Bitten By a Dog? Here is What to Do Next

By Jon Lewis on May 16 in Lewis & Feldman Blog.

Bitten By a Dog? Here is What to Do Next

Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States. According to data provided by World Population Review, nearly half of all households in Alabama own a dog. Unfortunately, when the right safety precautions are not taken, dogs also have the potential to be extremely dangerous. For reference, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that there are 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. each year—with nearly 1 million of these bites requiring professional medical care. 

Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog in Birmingham, Jefferson County, or elsewhere in Alabama? It is absolutely imperative that you know what to do to protect yourself and your interests. You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation through a dog bite injury claim. Our state has unique laws for dog bite liability. Within this blog post, our Birmingham dog bite lawyer provides a detailed overview of the steps to take if you were bitten and injured by a dog in Alabama. 

Five Steps to Take if You Were Bitten By a Dog in or Near Birmingham, Alabama

Dog bites are not only painful and traumatizing but can also result in serious infections or other medical complications. Be proactive. You need to protect your health, well-being, and right to see compensation for your damages. Here are five steps to take after a dog bite in Alabama: 

  • Seek Immediate Medical Care (Emergencies Take Top Priority): The first and most important step is to seek medical attention immediately. If the bite is severe, make a phone call to  911 or head straight to the nearest emergency department. Even if the bite appears minor, it is still important to see a healthcare professional. Remember, dog bites can carry a risk of infection or transmit diseases such as rabies. Make sure to keep any documentation. 
  • Notify the Dog Owner (or Other Responsible Party): Once your medical needs have been addressed, it is important to notify the dog owner or another responsible party, such as a landlord or property manager. If possible, obtain their contact information and insurance details. Notification is an essential step for establishing liability and ensuring that the owner takes responsibility for the actions of their dog. If the dog owner is uncooperative, be sure to speak with a Birmingham, AL, dog bite injury lawyer right away.
  • Document the Dog Bite Incident/Attack: Gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. This includes taking photographs of your injuries, the location of the attack, and the dog itself (if possible). Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the attack, as their testimony could be valuable in a legal claim. Write down the details of the incident, including the date, time, and circumstances surrounding the dog bite. The more details that you have, the better positioned you will be to bring a successful claim. 
  • Beware of the Insurance Company: Most dog bite claims in Alabama are handled/defended by homeowners’ insurance companies or other property insurance providers. These corporations are not on your side. They may try to downplay the severity of the incident or offer you a settlement that is significantly less than what you deserve. 
  • Consult With a Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyer: The right professional representation can make all of the difference in a dog bite claim. Seek the advice of an experienced Birmingham dog bite attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve. 

What to Know About Alabama’s Dog Bite Liability Laws (a Guide You Can Use)

Dog bite injury cases largely fall under state law. Understanding Alabama’s dog bite liability laws is key to protecting yourself after an attack. Here are four key aspects of the laws for dog bite injury claims in Alabama that you should be aware of: 

  • “One Bite” Rule/Dangerous Dog Law: Alabama follows the “one bite” rule, meaning that a dog owner can be held liable for damages if they knew or should have known that their dog had a propensity for aggressive behavior or had bitten someone before. A dog owner is strictly liable for a dog bite if they know or should have known their animal is dangerous. 
  • Liability May Also Be Based on Negligence: In some cases, a dog owner can be held liable under the theory of negligence. If the owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent their dog from causing harm, such as not using a leash or allowing the dog to roam freely, they could be found negligent and responsible for the injuries caused.
  • Trespassing or Provocation May Be a Defense: There are defenses that may be raised in dog bite injury claims in Alabama. For example, if the victim was trespassing at the time of the attack and/or if the victim provoked the dog, that may be a defense against liability. 
  • Two-Year Statute of Limitations: In Alabama, victims of dog bites have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations is strictly applied in dog bite claims. What happens if you do not file in a timely manner, you may not be in a position to recover financial compensation for your injuries. 

Dog Bite Victims Deserve Full and Fair Compensation for their Injuries

Following a serious dog bite incident, victims need compensation to pay bills and support themselves. In an Alabama dog bite injury claim, a settlement or verdict can include compensation for both economic losses and intangible damages. You may be able to recover for: 

  • Emergency medical treatment; 
  • Hospital bills; 
  • Other health care costs; 
  • Physical therapy; 
  • Lost wages; 
  • Loss of earning power; 
  • Pain and suffering; 
  • Scarring/disfigurement; 
  • Disability; and
  • Wrongful death. 

Get Help From Our Birmingham, AL Dog Bite Attorney Today

At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham dog bite lawyer goes above and beyond to provide the highest level of legal representation to victims and families. If you or your family member were hurt by a dangerous dog, we can help. Call us now at 205-896-6410 or connect with us online to set up your free, no-obligation initial appointment. With a legal office in Birmingham, our team handles dog bite injury claims in Jefferson County and throughout the surrounding region in Alabama. 

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