When it comes to dog bite cases, determining liability can be tricky. Every
state has its own statutes which specify who is liable for injuries caused by a
dog bite, and when that liability attaches. There are basically two theories of
liability: strict liability and the "one bite" rule. Strict
liability is the easiest type of liability to establish.
The strict liability theory
Most states enforce strict liability for dog bite injuries. The term "strict
liability" means that the dog's owner is always liable for any
dog bite injuries, regardless of whether or not the owner could have done
anything to prevent the injury from occurring. All that must be established
is that the victim was legally on the premises when the injury occurred,
and the victim did not provoke the dog. There is typically no liability
The "one bite" rule
It used to be that dog bite liability was based on whether or not the dog
owner knew or had reason to know that his dog might bite someone. This
rule is referred to as the "one bite" rule because it essentially
meant that a dog was allowed one bite before the owner could be liable.
After the first bite, the owner was obviously on notice of the dog's
propensity to bite.
Alabama's Dog Bite Statute
Alabama is a strict liability state. Alabama's dog bite statute provides
If any dog shall, without provocation, bite or injure any person who is
at the time at a place where he or she has a legal right to be, the owner
of such dog shall be liable in damages to the person so bitten or injured,
but such liability shall arise only when the person so bitten or injured
is upon property owned or controlled by the owner of such dog at the time
such bite or injury occurs or when such person has been immediately prior
to such time on such property and has been pursued therefrom by such dog.
If you have questions regarding dog bite liability or any other personal
contact us online or by calling the Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.