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Who pays for the injuries caused by an aggressive dog in Alabama?

| May 19, 2021 | Catastrophic Personal Injury |

An aggressive dog can cause physical trauma, emotional damage and disfiguring injuries in only a few seconds. A single bite can break bones or require stitches, while a mauling attack could cause fatal injuries.

Although most dogs love to interact with humans, some become violent with little provocation. If you or a member of your family recently got bitten by a dog while at a park or visiting someone’s home, you may have hundreds of dollars in medical bills and even property damage.

A dog bite attack could result in damage to clothing and mobile electronics in addition to causing injury to the victim directly. What rights do you have about covering your expenses when a dog hurts you or a member of your family? 

Alabama holds owners responsible for the behavior of their pets

The law in Alabama is clear. Those who own companion animals or livestock have liability for the behavior of those animals. If a dog becomes aggressive and hurts a human, its owner will typically be responsible for the cost suffered by the victim of that attack.

Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance property can often compensate the victims of dog bites, but not always. Property owners sometimes don’t notify their insurance company that they obtained a pet. They also may not disclose the breed. Certain breeds may not have full coverage under standard homeowners policies, meaning that victims attacked by these breeds may need to take legal action against the animals’ owners. The same is true for those attacked by an animal with an uninsured owner.

When isn’t the animal’s owner responsible?

The strict liability statute for dog bites in Alabama ensure that those who own animals that hurt a human have financial responsibility. They should generally try to restrain their animals or train them so that they don’t pose a threat to the public.

Still there are circumstances where the owner may not be responsible. If the person who gets bitten was trespassing at the time of the attack, then the owner may not have liability. The same is true if the person fled from the dog after a previous trespassing incident.

Barring those circumstances or intentional provocation of the dog, an animal’s owner in Alabama will typically have financial responsibility for the injuries caused by their pet.