Dogs are a staple of our communities, but they are also a common cause of injuries. If a dog bit and injured you, the dog owner could be liable for your injuries. For help establishing if the dog owner is responsible, contact a Birmingham dog bite lawyer.
While your injuries may be clear cut, the dog owner’s liability may be difficult to establish. An experienced attorney could improve your chances of proving the dog owner’s fault. With the help of an attorney, you increase the likelihood of recovering the damages you are entitled to. En español
Proving Fault for a Dog Bite
The dog’s owner is liable when their dog bites the plaintiff in a place where the plaintiff is legally allowed to be. However, for the plaintiff to receive the full amount of damages, they must prove the owner knew of the dog’s potential to bite somebody.
Where the Incident Occurred
Under Alabama Code §3-6-1, a dog owner is strictly liable if their dog bit the plaintiff somewhere the plaintiff was legally allowed to be. This can include anywhere in public as well as the dog owner’s property.
The plaintiff is legally on the dog owner’s land if they were invited there or have a legal duty to be on the property. As such, trespassers cannot recover if bitten while trespassing on the dog owner’s land.
How is Prior Knowledge Important in a Dog Bite Case?
A dog owner may mitigate the damages they are responsible for if they did not know the dog’s potential to bite somebody. The dog does not have to bite somebody for an owner to know of their dog’s propensity to bite. A dog owner has prior knowledge if the dog has shown vicious or dangerous propensities.
Should the owner prove they had no prior knowledge of their dog’s propensities, the owner is only liable for the plaintiff’s actual damages. However, should the owner possess prior knowledge, they are responsible for all damages incurred by the plaintiff. A Birmingham attorney could help prove the owner knew of their dog’s propensity to bite.
What Damages Can a Claimant Receive for a Dog Bite Injury?
Dog bite injuries can result in severe and potentially disfiguring injuries to the plaintiff. Common injuries caused by dog bites include:
- Broken Bones
- Nerve damage
Should the owner know of their dog’s propensity to bite, the plaintiff may receive economic and non-economic damages. However, if the dog owner had no prior knowledge of their pet’s potential to bite someone, they are responsible only for the plaintiff’s actual, economic damages.
Economic damages include any monetary loss the plaintiff suffered as a result of the dog bite. The defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s past and future medical costs, lost wages, rehabilitation, household services, and any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the injury.
Non-economic damages compensate the plaintiff for the actual injury. The plaintiff can receive money for their pain and suffering and any diminished life quality caused by the injury. A Birmingham attorney could help establish the impact the dog bite has had on the plaintiff’s life.
Contact a Birmingham Attorney to Help with Your Dog Bite Lawsuit
If you suffered an injury from a dog bite, you may be eligible to recover compensation. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Let a Birmingham dog bite lawyer to help you prove your case. Schedule a consultation today to learn how an experienced attorney could help.