If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Opelika, you need a skilled dog bite injury lawyer on your side. The law firm of Stokes Stemle, LLC, is ready to fight for your rights.
We understand the trauma and pain a dog bite can cause and are passionate about holding the responsible parties accountable. Our dedicated team will help you understand Alabama’s dog bite laws and will work to recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact us online today for a free consultation with our dog bite injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.
Dog Attack Statistics in the U.S.A.
Dog bites are more common than you might think. Approximately 337,000 dog bites require emergency room visits in the United States each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. That means nearly 1,000 people every day require emergency care treatment for serious dog bite injuries. These statistics underscore how widespread pet-related injuries are across the country and how crucial it is for victims to understand their rights.
Are Certain Age Groups More Vulnerable to Dog Attacks?
Yes, certain age groups are more susceptible to dog attacks. Children, particularly younger ones, make up the majority of dog bite victims. Estimates suggest that dog bites in children under 12 were the most reported cases, with the most vulnerable group being kids around five to nine years of age. Infants and toddlers up to two years old also account for a large proportion of kids treated at trauma centers for dog bites each year.
Dog Bite Laws in Alabama
Many people are familiar with the “one-bite rule,” a legal doctrine that applies in some jurisdictions in the United States. Under this rule, a dog owner is not liable for injuries caused by their dog if the dog has never shown aggressive behavior or bitten anyone before. In essence, the dog gets “one free bite” before the owner can be held liable for injuries caused by the dog.
Alabama, however, does not follow the one-bite rule. Instead, it adheres to a premises liability approach for dog bite incidents. The Code of Alabama § 3-6-1 provides that the owner of a dog is liable for damages if their dog, without provocation, bites or injures a person who is at a place where they have a legal right to be, provided that this place is property owned or controlled by the owner of the dog at the time such bite or injury occurs. In other words, if the dog bites or injures someone on the dog owner’s property (or property they control), the owner can be held liable regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone before.
However, if a dog bites someone under those circumstances, and the dog’s owner can show that they did not know that the dog might have been dangerous or vicious, the Code of Alabama § 3-6-3 dictates that the owner will only be liable for the actual expenses of the person who was bitten.
How Do You Prove Liability in a Dog Bite Injury Case?
In Alabama, the law follows a premises liability approach for dog bite incidents. The Code of Alabama § 3-6-1 outlines the guidelines for such cases.
To prove liability in a dog bite case under this statute, you need to establish these key points:
- The dog bit or injured you without provocation. This means you must show that you did nothing to make the dog attack or bite you.
- You were legally on the property where the incident occurred. You must have had the right to be there, such as being an invited guest or a worker performing duties.
- The dog’s owner owned or controlled the property. In other words, the person you are claiming against should have had control over the dog and the location where the incident took place.
However, in situations where the dog was roaming at large, which is prohibited by Code of Alabama § 3-1-5, and the dog bit you, the owner could be held liable for your injuries and losses through the theory of negligence. They owed you a duty to be sure their dog was confined, they failed in that duty, the dog bit you, and you suffered losses, such as the cost of medical care.
What Compensation Can I Receive for My Dog Bite Injuries?
The specific compensation you can receive for your dog bite injuries will depend on the unique details of your case, including the severity of your injuries, the circumstances of the incident, and the financial impacts of your injuries. However, typical types of compensation in dog bite cases can include the following:
- Medical expenses – You can receive compensation for the medical costs of treating your injuries. This includes costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any future medical care you may need due to your injuries.
- Lost wages – If you had to miss work due to your injuries, you could receive compensation for the wages you lost during this time. If your injuries affect your ability to work in the future, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for future lost earnings.
- Pain and suffering – You could obtain money for the physical pain and emotional distress the dog bite caused.
- Property damage – If any of your property was damaged in the incident, such as clothing or personal items, you could receive compensation for the value of those items.
What Is the Deadline for Filing My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
You must act swiftly if you have suffered a dog bite injury in Opelika. Alabama’s statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits gives injured parties two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the forfeiture of your right to claim compensation. Contacting our experienced Opelika dog bite injury attorneys as soon as possible is crucial to ensure you do not miss deadlines.
Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC, Today
If you or a loved one has been bitten or injured by a dog, do not hesitate to seek legal help. At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we understand the emotional and physical pain that a dog bite can cause, and we want to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your rights, build a strong case, and fight for your best interests.
Call our offices or contact us online today for a free consultation with an Opelika dog bite injury lawyer.