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Experienced Birmingham Dog Bite Attorneys

Hold Negligent Dog Owners Responsible - Hire a Trained Birmingham Dog Bite Lawyer.

Birmingham, Alabama is a city celebrated for its rich history, diverse culture, southern charm, and notably, a thriving community of dog lovers. Our relationship with “man’s best friend” traces back to an era long before our city's founding, to the time when our ancestors first tamed wolves. Over centuries, these wild canines have transformed into our faithful protectors and beloved family members. Alabama stands among the top ranks for dog ownership, with 44.1 percent of households home to at least one furry companion. In Birmingham, dogs fill our parks, guard our children, brighten our neighborhoods, and sit with us at cafes.

However, as we acknowledge dogs’ contributions to our lives, we must also recognize that their nature remains unpredictable. Dog attacks are an unfortunate reality in every community, including Birmingham. A history of abuse, an unwelcome surge of adrenaline, a misinterpreted gesture, or the high-pitched laughter or cries of a child can all trigger a dog’s primal instincts, with tragic repercussions. In Walker County, a 36-year-old woman was mauled to death on the street by a pack of stray dogs. A child, too close to a family dog’s food bowl, ended up with lifelong, disfiguring facial scars. Parents, leaving their new baby alone with a pet they’ve loved and trusted for years, returned to a nightmarish scene. These were all real cases. Depending on physical size, strength, and tenacity, some dogs are more equipped to kill an adult than others, but it takes little power to overwhelm babies and small children, who make up 50% of dog bite fatalities.

In the face of these grim realities, it's crucial to remember that dog owners bear significant responsibility. Dog bite injury law is designed to protect the rights of victims, and our dog bite attorneys are prepared to navigate any case, no matter how serious. Our Birmingham dog bite lawyers will utilize their expertise to ensure you receive the justice you deserve and the compensation you need to recover.

When a Friend's Dog Bites: Prioritizing Relationships and Accountability

Navigating the aftermath of a dog bite can be particularly challenging when the dog involved belongs to a neighbor, friend, or family member. People are often reluctant to report a dog bite injury, anxious that filing a lawsuit might damage their close relationship with the dog’s owner.

However, it’s important to recognize that pursuing justice in a dog bite case is not an attack on personal relationships or individual finances. When our dog bite attorneys take on your case, we negotiate with the insurance provider of the dog owner - their personal assets are not in question. Our primary aim is to ensure you secure the necessary compensation to aid your recovery process while preserving the relationship with your neighbor or friend.

Our focus is on both accountability and prevention of future attacks. Often, the root of a dog bite incident isn't the dog itself, but issues related to its upbringing, training, or supervision. By reporting the incident, local authorities can assess the situation, which may involve reviewing the dog's history and behavior, mandating obedience training, enforcing more stringent supervision, or even identifying a more suitable home for the dog. Finally, reporting a single bite will not automatically result in the dog's euthanasia. In fact, reporting a dog bite could potentially save not only a future victim but also the dog itself by leading to necessary changes to its living or training conditions. Our commitment is to the wellbeing of both our clients and the animals involved, and we believe in the possibility of a resolution that respects the interests of all parties.

Common Causes of Birmingham Dog Bites

A variety of factors can influence dog attacks. Dogs bite when they feel threatened, are in pain, or when they are protecting something valuable to them, such as food, a toy, their home, or a member of their “pack.” Unfamiliar surroundings or loud noises can make even a well-behaved dog jumpy and ill at ease, triggering a bite. Furthermore, abuse, poor ownership and lack of discipline can create a disobedient, mistrusting, and highly dangerous dog.

How Can I Avoid a Dog Bite?

The best cure for a dog bite is prevention. While some attacks can occur unprovoked, many can be avoided with proper dog etiquette:

1. Understand the Warning Signs of an Anxious or Aggressive Dog

These can include a mix of the following:

Ears flattened, or pointed up and forward

Fur on their back and tail standing on end

A stiff stance with aggressive eye contact

Barking and growling

Bared teeth

Showing the “whites” of their eyes

Crouching with a lowered head

Licking lips

Tail between legs

Child playing with Dog - Dog bite lawyers Wettermark Keith

2. Don’t Leave Your Child Unattended With A Dog

No matter how safe you assume a dog is, animals are always unpredictable, especially around smaller, louder individuals. Any dog can bite, and your child’s life is not worth the risk.

3. Don’t Approach a Strange Dog

If this unknown dog approaches you, try to stay quiet and still until you can determine its mood and intentions.

4. Don’t Run Towards or Away From a Dog

While some dogs can interpret this behavior as playing, others will feel threatened, and running away can trigger their prey drive and cause them to give chase.

