Many people own dogs as pets in Alabama, and these dogs can become beloved members of the family. It is important to remember, however, that dogs are unpredictable, and they can sometimes react to humans in frightening and dangerous ways. Even if you have known a dog for some time, or the dog seems friendly, a dog bite can happen when you least expect it and result in serious injuries and trauma.
Alabama Dog Bite Laws
Alabama sets out animal control laws regarding the responsibilities and liability of dog owners. Dog owners can be held strictly liable for dog bites if the following are true:
- You were on the dog owner’s property (or had just left because the dog chased you off)
- You were not trespassing at the time
- You did not provoke the dog
In the above situation, the dog owner will be strictly liable for your actual losses, such as medical bills or lost income. The dog owner will only be liable for intangible or punitive damages if the owner knew the dog had aggressive tendencies.
If you were not on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack, and were instead in a public park, on a sidewalk, or a third-party’s property, you still might be able to recover damages from the dog owner. In this situation, however, strict liability does not apply. You will need to show that the dog owner was somehow negligent, such as by failing to control their dog, not having the dog on a leash, or otherwise failing to prevent the attack. If the dog bite would not have happened if the owner took reasonable care, dog bite victims can still recover for their losses.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Minor dog bite wounds that do not break through your skin can often be washed and treated at home. However, deeper wounds should always be cleaned out and treated by a medical professional. Sometimes, when people try to clean out a deeper would on their own, they unknowingly leave some bacteria in the wound. The wound might then close up, leaving them highly prone to infections.
You should always seek medical treatment right away for any of the following:
- Unstoppable bleeding
- Feeling light-headed, weak, or faint
- You have a fever
- The wound becomes warm, painful, swollen, and/or red
- You have not had a tetanus shot in the past five years
- You cannot confirm that the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccinations
If you incur medical bills and other losses from a dog bite, you should always discuss your rights and options with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Huntsville.
Consult with Our Huntsville Personal Injury Lawyers at No Cost
Insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits from dog bites can be complicated. You want to ensure you have qualified representation by a Huntsville personal injury attorney at Cloud, Ryan & Rouse, LLC. Call 256-801-1000 or contact us online for a free consultation to discuss a possible case.