Most dogs are lovable companions, but some canines will snap in certain scenarios. After all, dogs are animals, and no amount of one-on-one training, socialization, or obedience school can quash their instincts completely. Fortunately, dog bite victims can usually sue the pet owner or handler for any damages they incur. If you were hurt by someone else’s dog, here is what you should know about filing a subsequent personal injury claim.
When the Owner Is Liable
In the state of Alabama, pet owners are automatically liable for the harm their dogs inflict if the victim did not provoke the animal, the incident occurred on the owner’s property, and the victim was not trespassing at the time. If the incident occurs in a public place or on property belonging to a third party, the dog owner is only liable for the personal injury damages if they were negligent. For example, ignoring a leash law when walking through a public park could provide the grounds for a negligence claim.
What Kinds of Damages the Victim Can Recover
Regardless if you have a strict liability claim or a negligence case, you can recover compensation for the costs associated with treating the injury. This might include medical bills and lost income. If the pet owner knew the dog was aggressive—if the animal had bitten someone in the past, for example—you could also collect punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages aim to deter the defendant from letting the incident happen again.
If a dog bit you or a loved one, turn to The Gil Law Firm. Based in Dothan, AL, Rafael Gil III represents accident victims throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. He is a compassionate personal injury attorney and is committed to helping clients secure the compensation that is rightfully theirs. The firm’s other practice areas include Social Security disability and bankruptcy law. Schedule a free initial consultation by visiting their website or calling (334) 673-0100.