The Florida Dog Bite Attorneys of Gilman Law LLP are Here to Help You
Florida Dog Bite Lawyers
Florida Negligence Attorneys: Slips and Falls | Dog Bites
Have you been injured in a dog bite incident in the state of Florida? If so, you should know that you are not alone. Our Florida dog bite lawyers have helped hundreds of people obtain the compensation they deserve from careless dog owners.
Dog bites are responsible for an alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in Florida and nationwide each year. Children are most vulnerable, and many injuries and deaths are caused by multiple dogs attacking one person. Quite often, a Florida dog owner’s negligence is responsible for dog bite injuries.
If you or someone you know have been injured in a Florida dog bite incident, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses and lost income, as well as punitive damages. To protect your legal rights, we urge you to contact one of our Florida dog bite lawyers right away.
Causes of Florida Dog Bites
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the U.S., more than 1,000 people a day suffer dog bites serious enough to require an emergency room visit. In fact, the CDC says one in every 50 people in this country will be bitten by a dog each year. That’s more than 4.7 million annually.
Florida dog bites occur for a number of reasons, but very often, they are the result of a negligence dog owner. Unrestrained dogs off the owner’s property account for a large proportion of attacks. Responsible dog owners should chose nonviolent breeds, provide their dogs with proper socialization, training, care and treatment, and neuter male dogs to prevent aggression. Dogs should be leashed and controlled at all times.
Some dogs are more prone to biting incidents then others. When a dog owner chooses such a breed, they have a duty to take steps to protect others from bites. The dog breeds most often involved in biting incidents include:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Husky (Alaskan Malamute)
- Doberman Pinscher
- Chow Chow
- Great Dane
- St. Bernard
- Wolf hybrid
Damages for Dog Bite Injuries
The expenses associated with a dog bite can be extremely costly, especially in the event of a scarring injury. Scars can be a serious, life-long result of a dog bite. Children, because of their size, are particularly susceptible to bites around the head and face that can lead to disfiguring scars. Scarring injuries not only cause physical problems, but can also cause long term emotional trauma, requiring a significant amount of psychological counseling.
Under Florida law, people bitten by a dog can collect damages for:
- Medical expenses (including reconstruction surgery for disfiguring puncture wounds and lacerations)
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Punitive damages in some cases if the owner knew the dog was vicious from previous attacks on people.
- The dog does not have to actually inflict a bite wound – dog attack victims may have a claim for damages if the dog chased, cornered or approached them in a menacing way.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Under Florida law, a dog owner is subject to strict liability when it comes to dog bites. That means that the owner of a dog is responsible for any damage caused by a biting incident, including serious injury to humans. It does not matter whether the dog bit anyone before, or if the owner knew the dog was prone to biting.
There are a couple of exceptions to Florida’s strict liability dog biting rule. For one thing, any damage award from a dog bite is going to be reduced by the victim’s own negligence. This is most common when it is found that a dog bite victim teased or otherwise provoked an animal. For example, if a victim is found to have been 50 percent responsible for a dog bite incident, the damages awarded will be reduced by 50 percent.
In Florida, dog owners can also protect themselves from liability by posting a sign that says “bad dog.” In general, when such a sign is displayed, an owner is not going to be liable unless they were independently negligent in causing the injury.
In most cases, homeowners insurance covers dog bite injuries, unless specifically excluded from the policy. Damages covered by homeowners insurance in a dog bite case include medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, future plastic surgery costs and psychological counseling, if necessary.
While the Florida dog bite statute usually imposes liability solely on the dog owner, there are times that another person might be liable if he or she was negligent or maintained custody or control of the dog with knowledge that the dog was dangerous. In cities with a “leash law,” violation may constitute a form of negligence.
In some cases, it may be possible to bring a claim against someone who negligently entrusted a dog to another person who could not control it, like a child. Claims against people other than the owner are especially crucial when the dog owner lacks insurance.
Help for Florida Dog Bite Victims
If you or someone you love have been injured in Florida dog bite incident, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online free consultation form, or call TOLL FREE at (888) 252-0048 to discuss your case with one of the experienced Florida dog bite lawyers at our firm.