Animal & Dog Bites
At Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C., we are Alabama attorneys who have extensive experience handling dog bite and animal attack cases. We are committed to providing comprehensive legal assistance to personal injury victims in Huntsville, Birmingham, and throughout Alabama. As one of Alabama’s premier law firms, we have over 75 years of collective experience successfully helping our clients pursue their personal injury claims and obtain the compensation they deserve.Alabama Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
While dogs are often described as man’s best friend and loved like family members, dogs and other domestic animals, including horses and cattle, can cause serious injury if they are not properly supervised by their owners. Almost five million dog bites occur in the United States every year, and nearly one million of those attacks require medical care, with half of all dog attacks involving children under twelve years of age. Dog attacks are especially dangerous to those who cannot defend themselves, such as small children and the elderly, and dog attacks often pose a risk of causing permanent physical and emotional scarring. Dog attacks result in millions of dollars’ worth of medical expenses, lost wages, and needless pain and suffering every year.Liability for Dog Bites
Under Alabama law, the owner or keeper of a dog is legally responsible for any injuries caused by the dog if they knew the animal had previously displayed “vicious or dangerous propensities.” This means that the dog’s owner, or a person who does not own the dog but who is responsible for it (i.e., it’s “keeper”), is legally responsible for the dog’s behavior if the dog has previously acted in such a way that shows it poses a danger to humans. This kind of behavior is not limited to just a previous “bite,” but can include other demonstrations of vicious behavior, such as trying to bite or attack a person. Dangerous behavior is also not limited to “attacks” by the dog, but can also include what the courts have called “mischievous” behavior, where the dog is playing, but in a way that is dangerous to humans.
The Supreme Court of Alabama has also held that even if an individual dog has not demonstrated vicious propensities in the past, its owner is still liable for any injuries the dog causes if it belongs to a “vicious or dangerous breed” such as a pit bull dog. Under Alabama law, the owner or keeper of an animal is presumed to have knowledge of the characteristics and propensities of its breed, and can be held accountable if the animal acts in accordance with those instincts.
The owner of a dog can also be held accountable for attacks which occur on the owner’s property, even if the dog has not shown prior vicious or dangerous propensities. Alabama Code § 3-6-1 holds the owner of a dog liable for attacks which occur on the owner’s property if the victim had a legal right to be there, the attack was un-provoked, and the attack either happened on the owner’s property or as the dog was pursuing the victim off of the property.
Alabama dog bite cases are very fact specific, and can depend on the breed and history of the dog, the location of the attack, the age of the victim, and the city or county in which the attack occurred. Liability for a dog bite can also vary depending on local leash laws or vicious animal ordinances. Whenever a dog bite occurs, the victim should consult an attorney to determine their rights and the dog owner’s responsibilities.Compensation and Recovery
If a victim has been attacked by a dog that has displayed vicious or dangerous behavior in the past, then they are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish. If the injury is permanent or has led to scarring or disfigurement, then Alabama law allows for additional compensation. Where an attack has caused a death, relatives may be entitled to punitive damages, which are damages imposed for the preservation of human life and to deter similar wrongful conduct. In total, full compensation for a dog attack can range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you should consult an attorney to help you determine what compensation may be available to you.Alabama Dog Bite Attorneys Committed to Assisting You
At Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C., we have over 75years of combined experience as Alabama personal injury lawyers dedicated to assisting the victims of dog bites and animal attacks. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite attack, we can help. Our attorneys can guide you in your legal claims and assist you in handling the complexities of insurance claims and the courtroom. After the trauma of an animal attack, you shouldn’t have to face a legal battle alone. We are here to fight for you, and to help you pursue the verdict or settlement you deserve. Call (256) 536-0770 or (800) 804-2502 for a free confidential consultation, or contact us online.