dog barking while being restrained by a leash

Dog bites are traumatic experiences that can cause severe physical injuries and lasting emotional trauma. In extreme cases, injuries from a dog attack could be life-threatening, particularly for children.

The physical, emotional, and financial aftermath of a dog attack victim can be catastrophic. Compensation may be available from the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance coverage or other potential sources of insurance.

If you or your loved one has been injured from a dog attack in Decatur, reach out to the Decatur dog bite lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. We offer free and confidential consultations to all potential personal injury clients.

Our experienced attorneys can guide you through every step of the injury claim process and build the strongest case possible to help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.

How Serious Is a Dog Bite in Decatur?

Dog bites have the potential to be very serious. If you are bitten by a dog, you could sustain a variety of injuries that are severe enough to require medical treatment and legal representation.

Examples of serious dog bite injuries include:

  • Deep cuts that result in scarring, disfigurement, or the transmission of diseases
  • Rabies, tetanus, and other infections
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Nerve damage
  • Soft tissue damage, including torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles
  • Disfigurement that may require plastic surgery
  • Loss of mobility that can require physical therapy
  • Emotional trauma including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Very severe attacks can even result in death, in which case you should consult with a lawyer about filing a wrongful death suit

The costs of treating the physical and psychological harm caused by dog bites can be stressful and traumatic to dog bite victims. The first step in alleviating the unexpected financial burden and stress is to hire an experienced Decatur personal injury lawyer to handle your dog attack case.

Dog Bite Laws in Decatur, Alabama

Under Alabama law, the owner of a dog can be responsible for paying compensation to a victim when the dog attacked the victim with no provocation and the victim was in a place where they had a legal right to be. Someone who is trespassing at the time of the attack likely does not have a dog bite case. A person who was legally on the property – a delivery person, a repair person, a guest – would likely have a valid claim.

Alabama statutes hold that a dog owner is liable for only economic damages when the owner was not aware that the dog was dangerous. In such a situation, the dog owner will only be liable for the objective costs of an injury like medical bills and lost wages, but not for harms like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement.

When an attack occurs off the dog owner’s property, the dog owner must have known or should have known of the dog’s “displayed vicious or dangerous propensities.” Violation of local leash laws may also play a role in liability for a dog biting off the dog owner’s property.

Who Pays a Dog Bite Claim in Decatur Dog Attacks?

Sometimes dog bite victims are hesitant to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner because are if the owner is a friend, relative, neighbor, or other acquaintance. However, in most cases, the animal owner will not be responsible for paying out of pocket, because their homeowners’ insurance will cover the expenses of a claim.

Depending on the specifics of the situation, the insurer will often make a settlement offer. The Insurance Information Institute (III) has reported that dog bite injury claims have increased exponentially in recent years. According to the III, dog bite claims made up over a third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims paid out in one recent year.

How Much Compensation Could I Get for a Dog Bite in Decatur?

If you have been injured by a dog that has displayed dangerous behavior in the past, you may be entitled to a variety of economic and non-economic damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.

If you are the victim of a dog attack, you should consult with a dog bite lawyer to help you determine what compensation may be available to you.

What to Do When a Dog Attacks You in Decatur

If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, take the following steps:

  • Get medical treatment immediately for any injuries. Even if they seem minor, your injuries may become infected, or you could develop symptoms of another condition over time.
  • Find out if the dog that bit you has had its vaccination shots and try to determine if the dog has a history of violent behavior. Ask the owner if the dog has attacked others in the past.
  • File a report with the police.
  • Take photos of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and the dog that attacked you.
  • Get contact information from the dog’s owner and anyone who witnessed the attack.
  • Contact the experienced Decatur dog bite attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., to help you with your injury claim. Contacting an attorney quickly will help them gather relevant information and evidence that can be used if you choose to pursue a claim for compensation.

How Can Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Help Me After a Decatur Dog Attack?

If you were attacked by a dog, the dog’s owner may be held liable for your medical bills and other expenses under certain circumstances. The facts of a dog attack are important in determining whether the owner was negligent and whether there is potential for an injury claim. Allow a skilled and experienced Decatur dog bite attorney who understands the Alabama dog bite laws to review your case and explain your legal options.

The dog bite attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are here to help if you have sustained injuries from a dog attack. We will answer all of your questions and explain your legal options during a free and confidential consultation.

We represent dog bite injury clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning there will be no upfront costs. You won’t owe a dime unless and until we are successful in recovering compensation for you.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call us any time or complete our online form.