Dog Bite Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama
Nearly 4.5 million dog bites happen each year despite the fact some bites do not require medical attention; close to 19% of dog bites do require medical attention after causing bodily injury. Dog bites can lead to physical and emotional scarring, and if you or a loved one has recently been bitten by a dog and sustained injuries, you have every right to seek financial compensation. By contacting our firm, Kies Law LLC, we can provide the legal representation needed to pursue the compensation you deserve. Our firm is located in Birmingham, Alabama, and we serve clients in the surrounding areas of Bessemer, Hoover, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Alabama Dog Bite Law
Dog bite laws vary from state to state, making it essential your attorney is well versed in local laws and how the laws pertain to your specific circumstances. Some states follow a one-bite rule, which means the owner of the dog is only liable for damages if the owner was aware of the dog’s propensity for aggression (sometimes referred to as vicious propensity). The one-bite rule can make it harder to win cases and obtain damages. However, Alabama is considered a strict liability state.
The strictly liable law that Alabama follows requires dog owners to pay damages if the dog attacks someone and results in an injury. That said, if the owner had no previous knowledge that the dog was dangerous, the total damages you can seek are lower. If you were found to be provoking the dog and that resulted in a bite, you would not have grounds for seeking damages. The victim must also have been lawfully on the owner’s property, or the dog must have chased the person off the property.
Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Proving liability can be tricky under Alabama dog bite law, especially if the attack occurred on private property and there were no witnesses. Additionally, where the bite happened will affect how we go about defending your case. If you were bitten on the owner’s property and you were on the property legally (like a guest or repair person), then the rules of strict liability come into play. However, if the bite occurred outside the owner’s property, we would have to prove negligence. For negligence cases, it can be determined that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous but did not take proper precautions to ensure the safety of those around it (such as keeping the dog on a leash). This liability can also extend to owners of dogs whose breed has a propensity for dangerous actions, even if the dog itself has never shown such behavior.
You may also have options under Alabama’s premises liability law, which states that if an injury occurs on someone’s property, the property owner can be liable. In these cases, the owner of the dog may not be the only one who is liable. For example, if a property owner or landlord neglected to fix a broken fence or gate and this was the reason the dog attacked you, the property owner could also be held liable.
Proving liability gets even more complicated because Alabama is known as a pure contributory negligence state. For instance, if the victim had any role (even 1%) in provoking the dog or was acting in a negligent manner, which helped cause the attack, the victim can be barred from seeking any damages. This strict law makes it all the more necessary that you have an attorney working for you who can fight against ungrounded charges that you somehow caused the dog bite to occur.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
The statute of limitations in Alabama for filing any personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury. This time frame is crucial to adhere to because if you miss this window, you are unable to get compensation. Once you do file a lawsuit, the damages you can seek will depend on the specifics of your case and whether it is proved that the owner had previous knowledge of the dog’s potentially violent behavior. The most common compensation is for the medical expenses related to the injury, which includes emotional distress related to the incident. Medical expenses need to be taken into account for past and future costs associated with your injury. You can also seek pain and suffering, lost income, lost future earning capacity, or lost consortium.
Dog Bite Attorney Serving Birmingham, Alabama
Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatizing experience independent of any physical injuries you sustain. It’s essential to your well-being and the protection of others that the owners of these dogs are held accountable. If you need help seeking compensation after a dog bite incident, call our firm today to set up an appointment. Kies Law LLC is proud to serve clients in Birmingham, Alabama, and the surrounding region of Bessemer, Hoover, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.