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Huntsville's Fearless Dog Bite Lawyers:
Contact an Expert Dog Bite Attorney to Deliver the Results You Need.
Despite their reputation as "man's best friend," dogs can pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of a community. In the United States alone, nearly 4.7 million people experience dog attacks each year. The heartbreaking truth is that most of these incidents tend to zero in on the most vulnerable individuals in our society: children. Babies and young children under 10 tragically account for more than 50% of dog bite fatalities. This grim truth underlines the importance of responsible pet ownership, proper training, and understanding the potential risks associated with all breeds of dogs - particularly when they interact with children.
Whether you're enjoying a peaceful hike, watching your kids at the park, or tending to the flowers in your front yard, a sudden dog attack can upend your sense of security, inflicting life-altering injuries and haunting memories. The aftermath of such an attack can leave emotional scars that linger long after the wounds have healed. After a horrific attack, you deserve to have the support and financial compensation you need to cover your medical bills and continue your life. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a dog bite in Huntsville, contact our experienced dog bite injury lawyers for guidance today. Our injury attorneys are prepared to use their expertise, knowledge, and vast network of resources to build a compelling case on your behalf.
Decoding the Statistics: Which Dog Breeds Are Most Commonly Involved in Alabama Dog Bite Cases?
In Alabama, the overall number of dog bite incidents varies among different dog breeds, influenced by factors such as population and ownership patterns. While data shows that certain breeds are most commonly associated with attacks, it does not suggest that all dogs of these breeds are aggressive or involved in bite incidents. Dogs not mentioned on this list are also capable of inflicting bites, though perhaps with less damage or frequency. The following breeds are the most frequently reported in Alabama dog bite incidents:
Pit Bulls, including American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers, are constantly involved in reported dog bite incidents due to their strength and protective instincts. A majority of these incidents involved children. Nationally, Pit bulls are responsible for 60% of all injuries and 63% of ocular injuries - over 8x more than any other type of dog, despite making up less than 6% of the U.S. dog population. Finally, Pit bull bite incidents are 213% more likely to cause severe injury than other breeds. This is largely due to physical strength, bite force, and their historical use in dogfighting leading to inherited traits of tenacity, or “gameness,” and high prey drive.
Rottweilers are a large and powerful breed that, if not properly trained and socialized, may exhibit aggressive behaviors that can lead to bite incidents. According to the CDC, Rottweilers contributed to 45 (reported) attacks between 2005 and 2017, coming second to Pit bulls at 284. Notably, many Rottweiler owners and breed enthusiasts argue that the breed's natural protectiveness and tendency towards aggression can be overcome - and that with the right care and upbringing, Rottweilers can be as gentle and friendly as any other breed.
Known for their intelligence and protective nature, German Shepherds are the second most popular breed in the United States, able to function as both a beloved family pet and a working dog. However, without suitable training and socialization, German Shepherds might display defensive aggression when they perceive a potential threat to their territory or loved ones. According to the CDC, this tendency has led to German Shepherds being ranked as the third most involved breed in dog bite incidents.
Mixed-breed dogs - often referred to as mutts - are often involved in dog bite incidents.They come from diverse genetic backgrounds, creating a vast spectrum of physical traits and temperaments. Due to this variability, their behavior can range widely depending on their genetic makeup. Some may inherit a strong prey drive, while others may have a more protective or independent nature. Unfortunately, this variance can also influence their potential for aggressive behavior.
Other Large Breeds
Other large dog breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, and Great Danes, may also be reported in dog bite cases due to their size and potential for strong bites. It's important to recognize that their involvement in these cases is often a result of several factors, ranging from their individual temperament and genetics to the environment in which they are raised.
Responsible pet ownership, appropriate training, and fostering positive interactions between dogs and humans play a significant role in preventing dog bite incidents. A variety of factors, including socialization, training, and individual temperament, influence a dog's behavior. It is crucial to approach all dogs with care, respect, and responsible practices, regardless of their breed. If you have been affected by an attack from any breed of dog, seek the assistance of one of our personal injury attorneys.
How Common are Dog Bites in Alabama?
Dog bites are a common occurrence in Alabama. In 2020, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there were a total of 3,913 reported dog bites in the state. Among these incidents, 90% were non-rabies bites, while 10% were suspected rabies exposures.
On a national scale, the CDC reports an average of 46 dog bite fatalities per year in the United States, with young children under the age of 10 being the most vulnerable group. Fatalities from animal attacks are more likely to happen in rural areas, involve male victims, and occur in homes where multiple dogs are present.
