While dogs can be cute and friendly, they can also be unpredictable and aggressive. Being attacked by someone else’s dog is not only a traumatic experience, but it can also cause long-lasting impacts. In fact, one in five dog bites require the victim to seek medical treatment and can lead to serious medical complications, such as infection, nerve and muscle damage, rabies, tetanus, scarring, broken bones, and even death, if not cared for properly.
Treatments for these medical complications can become costly. As the victim of a dog bite, you deserve compensation. Learn more about dog bite laws and the compensation you can recover as a victim of a dog bite injury in the article below.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Each state has specific personal injury laws for dog bites. Essentially, there are two basic statutes that states follow:
The first is the “One-Bite Rule,” which places liability with the dog owner when he knew or should have known the dog might bite someone. It is known as the “one-bite rule” because it once inferred that a dog was allowed “one free bite” before the owner would be held liable. These days the one-bite rule does not always allow a dog a “free bite.” For example, if the owner knows that the particular dog breed is dangerous or if the dog has an aggressive character, the owner can still face liability for the dog’s first bite.
The second statute is Strict Liability, which generally means that the dog owner is held liable if his dog bites someone regardless of whether or not they were negligent as long as the injured person was not trespassing (or breaking any law at the time of the incident) and did not provoke the dog. Strict liability varies by state.
Alabama and 35 other states have strict liability laws for dog bites. Alabama enforced even stricter dog bite laws in 2018 after a woman was attacked and killed by a pack of pit bull dogs in her own front yard. Now, if a dog has attacked someone, but did not cause serious injuries, the dog owner must follow extensive guidelines, such as registering the dog with animal control, having a $100,000 surety bond to cover medical and vet bills, having the dog fixed, and more.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim
If you have been bitten or injured by someone else’s dog, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws mentioned above and learn what to expect when filing a dog bite claim.
Dog owners often try to defend themselves from any liability by denying ownership of the dog or falsely claiming that you provoked the dog to attack. The dog owner may even begin building evidence to deny your right to compensation.
First and foremost, do not underestimate the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite. Seek legal consultation to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In Alabama, the statute of limitations on dog bites is two years from the date of the attack, so it’s important to act quickly. Plus, if you don’t file a claim, the dog is likely to attack again. Mark Petro of Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys has the experience to ensure fair treatment and receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Dog Bite Compensation Calculator
The average settlement from a dog bite claim in Alabama is more than $43,000. When you call to ask how much you can recover from a dog bite claim, Mark’s answer will most likely be, “It depends.” The compensation you can receive from a dog bite claim depends on several factors specific to your incident and injury.
Generally, a dog bite victim is compensated for all the medical expenses associated with the incident and for any loss of income that is a result of the dog bite. In some cases, a dog bite victim can be compensated for “non-economic losses.”
A non-economic loss includes physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma caused by the dog bite. The jury will determine a monetary amount for the victim’s daily physical pain and emotional hardship, and then that daily amount is multiplied by how many days the victim suffered. Physical disfigurement and scarring, the location of the scarring, the age of the victim, and the need for ongoing medical care often influence the jury to award a higher amount. For instance, a child attacked by a dog and left with substantial scarring on her face may be compensated more than an adult bit by a dog on his leg.
In many cases, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy will cover these claims. However, a skilled injury lawyer can explore all options for recovery in order to maximize the amount of compensation you receive.
Contact Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys to File a Dog Bite Claim Today
Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys can help you file a personal injury claim against the dog owner in order to recover the financial compensation you deserve for your trauma and injuries. Call Mark today for a free consultation!