5. Don’t Tease Dogs

This behavior is cruel and unnecessary, and can have serious consequences. Barking or growling at a chained or crated dog, offering a treat and pulling it away, or otherwise agitating a dog can lead to aggressive behavior or a bite.

Even if you follow all of the above precautions to the letter, you may be bitten regardless. Animals are unpredictable, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time can result in pain or tragedy. If you or a member of your family has been attacked in Alabama, contact a Birmingham dog bite lawyer immediately for assistance.

Are Some Dogs More Likely to Attack?

Any dog can bite. However, strength, temperament, and unpredictability makes certain breeds more inherently dangerous to humans, especially those historically bred for dog fighting. Due to a combination of poor breeding, negligent ownership, and strong bite force, Pit bulls and pit mixes are responsible for nearly 70% of U.S. dog attacks, with higher injury rates, hospital charges, and fatalities than any other breed, despite making up less than 6% of the U.S. dog population.

High attack rates have led to the banning of Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Presa Canarios in many U.S. cities. In Alabama, the cities of Irondale, Center Point, Lanette, Midfield, and Fayette have enacted legislation banning the above breeds, while other Alabama cities legally designate these breeds as “dangerous.”

We Seek Compensation From Homeowner Insurance Claims After a Bite Incident

Dog bites can be distressing experiences for both the victim and the dog owner. Often, victims may hesitate to file a dog bite claim due to concerns that the owner will bear personal liability for the damages. However, in most cases, homeowner insurance policies cover dog bites and related injuries caused by pets.

Instead of the dog owner directly paying for the claim, the financial responsibility is typically covered by the insurance limits of the homeowner's insurance policy. This means that any compensation awarded will come from the insurance policy rather than being directly paid by the owner. Pursuing a legal case allows the victim to seek the necessary compensation while preserving relationships and avoiding potential conflicts, especially if they are close to the owner.

Furthermore, seeking damages through a homeowner's insurance claim ensures that the victim receives the rightful compensation, particularly when the dog owner may not have the means to cover the damages themselves. Homeowner insurance policies often have higher liability limits, enabling the victim to obtain adequate compensation for their injuries and losses. If you have been a victim of a dog bite, it is crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney from Wettermark Keith for guidance and legal representation. They can assist you in navigating the legal process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dogs have the ability to cause extensive damage to the body with their sharp teeth and claws. While some dog bites only require light care, a moderate or severe attack can result in long term damage, disfigurement, and death, particularly in children. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:

Lacerations and puncture wounds

Tearing of the skin


Damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments

Nerve damage


Furthermore, the psychological effects of a sudden, violent dog attack can follow a victim for decades and result in a strong phobia (fear) of dogs. These animals are so common that a dog phobia can be extremely limiting and distressing. Survivors often experience symptoms of PTSD long after the incident, including intrusive thoughts, involuntary, recurring memories, vivid flashbacks, and distressing dreams. These symptoms significantly degrade a victim’s quality of life and often require expensive psychological treatment.


Alabama Dog Bite Laws

In Alabama, dog owners are strictly liable for any injury that occurs to another person as a result of their animal's behavior. Dog bite victims in Birmingham have the right to compensation for their injuries under Alabama Code 1975 Title 3. Principles of negligence govern liability in Alabama biting incidents. If the claimant can prove the owner had previous knowledge of their animal's vicious propensities, they can hold them liable for any and all damages that may have resulted from the bite. This principle is called the “one bite rule.”
The below examples can prove an owner’s previous knowledge of a dog’s dangerous tendencies:

The owner has given testimony that they fear their dog may attack

The dog has bitten a person before

The dog has been known to bark at and chase passersby

The owner knew their dog belonged to a breed considered dangerous

Common law negligence statutes designate that if a dog has indicated any previous dangerous behavior, or belongs to an inherently dangerous breed - such as a Pit bull - and bites someone, causing injuries, the owner is liable. Because of their dog's breed, the owner is considered by Alabama law to have been “on notice” for their pet's high risk of attack. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a breed designated “dangerous” in your area, you have an especially strong case for owner liability. Our Birmingham dog bite attorneys can help you pursue this case to its conclusion - contact us today for a free consultation.

Strict Liability

Alabama is a “strict liability” state. This means Birmingham dog owners are always strictly liable for any and all damages to a person bitten by their dog while on the owner’s property. Owners are also liable for any injuries that occur in the immediate vicinity of their property, if their animal gets loose or chases a victim off the property. If a bitten claimant cannot prove the owner was negligent or had knowledge of their dog's dangerous tendencies, the owner is only held liable for the actual economic expenses incurred by the dog bite.

