Getting bitten by a dog can be very traumatizing. It can leave permanent scars and damages to the victim. This is why there are laws in place to ensure that dog bite victims are compensated. We have to agree that, since they’re animals, dogs sometimes may act irrationally. However, this should not be at the expense of other people in the community. Usually, we view dogs through the lens of “man’s best friend” and forget that they are still animals and that they can hurt us.
The reality is that many people are bitten by dogs every year. This issue cannot be ignored because many victims go uncompensated. Working with a Boca Raton dog bite lawyer ensures that you are given justice and that the party responsible pays for the damages. An aggressive dog may cause injuries such as facial scarring, emotional trauma, and in severe cases, death. You don’t want to suffer alone. If a dog attacks you or a loved one, contact the Florida personal injury lawyers at Englander Peebles immediately.
Table of Contents
What Should I Do If a Dog Bites Me?
If you live in Florida, you need to contact the police anytime you get attacked by a dog. Informing the police ensures that the incident is recorded and is especially important if you plan to sue the liable party. You are also required to contact animal control, who are responsible for recording the incident.
You are advised to collect as much evidence as possible, as this will help you file your claim. Take many pictures of the attack scene, your injuries, as well as the dog that attacked you. It is also important to get contacts from the witnesses that were present during the incident. Obtain their names, contacts, and addresses because their statements will carry a lot of weight if you choose to file a claim.
All the evidence you collect will help your dog bite attorney strengthen your case and prove that the other party was at fault. Note that without substantial evidence, your lawsuit will not be successful.
Who Do I Report a Dog Bite to in the State of Florida?
All dog bite victims in Florida are expected to report the bite. Failure to do this could lead to serious legal ramifications. When a dog bites you, you are advised to call the county animal control or police and report the incident. Failure to report a dog bite could lead to you not receiving the compensation you deserve.
Don’t take a lot of time to report after the incident has occurred. It is best to report the incident as quickly as possible. It is essential to call animal control because they will do laboratory tests to determine whether the dog can transmit rabies. If you take too much time, and the dog happens to have had rabies, then the damage will have already been done.
Why Should I Hire a Boca Raton Dog Bite Lawyer?
Hiring a good lawyer to help you in your case is fundamental. You may not be able to fight for your rights if you don’t have an experienced dog bite attorney on your side. A lawyer at Englander Peebles can evaluate the strength of your case and advise you on whether to go ahead with it or not.
The lawyer will also take over the investigation and compile all the evidence collected to develop a strong case. Since they are experienced, it becomes easy for them to estimate your related losses and expenses, including non-economic damages.
You might also be required to conduct negotiations with the animal owner’s insurance to determine the payout. Working with a smart attorney ensures that your interests are considered and that the insurance firm doesn’t offer an unacceptable settlement amount. Our lawyers know how to navigate the negotiations to protect your interests. Don’t try to settle with the animal owner’s insurance company on your own.
Who Is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
Florida is a strict liability state. This means that if the dog happens to bite you when you are in a public location, then the owner is automatically liable for the damages incurred. This also applies if you are lawfully in a private area when the incident happens.
Strict liability applies even if the dog owner didn’t have previous knowledge that the dog might bite someone. In other words, the victim doesn’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. As long as they can prove that they had a right to be in that particular location, then the dog’s owner will be held liable for the injuries.
It is also important to note that negligence on the part of the victim that may have caused them to be attacked by the dog may reduce the dog owner’s liability by a certain percentage. However, this shouldn’t prevent the victim from filing a claim. If the dog owner had a sign displaying “Bad Dog,” they will not be held liable except to victims under six. Note that the dog owner is not obligated to warn a trespasser of any hazards, such as roaming dogs.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
When a dog bites you, under the strict liability concept, the owner is supposed to compensate you for past and future medical expenses, other losses, and suffering resulting from the injuries. However, the victim may see their total compensation reduced if they played any part in triggering the attack.
Some of the economic damages may result from medical expenses, which include physical therapy, medication, and other psychological treatments. The dog owner will be required to pay for all the costs regardless of whether the victim had other preexisting conditions.
The victim can also get compensated for the pain and suffering they undergo. Some may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident. It is usually hard to quantify the monetary value of pain and suffering. Some lawyers use the multiplier effect where they multiply the total medical bills and lost wages by a factor to arrive at the pain and suffering compensation amount.
What Does Florida Law State About Dog Bites?
Florida dog bite law states that the dog’s owner is liable for any damage done by their dog to a domestic animal or human being. As long as the plaintiff can prove that they were in a public place or were lawfully in a private property, the dog owner will have no option but to be held accountable for the damage caused.
If there are signs of negligence from the dog owner, the owner is automatically held liable. We also have the dangerous dog statute in Florida, which protects the public from dangerous dogs. If someone owns a dangerous dog, there are some specific precautions they are supposed to take with regard to the animal. Failure to do this could result in them being held criminally responsible for any further injuries caused by the dog.
Statistics About Dog Bite Injuries in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Health, over 600 people are hospitalized every year because of dog bites. Out of these, two people will die due to the injuries sustained from a dog bite. It is reported that most of the incidents occur at the property where the dog resides and affects people that are familiar with the dog.
We need to protect our kids around dogs because it is reported that children under the age of 14 face the highest risk of being bitten by a dog. Dogs that are not restrained are said to account for more than one-third of all the dog bites. This goes to show that if the dogs were secured, the number of casualties would decrease. Boys also have a higher chance of getting attacked by dogs than girls of the same age.
About 26% of the dog bites are reported to have been caused by inappropriate interactions with the dog. These include moving the dog against its will, taking toys from the dog, and even interrupting the dog while it is eating. On the other hand, more than 50% of all the reported cases occur when the victims, usually above the age of 15, try to break up a dog fight.
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
When it comes to the statute of limitations, Florida dog bite cases need to be filed within four years from the date the victim sustained the injuries. If you get attacked and fail to file the lawsuit within the four years, you cannot file the suit seeking monetary compensation. Working with a reputable lawyer will ensure that your legal rights are reserved.
Suppose you have sustained any injuries due to a dog bite incident. In that case, you need to contact a reliable lawyer as soon as possible to increase the chances of your claim being successful. Contact us, and you won’t regret it.
Contact Englander Peebles for a Free Case Evaluation
A dog bite can be very traumatic. Victims may be left with permanent scarring and emotional trauma. If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, Englander Peebles can help you get the compensation you deserve. We will provide you with aggressive representation, and there are no fees unless we win! Call us today at (954) 231-1384 today to schedule a free case evaluation.