Winter Haven Dog Bite Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Victims Injured by a Vicious Dog
Under certain circumstances, the owner of a dog that bites someone will be strictly liable for paying that person’s medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. Our firm has helped many Winter Haven, FL dog bite victims to recover fair compensation after an attack. Here are a few important things you need to know about bringing a claim based on Florida’s dog bite laws.
Does Florida Have a Strict Liability Rule for Dog Bites?
Florida is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. This means a dog owner is responsible for injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether they knew the animal had aggressive tendencies or not. Under the strict liability rule, a victim can hold the dog owner responsible if the victim can prove that the dog bit him or her while on public property or lawfully on private property (such as visiting someone’s home or doing work around the yard).
It is important to note that in Florida dog bite laws, a dog owner is responsible for any injuries caused by the dog, even if there was no actual dog bite.
For example, if a large dog charges and jumps onto someone, causing that person to lose his or her balance, fall on a hard surface, and injure themselves, the victim may still have a claim against that dog’s owner, even if they were not bitten.
Who is Liable for a Dog Bite?
A dangerous dog is an animal that has attacked (or attempted to attack), someone, causing severe injury to the victim, or a dog that has attacked and/or killed another animal more than once. If a dog with known aggressive tendencies is considered a “dangerous dog” under Florida laws, that dog owners will be required to take certain precautions to keep their dog from injuring anyone.
When it comes to liability, the dog owner is liable for any damage that you incur in a dog bite attack. However, in Florida, a landlord may be liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog on his property if the landlord had the ability to control the premises, and knew or should have known about the dangerous nature of the dog.
In What Cases Would a Dog Bite Victim Be Partially Responsible for the Attack?
Certain situations allow for a dog owner’s responsibility to be reduced or even eliminated depending on the victim’s actions. Actions such as being unlawfully on the dog owner’s property or intentionally provoking the dog may place the majority of dog bite responsibility on the person bitten.
If the dog bite victim was a child, some exceptions may apply, depending on the child’s age. A child under the age of six may be considered incapable of reading “dangerous dog” signs and being in control of their own behaviors.
If a child younger than six is hurt by a dog, a jury may determine the parent was partially at fault for not supervising the child. Dog bite injury cases can be complicated, especially when children are involved, so the best thing to do is to seek the help of a Florida dog bite attorney.
What To Do If You’re Bitting By A Dog in Florida
As a victim of a dog bite in Florida, it is crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being immediately after the incident. Seeking medical attention promptly is of paramount importance, as dog bites can lead to serious infections and complications if not properly treated.
Documenting the incident by taking photographs of the injuries, the location where the attack occurred, and any identifying features of the dog and its owner may serve as valuable evidence should a legal case arise.
After ensuring your immediate medical needs are met, contacting law enforcement or animal control to report the incident is the next essential step. Authorities will investigate the circumstances surrounding the dog bite, which can help establish the chain of events leading up to the incident and aid in determining the liability of the dog owner.
In some cases, a dangerous dog investigation may be initiated, which could lead to stricter regulations for the dog’s owner.
Following the incident, it is advisable for victims to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, assess the potential merits of your case, and help pursue fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other relevant damages.
Time is of the essence, as Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is four years from the date of the incident. Delaying legal action may jeopardize your ability to seek compensation.
During the legal proceedings, it is essential to refrain from communicating with the dog owners insurance company directly. Insurance adjusters may attempt to obtain statements or signatures that could be used to diminish the value of your claim.
By involving an attorney, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that all communication with insurance companies is handled professionally and with your best interests in mind.
Moreover, Florida’s comparative negligence law should be noted. The state follows a pure comparative fault system, which means that if it is determined that the victim’s actions contributed to the dog bite incident in any way, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. It is, therefore, crucial to have skilled legal representation to counter any potential attempts to shift blame onto the injured dog bite victim.
How Can a Dog Bite Attorney Help Me?
If you, your child, or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you need to have a strong legal team on your side. An attorney for dog bite injuries has a deep understanding of Florida dog bite law and can help you find the best way to secure compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering from a dog bite. At Jiles Law, P.A., we can help you with every aspect of your dog bite claim. Give us a call at 863-356-0941 to learn your options.