Were you bitten or attacked by a dog that was not properly restrained by its owner in Scottsboro? The dog bite lawyers of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., know how traumatic a vicious attack can be and how it could forever impact your life.
We are here to help you hold the dog’s owner accountable for the harm you’ve suffered. It is our goal to help you seek the financial compensation you need to become whole again.
There were 316,200 emergency room visits and 9,500 hospital stays related to dog bites in a typical year, according to a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). That breaks down to an average of 866 ER visits and 26 hospitalizations a day. The HCUP brief further stated that the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay 50 percent more than the cost of the average stay for other injuries.
Some dog bite victims are not only forced to pay staggering medical bills, but they also may be unable to return to work until their injuries have healed. The stress and mental anguish following an animal attack can have a lasting impact on a victim’s emotional and mental state.
When someone else’s dog attacks you, you may be entitled to compensation that will ensure that you don’t have to pay out of pocket your related losses and will help you put this traumatic event behind you.
Our firm has been helping injury victims in Scottsboro and all over Alabama for more than a half-century. Call us or contact us online now to take advantage of a free consultation.
How Serious Is a Dog Bite in Scottsboro, Alabama ?
Dog bites can be extremely serious, and in some cases, an attack could prove to be fatal. Victims who survive an attack could suffer injuries that require surgery (and often multiple surgeries) and are often forced to live with scarring and disfigurement – a reminder of the attack that could last a lifetime.
Even relatively minor dog bite injuries could quickly worsen, as the possibility of infection is always a concern.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that minor wounds be washed thoroughly with soap and water before being treated with an antibiotic cream and covered with clean bandages.
With deeper wounds, the CDC recommends that you apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding. Call 911 immediately if the bleeding cannot be stopped. You should always see your medical care provider for proper treatment of your dog bite.
Never assume that a dog bite is not serious enough to warrant medical attention. Some serious conditions may not initially show symptoms. A thorough medical exam can uncover and address complications that were not immediately apparent.
Scottsboro, Alabama Dog Bite Laws
Under Alabama Code § 3-6-1, a dog owner is liable to the person bitten or injured when the dog bites or injures a person without provocation in a place where they had a legal right to be. A trespasser may not have a dog bite claim. Someone legally on the property – a mail carrier, a delivery person, a meter reader, a guest – would likely have a valid claim.
Alabama Code § 3-6-3 establishes that a dog owner can be held liable for only economic damages when they had no knowledge that a dog was vicious or dangerous. When such an action is successful, the dog owner will only be liable for economic damages (the tangible costs of an injury like medical bills, lost wages, or property damage) but cannot be held liable for noneconomic damages (subjective harm like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement) or punitive damages.
When a dog attack happens somewhere other than the dog owner’s property, the common law rules of negligence apply. In general, 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 bite off the dog owner’s property.
Who Pays a Dog Bite Claim in Scottsboro?
Many dog bite victims have immediate concerns about taking legal action against dog owners because the dog owners are often people the victims know, like friends, family members, or neighbors. Because of this, some victims may have reservations about pursuing a dog bite claim.
Fortunately, in most cases, dog bites are covered by homeowners’ insurance policy. It will be the insurer who pays you compensation. The money won’t come directly out of the dog owner’s pocket, so a dog bite claim will usually have very little impact on the dog owner’s personal finances.
Because of this, you should not be afraid to seek compensation if you’ve been bitten by a dog in Scottsboro. Insurance policies are purchased for this very reason: to pay for unforeseen expenses that arise.
How Much Compensation Could I Get for a Dog Attack in Scottsboro?
In Alabama, you may be entitled to obtain compensation for all of your economic damages, but noneconomic damages can be more difficult. It is important to remember that Alabama is one of only five states in the nation that recognizes the affirmative defense of contributory negligence, and this is a very important consideration because a dog owner could completely avoid any liability if they claim and prove that you did something that antagonized or prompted the dog to bite you.
What to Do When a Dog Attacks You in Scottsboro, Alabama
Your first step after a dog bite should be to treat your wounds. Be sure to seek medical attention right away, even for seemingly minor dog bites.
Medical care is important because the insurance company will use any delay in treatment against you. They may argue that your injuries were not as severe as you claimed or that you do not deserve compensation for not treating them properly.
Try to take pictures of your wounds before they heal. If you are bitten by a dog whose owner you do not know, be sure to get their contact information and do not hesitate to ask for a driver’s license to confirm their identity.
Make sure to keep any bills, receipts, and any other documentation related to the medical care and expenses you incur due to the dog bite. If you’ve missed time from work, track the days missed and the income you’ve lost as a result. This documentation will come in handy when your attorney needs to evaluate the financial losses you’ve suffered.
Consider keeping a journal of how the attack has affected you emotionally. You could be entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other emotional damages. Be sure to keep a running account of what impact the attack has had on your life and relationships.
How Can Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Help Me After a Dog Attack in Scottsboro?
Did you or your loved one sustain severe injuries from a dog bite in Scottsboro or a surrounding area of Alabama? Don’t wait until it is too late to file your injury claim to seek the compensation you deserve.
The dog bite attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can use our decades of experience negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, and we will also prepare your case for trial if necessary. Our firm can discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Our office in Scottsboro offers personal injury services in a wide range of cases including: work injury, slip & fall accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, and more.