As with nearly all other personal injury claims, the primary concern is
who should be held responsible. And with all personal injury claim, each
state has developed its own body of law that addresses this legal issue.
However, liability for dog bite injuries is basically the same in that
the person who was responsible for supervising the dog is most likely
responsible. There are certainly exceptions and unique situations that
may play a role in determining liability. Consult with your Birmingham
personal injury attorney for advice.
Which theory of liability applies in your state?
The first step in determining who can be held liable for a dog bite injury
is understanding the theory of liability followed in your state. Most
states apply the strict liability theory, which means that the dog's
owner is always liable for any dog bite injuries, regardless of whether
or not anything could have been done to prevent the attack. Other states
impose liability based on whether or not the dog owner knew or had reason
to know that his dog might bite someone. Alabama is a strict liability
state. So, in Alabama, the dog owner is almost always responsible.
What if I get bitten while doing my job?
The fear of dog attacks may be a common thing for people who are required
to come onto another person’s property, as part of their jobs. For
instance, pest control technicians or household repair workers are often
placed in a position of risk, when consumers have pets in their homes.
In those situations, the property owner has a legal duty to take reasonable
efforts to protect those workers from injury. Put another way, if the
property owner has a dog, she is responsible for putting the dog up while
workers are present in the home.
What if the dog is a stray?
While we all hope it doesn’t happen, but you or your child could
be bitten by a stray dog in your neighborhood. So, if a dog does not have
an owner, who would be responsible for your injuries? The reality is,
there may not be anyway to bring a claim. Municipalities are not generally
responsible for stray dogs, unless the dog escaped from the local shelter.
In that situation, you would need to prove the city’s negligence
for improperly detaining the stray.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury matter, contact us
online or by calling the Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.