Biting Dogs in Bama

Feb 2, 2017 | Firm News

Dog Bites

We in the south like our dogs. I mean we really like our dogs. So it is not surprising that the law concerning their behavior can be complicated.

Alabama has combined two different legal theories to settle dog bite cases. In most states, they just have one or the other.

Legal theory one is based on an Alabama statute or law (3-6-1 Code of Alabama 1975). In short if you (or your dog) cause harm, you pay—with some strings attached.   This law requires that the victim must be bitten on the dog owner’s property or the dog pursued the victim off the dog owner’s property.

Legal theory two is that a dog gets one free bite. The logic here is that you didn’t know the dog was a biter until it bites someone. In Alabama, there is a breed specific rule to this theory. It states if your dog is known to be a dangerous breed, then the one free bite rule may not apply.

Though I usually represent people who have been bitten, let me give you a few points on defending your dog. The two major defenses are the dog was provoked or the injured person was trespassing. This will probably not surprise you, but, in Alabama, you cannot collect anything if you provoked the dog. We do not like you teasing our dogs. The law says you brought it on yourself. If you are going to use this defense, try to get witnesses or anything used to poke the animal as evidence. The other defense is trespassing. In the south, we take our land as seriously as we do our dogs. If people are on the land illegally and get bitten, they get nothing.

Now, I have known people who will pay more to defend their dog then they would their child. However in my experience, one of the most difficult cases to defend is when a dog bites twice. Usually, you are going to pay.

If you are injured, you can talk to us at Eiland and Ritchie for free. There is no charge unless we collect for you. We want to help you and in doing so get you back on your feet.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer