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Compassionate Dothan Dog Bite Lawyer: Seeking Fair Compensation for Your Physical and Emotional Damages
If you have experienced an animal attack in Dothan, Alabama, call the dog bite attorneys at Wettermark Keith
You could be on a relaxing walk, your child could be playing on their swing set, or your father could have been in the yard working on his car when a dog attack occurred. Animal attacks are often quick and unpredictable, leaving many physical and emotional scars. You could have permanent injuries such as scarring, nerve damage, or disfigurement that reduce your quality of life and lead to significant medical expenses. Hospital stays take up your weeks, you are required to go through various surgeries, and deal with ongoing rehabilitation.The fear and anxiety of encountering dogs after a traumatic dog attack can be overwhelming, and this emotional distress adds on top of your financial stress.
Dog attacks result in long-lasting emotional trauma that persists after the physical wounds have healed. Victims of dog attacks often experience fear, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an attack. Those who have suffered a dog bite experience distress around dogs. People who once held affection for animals may now associate aggression and brutality with all dogs. This affects relationships with friends and family members who have dogs as pets, as well as interferes with daily activities such as going for a walk or visiting public places. These feelings can trigger severe panic attacks and other disorders that can adversely affect your daily life, turning a dog attack into a persistent event that continues to impact the victim long after the incident.
Dog owners are normally surprised to know that their dogs could cause harm to another person, but it can happen to anyone without warning. Nearly 4.7 million people are attacked by dogs each year in the United States, and more than half of those attacks happen to children under 10 years old. Moreover, some dogs are more equipped to kill than others; yet it takes very little power to overwhelm babies and small children, who make up 50% of dog bite fatalities.
Dog bite law can be complex, and victims may not be aware of their legal rights and options. At Wettermark Keith, our attorneys have significant experience with dog bite law in Dothan, AL. We help navigate the legal system and work to hold dog owners accountable for their dog’s actions. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, do not hesitate to contact an attorney from Wettermark Keith by calling us for a free consultation or filling out our online form.
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How Common are Dog Bites in Alabama?
Dog bites are relatively common in the state of Alabama. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there were a total of 3,913 reported dog bites in the state in 2020; 90% of those were non-rabies bites and 10% were suspected rabies exposures. Nationally, CDC reports an average of 34 dog bite fatalities per year in the United States, with children under the age of 10 being the most vulnerable. Dog attack fatalities are also more likely to occur in rural areas, among male victims, and in homes with multiple dogs.
These statistics only include reported dog bites, and plenty of dog bites go unreported, especially if the injuries are minor. Regardless of the actual number of dog bites, it is important for you and your loved ones to take the proper precautions to avoid dog bites.
How to Protect Your Friendships After a Dog Bite: File a Claim with the Dog Owner's Homeowners Insurance
When a dog bites someone, it can be a stressful and upsetting experience for both the victim and the dog owner. Although the owner may be shocked by their pet's behavior, they are not responsible for paying compensation for the victim's injuries themselves. Homeowner's insurance policies cover dog bites and other pet-related injuries, which means that a victim can have an attorney file a claim against the owner where at which point a claim would be filed against the homeowners insurance policy limits. This approach can help protect the victim's relationships and avoid conflicts with neighbors who are close with the owner.
At Wettermark Keith, our attorneys are experienced in filing homeowner's insurance claims in dog bite cases. If you have been bitten by a dog, it's important to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney who can help you understand your options and navigate the claims process. By pursuing a homeowner's insurance claim, you can receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries without worrying about hurting the dog owner financially. Our attorneys will file the case against the owner, but their insurance company will be liable for any financial compensation.
Ways to Avoid a Dog Attack
While you can never fully eliminate the risk of a dog attack, there are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing an animal attack. You should avoid approaching dogs that you do not know, especially when they are barking or growling. If they are with an owner, you should always ask the owner's permission before approaching or petting a dog.
When the dog seems aggressive, you must be aware of a dog's body language, such as a stiff body, raised hair, or a fixed gaze, which can indicate aggression. If they are not paying attention to you, you should not disturb dogs that are sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies. And you should especially avoid making sudden movements around dogs, as this can trigger an aggressive attitude.
When it comes to your loved ones, you should teach your children to be cautious around dogs, and they too should learn to always ask permission before approaching another person's dog. If a dog approaches you, remain calm and still, and do not make eye contact or turn your back.
If you are cycling or jogging, choose routes that are less likely to have loose dogs and keep a safe distance from any dogs you encounter. You could even carry a small whistle or flash light, as dogs will not like the aggressive sounds or light. If you encounter a stray dog, do not attempt to approach or catch it, as this can put you at risk of being bitten. It is important to treat all dogs
What Types of Injuries Result from Dog Attacks in Dothan?
In Dothan, Alabama, animal attacks can result in a range of injuries from minor to extremely severe. Some common types of injuries that result from Dothan dog attacks include:
Dogs have sharp teeth and strong jaws, which can cause puncture wounds that may result in bleeding, infection, and scarring.
