DOG BITE / DOG ATTACK CASES
Dog Bite or Dog Attacks have the potential to be far more serious than they may seem. If a pet attacks you, the pet’s owner may be liable to you for the injuries caused by the Attack.
DOES ALABAMA HAVE DOG BITE LAWS?
Section 3-6-1 of the Code of Alabama deals with dog bite injuries. The law states that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog if:
- the injured person did not provoke the dog;
- the injured person was not trespassing;
- the injured person was on the dog’s owner’s property or had just left the property and was chased off the property by the dog.
Alabama’s statute applies to all injuries caused by dogs, not just dog bites.
For example, if a dog jumps on a person and knocks him down, causing injury, the statute will apply.
WHEN DOES ALABAMA’S DOG BITE LAW NOT APPLY?
Section 3-6-1 of the Code of Alabama does not apply to situations in which a dog injures a person in a public place, like a sidewalk or a park, or on a third party’s private property.
In this type of circumstance, a person injured by a dog in one of these situations may bring a lawsuit based on the legal theory of negligence.
In a negligence case, the injured party will have to demonstrate that the dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to control the dog or otherwise prevent the bite or injury from occurring, and that the injuries would not have happened but for the owner’s lack of reasonable care and negligence.
DOES ALABAMA FOLLOW THE “STRICT LIABILITY” OR “ONE BITE” APPROACH WHEN IT COMES TO DOG BITE/ATTACK INJURIES?
Most states choose whether to use a “strict liability” or a “one bite” approach when it comes to dog bites and other dog-inflicted injuries.
“Strict Liability” approach holds dog owners responsible regardless of whether the dog has acted aggressively before.
“One Bite” approach requires the dog’s owner to know or have reason to know the dog is aggressive before that owner can be held liable.
Alabama uses an unusual combination of “Strict Liability” and “One Bite” approaches. In Alabama, a dog’s owner is liable for the actual costs of the injury — including medical expenses and lost wages — regardless of whether the owner knew the dog might be aggressive. In addition, the owner can be held liable for punitive damages and statutory damages, if he or she knew the dog was aggressive.
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