However, these statistics only account for reported dog bites. Many cases go unreported, especially if the injuries are minor. Regardless of the exact number of dog bites, it is crucial for you and your loved ones to take necessary precautions to prevent dog bites from occurring.
Common Injuries Resulting from Alabama Dog Attacks
Dog attacks can cause enormous physical trauma. Canine teeth and claws can scar the human body, breaking bones and leading to significant damage. Even after the physical wounds of a dog bite heal, the emotional scars may linger. Victims often experience intense distress in the presence of dogs later in life due to the trauma they endured during the attack.
Some of the most common injuries that result from dog attacks in Alabama include:
Dogs have sharp teeth and strong jaws, which can cause deep puncture wounds. These injuries can lead to significant pain, tissue damage, and an increased risk of infection.
A dog's bite can cause cuts and lacerations, ranging from minor to severe. Deep lacerations may require stitches or even surgery to repair the damaged tissue.
Fractures and broken bones
The force of a dog's bite or an attack can result in fractures or broken bones, especially in vulnerable areas such as the hands, arms, legs, or face.
Soft tissue injuries
Dog bites can cause damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries can result in pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
Dog attacks can cause significant facial injuries, including lacerations, fractures, and damage to soft tissues. These injuries can lead to long-term scarring and disfigurement.
Animal attacks can have a profound psychological impact on victims, leading to emotional trauma, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Seek medical attention immediately following a dog attack. Prompt medical care can prevent complications and ensure proper documentation of your injuries. Additionally, consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney can provide guidance on your legal options and help you seek compensation for your injuries and related damages.
A Quick Guide to Avoiding Dog Bites
You can never truly predict the risk of a dog attack, but there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing an animal attack:
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.
Be aware of a dog's body language, such as a stiff body, raised hair, or a fixed gaze, which can indicate aggression.
Do not disturb dogs that are sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies. Avoid making sudden movements around dogs - this can make them feel threatened, triggering an attack.
Teach your children to be cautious around dogs and to always ask permission before approaching another person's dog.
If a strange dog approaches you, remain calm and still. 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 flashlight to ward off an attack.
If you encounter a stray dog, do not attempt to approach or catch it, as this can put you at risk of being bitten.
Treat all dogs with respect. Any dog can bite, regardless of their breed or size.
Strict Liability Explored: The Impact of Alabama's Dog Bite Laws on Personal Injury Cases
In the state of Alabama, the law places a stringent responsibility on dog owners for any harm inflicted by their pets. Alabama Code 1975 Title 3, states that dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dogs cause. In the city of Huntsville, victims of dog bites have full legal rights to seek compensation for their injuries.
Liability in Huntsville dog bite cases is largely determined by the principles of negligence, meaning that if the victim can establish that the dog owner had prior knowledge of their pet's aggressive tendencies, the owner can be held accountable for any damages resulting from the bite. This doctrine, known as the "one bite rule," can be proven through evidence.
For instance, if the owner has previously expressed fear that their dog might attack, if the dog has bitten someone in the past, or if the dog has a known habit of barking and chasing after people, these can all serve as proof that the owner was aware their dog was dangerous. Secondly, if the owner is aware their dog belongs to a breed that's widely considered dangerous - such as a Pit bull - this too can be used as evidence. Because the dog's breed is considered to be a forewarning for potential risk of attack, the owner is legally presumed to be "on notice." If you or a loved one has suffered a bite from a breed labeled "dangerous" in Huntsville, you have a particularly compelling case for holding the owner liable.
It's important to understand that Alabama is a "strict liability" state. This means that dog owners in Huntsville are universally accountable for all damages inflicted by their dog on their property or around it. If the victim of the dog bite cannot prove that the owner was negligent or knew of their dog's dangerous tendencies, the owner's liability is limited to the actual economic expenses resulting from the dog bite.
However, if the victim can demonstrate that the owner had, or should have had, knowledge of their dog's dangerous nature, they can file a negligence claim for full compensation for all losses incurred. In Alabama, the average settlement for dog bite cases ranges between $30,000 to $50,000 - this typically covers continuous medical treatment, pain and suffering, and psychological damage.
In the wake of a tragic event in 2017, Alabama enacted "Emily's Law" to combat negligent dog ownership and prevent future injuries and fatalities. Emily Mae Colvin, a 24-year-old Alabama resident, was tragically killed in her yard by five Pit bulls owned by her neighbors. The dogs, which had been known to escape and attack other animals, prompted a legislative response when their actions led to Emily's death. In her memory, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey passed a law imposing stringent penalties on negligent dog owners.