A dog's bite can cause deep cuts, tears, or lacerations to the skin, muscles, and other tissues. Lacerations may require stitches or even surgery to repair.
The force of a dog's bite can also cause fractures or breaks in bones, especially in the hands, arms, and legs.
If a person falls or is knocked down during a dog attack, they may sustain head injuries such as concussions, skull fractures, or traumatic brain injuries.
A dog attack can be a traumatic experience, and victims may suffer from emotional distress, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is important to seek medical attention immediately after a dog attack because dog bites can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. You need to seek medical attention and consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you pursue a dog bite claim for your injuries and other damages.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Accident in Dothan, Alabama
If you or a loved one experience a dog bite attack in Dothan, Alabama, there are a few steps that you need to take. These steps include:
- Seek medical attention: If you are bitten by a dog, you must seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can cause serious infections and other complications; therefore, you need to have your injuries evaluated and treated by a doctor.
- Identify the dog owner and their animal: It is crucial to try to identify the dog that bit you and its owner. Get the owner's contact information, as well as the dog's vaccination records.
- Report the bite to animal control: In Dothan, Alabama, dog bites must be reported to the local animal control agency. This will also serve as evidence for your lawyer to help back up your dog bite claim later.
- Document the incident: Take photos of your injuries and any damage you may have suffered. Record the details of the incident, including the date, time, and location of the attack. Take down any witness contact information you can get.
- Consult an attorney: If you are injured in a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered. A dog bite attorney from Wettermark Keith can help you understand your legal options and file a claim against the dog owner.
By taking these steps above after your animal attack, you can protect your legal rights after a dog bite accident in Dothan, Alabama. Contact an attorney through Wettermark Keith to start your claim today.
Are there any dog breeds more likely to be involved in an animal attack?
All dogs have the potential to bite, attack, and cause significant harm, regardless of their breed; yet, there are certain breeds that are associated with a higher risk and incidence of dog bites and attacks. In the state of Alabama, dog breeds that are commonly involved in animal attacks include:
- Pit Bulls
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
These breeds have a history of being bred for protective or fighting purposes; therefore, they tend to be more aggressive than other animals.
Individual dogs’ behavior can vary greatly, and their breed is not always a reliable predictor of aggression. Things like socialization, training, and handling by their owners can also play a significant role in a dog's behavior and their likelihood to attack.
If you or a loved one experienced a dog attack, it is important to seek medical attention right away and report the incident to animal control or law enforcement. You may also want to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal options and seek compensation for your injuries.
How does an attorney use Strict Liability?
In Alabama, strict liability is used in dog bite cases where a defendant is responsible for harm caused by their actions, regardless of whether they intended to cause harm or were negligent. This means that the victim doesn't need to prove that the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally, but only needs to show that their injuries were caused by the dog.
In a strict liability case, an attorney can prove that the dog owner is strictly liable for the victim’s injuries in a dog attack if they can show that: the defendant is the owner of the dog, the dog caused the victim’s injuries, and the victim did not provoke the dog.
If these elements are proven, then an attorney can use strict liability in your case to help their clients recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the dog attack. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog attack, then you should contact our legal team at Wettermark Keith in Dothan, Alabama.
Emily’s Law Can Help Prevent Future Injuries and Fatalities
Emily’s Law was passed in 2017 by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey in response to the tragic killing of 24-year old Emily Mae Colvin. A neighbor’s five Pit bulls attacked Emily in her own yard, brutally killing her. It turned out the dogs had a history of escaping and attacking other animals in the neighborhood, and that even the owners were aware of their violent behavior.
Emily's Law is a significant legislative step in holding dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets. Dogs that are suspected of being dangerous can be impounded and investigated. Even if a dog is declared dangerous, it may be returned to its owner under strict conditions. However, if the dog attacks a person unprovoked and causes death or serious injuries, the owner can be charged with a Class B felony. If the dog was not legally dangerous, but it is discovered the owner had prior knowledge of its dangerous tendencies, the owner can be charged with a Class C felony.
Emily’s Law helps to prevent future injuries and fatalities by clearly laying out the consequences dog owners will face if they fail to take appropriate actions to control their dogs’ behavior.
Wettermark Keith: Dothan Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite cases in Dothan can be complicated. Without the proper legal knowledge, it can be hard to know how to proceed after a dog attack. For peace of mind contact our Dothan dog bite lawyers to pursue your case. We represent our clients with compassion, using our legal expertise to make your case a success.
At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. With offices located in Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, we have an excellent reputation in many practice areas, including dog bite law. 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. It’s more to us, it’s personal.
If your lawyer produces no recovery on your dog bite injury case, then you pay no fee!
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
In Dothan, dog owners are held responsible for the actions of their dogs. If a dog bites someone, the owner may be liable for damages caused by the bite, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been bitten by a dog in Dothan, you need a personal injury attorney from Wettermark Keith as soon as possible.