Caring for a dog is a significant responsibility.  Some dog owners do not take this responsibility seriously.  Our general affinity for canines means we are commonly around dogs, and while most are docile and loving, there are times when dogs attack people.  In fact, many have been bitten by a dog during the course of their lives.  Even a minor dog bite can be traumatic, painful, and dangerous.  More serious dog attacks can cause significant injury, require medical treatment or surgery, and forever alter the lives of the victim and their family.  If you have been the victim of a dog attack, contact the personal injury lawyers at Charles McCorquodale Law today to initiate a claim that will assist you and your family in recovering from your injuries.

Dog Bite Laws in Alabama

Many states have laws specific to dog bites.  Dog bite laws in Alabama acknowledge the liability of the dog owner.  In other words, the owner of a dog is liable for the actions of that dog, including injuries resulting from attacks, on public properties as well as private properties as long as the bite victim was lawfully on the property.  Signs posted to warn individuals coming onto the property can limit liability in some situations, but not always.  Although the laws typically favor victims of dog bites, collecting compensation can still be significantly difficult because of the parties involved.  If you are a victim of a dog bite, it is in your best interest to contact Charles McCorquodale Law today so that we may begin to help you establish your claim.

How Common are Dog Bites?

Nationwide, over 4.5 million individuals are bitten by dogs, according to the CDC. Many of the bites cause only minor injuries, but, on average, nearly 900,000 of those reported bitten receive medical attention each year.  The most at-risk demographic is children ages 5-9.  Men are bitten more often than women.  Interestingly, over half of dog bites occur in the home of the dog owner and even when the victim is familiar with the dog.

What diseases can a dog bite cause?

Rabies – Contracting rabies from a dog bite is rare in the United States, but it should be addressed with every bite.  The rabies virus attacks the brain and is nearly always fatal.  It is most commonly spread through the saliva of an animal infected with the virus when it bites.  If the dog that bit you was acting strangely or their owner cannot verify rabies vaccination, seek medical attention immediately.

Pasteurella – This is a bacterial type present in over half of dog bite wounds.  A common symptom is a painful, red infection at the wound area.  This bacterial infection can be particularly dangerous for victims with an already weak immune system, producing symptoms of swelling in the joints, difficulty moving, and swollen glands.

MRSA – This is a type of Staph infection that is antibiotic-resistant.  Animals, including dogs, can be a carrier of MRSA without displaying symptoms.  In people, it is common for lung, skin, and urinary tract infections to develop.  Occasionally, the infection spreads to the bloodstream and becomes life-threatening.

Tetanus – This toxin can cause rigid paralysis and can result from deep bite wounds.

What Do I Do After A Dog Bite?

The physical injury caused by a dog bite can be significant and even fatal.  Also, the emotional trauma that can result from being attacked by a dog can have life-long effects.  Since many bite victims are children, the trauma they experience during emotional development can be significant.  If you or a member of your family has been the victim of a dog bite, there are some key actions to take immediately.  First, seek medical attention.  Even minor bites can present significant risk including the list of diseases above.  Also, find out if the dog or dogs involved have current rabies vaccination documentation.  Request a document or tag, not just the word of the owner.  If you are able, question the owner of the dog about prior aggressive behavior or attacks.  If safely possible, try to take a picture of the dog as well.

The next step is to file a report with your local police or animal control.  Be sure to write down the name of the person you speak with and the date and time.  Take photos of your injuries and the location of the attack.  Write down any name and phone numbers of witnesses who may have seen the attack.  Then, contact the personal injury lawyers at Charles McCorquodale Law to help you pursue your claim.  It is imperative to collect as much information as you can as soon as possible because witnesses and even victims can easily forget important details about the incident soon after it occurs.  By following these steps, you will be able to provide accurate and relevant information to your attorney.

How Will a Dog Bite Lawyer Help?

Our skilled personal injury attorneys in Alabama are experienced with injury claims and Alabama laws. While you and your family focus on physical and emotional recovery, we can begin work on your claim.  We will investigate the incident by interviewing witnesses and then assess your claim according to Alabama liability laws.  Then we will consult with medical professionals to gain understanding in assessing your current and future medical expenses.  In some cases, assessment of lost pay and damages for emotional trauma may also be required.  Most importantly, we will handle the negotiations with the insurance company in order for you to receive the compensation you need.  Because many dog bites come from dogs we are familiar with, some victims worry about pursuing compensation from a friend or family member when their dog attacks.  We can ease this concern by handling everything through the homeowner’s insurance company of the dog owner.  Our experience and expertise will ensure that you are compensated while you work to get back to life before the incident.

If you or a member of your family has recently become the victim of a dog bite, please complete our free case review so that we may assess how we can best help you.

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