Emily's Law sets forth a clear process for dealing with dogs suspected to be dangerous. These dogs are subject to impounding and a hearing as part of a thorough investigation, initiated by a sworn affidavit. Dogs that are legally declared dangerous may be allowed to return to their owners, but under strict conditions. If these conditions are breached and the dog attacks a person unprovoked, resulting in death or serious physical injuries, the owner can be charged with a Class B felony. In instances where a dog which is not legally classified as dangerous attacks due to its known dangerous tendencies, the owner can be charged with a Class C felony for willful negligence. Thus, Emily's Law represents a significant legislative step in holding dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets.
At Wettermark Keith, our experienced dog bite injury lawyers have been handling these types of cases for over three decades. We have a deep understanding of the complexities of Alabama's dog bite laws and know how to build a compelling argument to establish liability. If you or a family member has suffered a dog bite injury, do not hesitate to reach out to our injury attorneys in Huntsville, AL. We are here to provide you with the legal support and representation you need to seek the compensation you deserve.
Wettermark Keith: Contact an Expert Huntsville Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today
The aftermath of a dog attack can leave lasting impressions on a victim and their loved ones, whether this be physical scars, mental trauma, or emotional damage. Immediately after an attack, it’s difficult to know where to start in terms of pursuing compensation. Huntsville dog bite law is notoriously complex - without the proper legal knowledge, you may struggle to recover damages for your pain. For peace of mind, contact our Alabama dog bite lawyers to pursue your case. Our attorneys represent clients with compassion, utilizing legal knowledge and courtroom expertise to make your case a success.
Here at Wettermark Keith, no case is too big for our expert dog bite injury lawyers to pursue. Our attorneys represent each and every client with the utmost respect, compassion, and transparency. 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.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person and suffered a dog bite injury, call Wettermark Keith at 877-715-9300. Together we can seek a resolution that meets your needs and can continue to provide for you long after this ordeal is over.
If Our Huntsville Lawyers Don't Win Your Case, You Pay No Fee - Guaranteed!
When selecting clients to represent in court, our firm operates on a contingency fee basis. What this means to our clients is simple: if we don’t win your case, you won’t pay anything. We choose to operate this way for the sole benefit of our clients, we want to see you obtain a successful recovery so that you can continue to carry on with your life.
Contact us today at 877-715-9300 if you have suffered an attack or lost a loved one to a dog bite injury. Fill out the free case evaluation form on our website and we will get back to you promptly. If you wish to speak to us directly, feel free to call one of our three branches.
Frequently Asked Questions
The amount of compensation you may receive for a dog bite can depend on various factors, including the severity of the injury, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any long-term effects. It's best to consult with an attorney who can evaluate your case and provide guidance on the potential compensation you may be entitled to.
Typically, legal action is taken against the dog owner for a dog bite incident, not the insurance company. However, the owner's homeowner's insurance policy typically covers dog bite incidents - the owner does not pay out of pocket. As such, once a suit is filed against the dog owner, their insurance company generally steps in to handle the claim.
If you are pursuing a dog bite claim, it's advisable to hire a Huntsville dog bite lawyer with experience in handling such cases. They can help negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company or legal representation on your behalf. They will gather evidence, assess the value of your claim, and work to secure a fair settlement. Negotiations can involve discussions on medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other relevant factors.
In Alabama, the dog bite laws operate under the "one-bite" rule, which means that the owner may be held liable for a dog bite if they were aware of the dog's prior aggressive behavior. However, the specifics can vary depending on the circumstances. It's important to consult with a local attorney who is knowledgeable about Alabama's laws to understand how they apply to your situation.
To assist a dog bite attorney in gathering evidence for your case, you can do the following:
- Document the incident: Write down a detailed account of the dog bite incident, including the date, time, location, and any relevant details about what happened.
- Seek medical attention: Get medical treatment for your injuries and keep records of all medical bills, diagnoses, and treatments.
- Collect information: Gather contact information from any witnesses who saw the incident or have knowledge of the dog's behavior.
- Take photos: If possible, take photographs of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and any visible signs, such as the dog's enclosure or warning signs.
- Preserve evidence: Keep any clothing, personal items, or other evidence that may be relevant to the incident.
If the dog owner is a friend or family member, it can make the situation more sensitive. It's important to remember that personal injury claims are usually handled through the dog owner's homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance. It's advisable to consult with Huntsville personal injury lawyers who can provide guidance on how to proceed while considering your relationship with the dog owner. They can help you navigate the legal process and negotiate a fair settlement without causing unnecessary strain on personal relationships.