If, however, the victim can prove that the owner had known - or should have known - their dog was dangerous, they have strong grounds to file a negligence claim. If a victim wins a negligence claim, they have the right to recover financial compensation for the full extent of their losses. In Alabama, dog bite settlements are worth an average of $30,000 to $50,000, to cover ongoing medical treatment, pain and suffering, and psychological damage.

Emily's Law

In 2017, 24-year-old Alabama resident Emily Mae Colvin was mauled to death in her yard by five of her neighbor’s loose Pit bulls. They had previously gotten loose and attacked other animals with their owners’ full knowledge. As a result, Alabama governor Kay Ivey passed a new law in memory of Emily, designed to prevent future injuries and deaths by imposing strict penalties for negligent owners.

Under “Emily’s Law,” dogs suspected to be dangerous are subject to impounding and a hearing as part of an investigation process requested under a sworn affidavit. Dogs legally declared dangerous may be allowed to return to their owners under strict conditions. If these conditions are violated and the dog attacks a person unprovoked, causing death or serious physical injuries, the owner is guilty of a Class B felony. If the dog was not legally dangerous, but the owner had prior knowledge of its dangerous tendencies, the owner will be charged with a Class C felony for willful negligence.

Seeking Legal Advice From Birmingham Personal Injury Attorneys? Contact Wettermark Keith Today for a Free Consultation.

Not only can a dog bite leave victims with painful injuries and scarring, but the cost of the medical care required to treat these injuries can be impossibly high. If a case against the negligent owner is not pursued, medical bills can leave Birmingham attack survivors and their families in dire financial straits. If the dog that bit you belongs to a friend or associate, our lawyers understand your hesitation to pursue a personal injury negligence claim against them. However, please take into account that their insurance will likely cover the injuries caused by the animal; none of their personal finances will be affected.

You and your family don’t have to handle this situation alone. Our expert Birmingham personal injury attorneys have seen it all, and have the skill, resources, and knowledge of complex dog bite laws to build you a compelling case. Call Wettermark Keith now for a free consultation with experienced personal injury lawyers.

No Recovery, No Fee Guarantee

Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket. Any legal fees and associated costs will be collected from your winnings at the conclusion of the case. If your attorney is not able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your injury, you will not be charged any legal fees for their efforts.

Our Birmingham Dog Bite Attorneys Understand Animal Law - and Will Fight for Your Recovery

Birmingham dog bite cases can be complicated, with a variety of mitigating circumstances and different avenues of liability. Without extensive legal knowledge, it can be difficult to know how to proceed after a dog attack. For peace of mind and excellent representation, contact us. No case is too big for our Birmingham dog bite lawyers to pursue. We represent each and every client with compassion, and employ the thorough legal expertise needed to make their case a success.

At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. As we say, It’s more to us, it’s personal.

Frequently Asked Questions

On average, a straightforward Alabama dog bite case resolves in one to three months. However, there is no way to predict case length without knowing the specific circumstances of the incident. Some cases can take two or more years to settle.

There are a variety of factors that determine compensation in a dog bite case. These can include the situation in which the bite occurred, the dog's breed, your pain and suffering, any lost income, and the nature and severity of your wounds. Your attorney will investigate the nature of the damages you're entitled to based on your injuries.

No. Homeowner's insurance typically covers damage from dog bites. You can rest assured that any dog bite injury compensation our attorneys obtain at the conclusion of your case is not coming directly out of the pocket of your friend or neighbor.

Filing a personal injury case yourself, without proper legal knowledge and representation could lead to the loss of proper compensation. Aside from that, the high stress associated with a lawsuit is important to avoid while you're struggling with pain and high medical bills. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your Birmingham dog bite attorney will file any required paperwork and medical records, gather any necessary evidence, and negotiate with various parties on your behalf. We’re here to maximize your compensation and minimize your stress by making your recovery process simple: you handle the initial phone call, and we’ll handle the rest.

  • Get to safety - move away from the dog and ensure it's restrained;
  • Do your best to stop the bleeding and clean your injury with soap and water; if your injury is so severe you cannot complete this step, immediately call 911;
  • Seek immediate medical attention;
  • Write down the name and contact information of the dog's owner;
  • Notify the police of the incident;
  • Ensure you have documented proof that the dog has been recently vaccinated for rabies;
  • Contact a Wettermark Keith attorney for a free evaluation;
  • Keep up with your wound care. Dog bites can easily become infected.

You can help your lawyer gather evidence by obtaining as many photos and videos of the event and its aftermath as possible. If the police were called, make sure to ask for a copy of their report from your local law enforcement's headquarters. Finally, if possible, gather the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses, as well as the dog's owner.

Our initial consultation is free. If we take your case and our injury lawyers do not win, we will charge you nothing. If our attorneys are able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your injuries, the legal fees will come out of the winnings you receive from the case.