What is the Rabid Dog Statute in Alabama?

Posted By Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC || 10-May-2013

In Montgomery AL, dog owners are held accountable for the actions of their pet. Under Alabama Code §3-6-1, it is their responsibility to maintain a safe environment, keep the dog under control and warn guests of their pet's violent propensities. Unlike many other states in the U.S., however, owners are not "strictly liable" for the harm that their animal causes to another person. Rather, they would only be liable for providing an injured victim with damages under a specific set of circumstances. For example, the law states that the victim must have lawfully entered onto the dog owner's property at the time of the attack—with the only exception being that the dog had chased them off of the premises before causing the eventual injury.

This means that the victim would not be entitled to damages if they were on the owner's property without permission and/or the dog attack was caused by intentional provocation. Additionally, the law would exempt the dog owner from complete liability if they can prove that they were unaware of their pet's vicious, dangerous or mischievous tendencies. Instead, they would only be responsible for paying the victim's actual damages—which does not include damages for pain and suffering. This argument would not hold weight if the dog had previously attacked another person, however, as it would be reasonable to assume that the pet owner was aware of the animal's potential to act out violently.

Finally, Alabama has implemented a specific law about the manner in which injuries caused by rabid dogs will be compensated. Under this statute, the victim would be entitled to twice the amount of damages if they were attacked by a dog that carried the viral disease, rabies. They must only need to prove that the dog owner was aware of the fact that their pet was carrying this disease. Since rabies can cause serious damage to the central nervous system when it is left untreated, a single bite can quickly lead to an unintentional fatality. In many cases, there is only a small window of time in which the victim will respond to medication. For this reason, lawmakers in Alabama are particularly harsh on negligent pet owners.

If you or someone you love has been attacked by another person's dangerous dog, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with a Montgomery personal injury lawyer at Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC. We will work diligently to pursue the level of compensation that you deserve, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to enlist the professional help that you will need. Contact our firm today at (888) 694-0174 for a free initial consultation or tell us about your case online by filling out the complimentary evaluation form that is conveniently located on our website.

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