Greene & Phillips: Legal options if you are bitten by a dog

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 12:33 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Even though they’re man’s best friend, a dog’s behavior can sometimes be unpredictable. And in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, you need to know your legal rights. David Greene from Greene & Phillips is here to help explain what to do if you are bitten by a dog.

What are a person’s legal rights if they are bitten by a dog?

If you are bitten by a dog owned by someone else, you may be eligible for a settlement from the dog’s owner. Ultimately, a pet’s owner is responsible for their pet’s actions. So if that pet bites you and causes an injury, the owner is responsible and may owe you compensation for medical care and pain and suffering.

What does the law say about dog bites?

Alabama law states that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog if the injured person did not provoke the dog, the injured person was not trespassing, or the injured person was on the dog’s owner’s property or had just left the property and was chased off it by the dog.

Does it make a difference if the dog belongs to a landowner or renter?

Since the owner of the animal is responsible, that owner’s homeowner’s policy will typically

cover the injury. If the owner of the pet rents the property, the renter may not be properly insured for covering the liability of a dog bite, but there are certain circumstances where the owner of the property can be held liable for things that happen on their land, even if it is being leased by a third party.

For dog owners, especially those with larger breeds, what do you recommend they do to prevent their dog from biting?

Owners should make sure their animals are properly trained and secured so they don’t pose a danger to others around them. We also suggest socializing your dog at an early age so they are used to being around other people and animals. You as the pet owner will be held responsible for the actions of your animal.

What should someone do if they have been bitten by a dog?

Call the authorities. Getting a police report may be difficult depending on the circumstances, but it will make your case much more valuable. You should also seek medical attention right away. We suggest going to an urgent care facility as opposed to a ER. Then, you should seek out a lawyer that handles this type of case. Be sure to ask your attorney how many dog bite cases they’ve handled, and what kind of results they’ve had from those cases.

If someone has been bitten by a dog or has any further questions, how can they reach you?

Very simply, call 300-20000, or stop by our office at 51 North Florida Street. You never need an appointment!