Dog Bite Attorney

If you or a loved one has been attacked and bitten by a dog, medical bills are likely to pile up. Besides physical injuries, you may also suffer mental torment and develop PTSD or other conditions that negatively impact your life. Known as man's best friend, dogs are adorable companions. However, while the dog may not have intentionally injured you or your loved one, their irresponsible owners must compensate for your losses. Dog owners must follow certain rules and guidelines to ensure their pets' safety and make sure they don't injure others. If dog owners don't train their dogs properly, are negligent in their care, or don't adequately restrain dogs, they are violating these rules and endangering others. In Florida, such owners are subject to strict laws.

The number of dog bite cases in the USA every year is estimated to be in the millions. Dog bites can cause disfigurement, require extensive medical treatment, and, in rare cases, even result in death. The consequences of a dog bite incident aren't limited to physical injuries alone. Victims of dog bite injuries are inclined to develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Changes in appearance can affect a person's self-confidence and even pose hindrances in everyday activities.

Florida law states that dog owners must pay for damages when a dog bites a person in a public place or when the victim is present on private property lawfully. Injuries that can warrant a dog bite lawsuit include:

  • Bruises, cuts, and abrasions
  • Bite marks
  • Lacerations
  • Permanent scars
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Temporary or permanent disability

You can claim compensation for treating these injuries, pain and suffering, property damage, and financial losses. Financial losses include loss of wages during the time the injury prevented a person from working and damage to or loss of earning capacity in extreme cases. In some exceptional cases, the victims may be able to claim additional losses like loss of consortium and life enjoyment. Loss of consortium means the deprivation of the benefits of a familial or intimate relationship due to injuries caused by another party and refers to wrongful death or injury of a loved one.

Florida law also takes into account Negligence Per Se, meaning that if the dog owner has violated Florida dog bite laws and other related statutes, it counts as an act of negligence. Dog owners walking their dogs without a leash or leaving them unsupervised on the streets counts as Negligence Per Se. When injuries take place because of such negligent behaviors, dog owners may be liable to pay for damages to the victim.

As Florida is a strict liability state in dog bite cases. Victims don't necessarily have to prove that the dog was likely to bite them to recover damages. However, the dog owner may also be able to deny their responsibility under certain circumstances. These include:

  • The victim was trespassing
  • The dog owner had posted a warning sign, unless the victim is under six years of age
  • The victim provoked the dog

If the victim was comparatively negligent, for example, taunted the dog or ignored the dog owner's warning not to approach or pet the dog, which led to the attack, the victim would be partially or fully responsible. Florida laws are strict on negligent dog owners. Still, if you have ignored warnings or contributed to the circumstances that led to the bite, compensation amounts are reduced in proportion to the victim's negligence. Similarly, suppose you were bitten and injured by a military or police dog on duty. In that case, you won't be able to claim compensation.

Often dog bites are instigated by owners and not due to negligence. Dog owners encouraging their pets to cause harm to people are unlikely to be able to claim that they were not responsible for the attacks either partially or entirely. If your case involves such circumstances, obtaining compensation will be comparatively easy. However, you will still need evidence and witnesses to prove your claim.

Regardless of the circumstances of the incident, compensation claims for dog bites must be filed within four years from the date of the incident. Exceptions may apply to some instances. In case of the injury resulting in disability, the countdown would begin when the victim recovers from their disability. In incidents involving minors, the countdown starts when the child comes of age.

While it may not seem like much at first, dog bite cases have their own complications, and only an experienced attorney can assess if you qualify for compensation. It can be challenging to gather evidence, witnesses, and medical reports on your own, especially if your injuries affect your mobility. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will be a great help in recovering damages. If you're unsure how to proceed with your case, Injury Assistance Network can show you the right direction. Sympathetic and experienced representatives are available 24/7 to help you make all the right decisions and help you find the best lawyer to represent your case. No matter when you need it, IAN is here to help you!

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