will have the confidence to see the case through to the end.
During the initial consultation, the lawyer will fill you in on the whole process and the steps you have to take. They will also give you your legal options and handle the case as you focus on recovering.
Who is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
According to state law, the dog's owner is liable for your injuries, given you were on the person's property legally during the attack. The owner can still be held liable if their dog chased you and attacked you off their property.
If you were trespassing or provoked the dog and it bit you, then the owner is not legally responsible for your injuries. Keep in mind that some owners try to claim they did not know that their pet was vicious, mischievous, or dangerous. If they can prove they were unaware, your damages may be limited.
In cases where the owner isn't the property owner, liability may fall onto the landlord via premises liability. That's because property owners are legally required to prevent and correct any dangerous situations in their property that might cause injuries to others. This includes prohibiting dangerous animals on the premises.
What Type of Compensation can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
Compensation for dog bites usually comes from homeowner's insurance coverage. This means you don't have to fret if the dog was owned by a loved one, acquaintance, friend or neighbor. Your compensation won't likely come out of their pocket, but from the insurance company instead.
As a dog bite victim, you can seek recovery for your medical expenses, expected time off work, lost wages and future medical expenses. You can also seek general damages, which are meant to compensate for your emotional trauma, pain and suffering, disfigurement and scars. In certain cases, the judge may decide to award punitive damages if the dog owner acted in an extremely negligent or reckless manner.
What Does Alabama Law Say About Dog Bites
The state of Alabama has some of the most stringent dog bite laws in the country since Emily Colvin was attacked and killed by bulldogs in her front yard back in 2018. The Pitbulls had been involved in other attacks, including the neighbor's llamas and another dog.
If a dog previously attacked someone in the state of Alabama, there are now strict guidelines that the owner is required to follow. Here are some of the noteworthy dog bite laws in Alabama:
- The owner should have a $100K surety bond to cover vet and medical bills should their dog attack.
- The dog needs to be registered every year with the county health department or animal control.
- The dog owner is required to have the animal neutered or spayed, and must be identifiable through a tattoo or microchip.
- If the owner is a renter, they should have the landlord's consent to keep the dog on the property.
- The owner is required to pay all animal licensing and annual fees.
- The dog should be kept in a secure enclosure while outside and the owner isn't present or watching.
- The dog owner is expected to provide a notarized affidavit to confirm the animal will be supervised by a person above the age of 18 when it's outside the enclosure.
- The authorities and animal control have the authority to visit the owner's property at any given time to ensure the rules and conditions are being met.
- If the owner transfers or sells the dog, they are required to inform the new owner of the animal's dangerous past and the stringent rules to be adhered to.
Statistics of Dog Bite Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, around 4.5 million individuals experience dog bites every year in the United States, and 900,000 of them require medical care annually. The unfortunate part is that most of these victims are children. Dog bites commonly occur on the hand and arms, followed by the foot, neck and face regions.
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Every state in the U.S imposes deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing dog bite claims. A statute of limitation is a stringent cut-off time, whereby you are required to file your claim, or else it will be considered null and void. In the state of Alabama, the statute of limitations is 2 years for most personal injury cases including dog bites.
An Anniston Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, call Mike Bell Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling these cases and can explain the intricacies of the state's dog bite laws with the aim of protecting your rights. Call us today at 256-666-6000!