Dog bites are a frequent occurrences in Florida. Dog bites can cause serious injuries , possibly even life threatening. They can leave scars and cause permanent disfigurement, and can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering.
According to a recent survey by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite more than 4.2 million Americans every year which is nearly 2% of the population.
Under Florida laws, a dog owner is liable for damages suffered by any person bitten by the owner’s dog while:
- In a public place.
- Lawfully in a private place, and
- On the property of the owner of the dog as long as the victim is legally there.
The victim is only required to show he or she was bitten by the dog without provocation. If the victim’s injury was not caused by a dog bite but instead due to a dog jumping on the victim or scratching him or her, the victim can still bring a claim for negligence against the dog’s owner.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE HAS BEEN BITTEN BY A DOG IN MIAMI?
- ENSURE YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE GETS TIMELY TREATMENT.
Dog bites pose a serious risk for infections. If the bite is serious, call an ambulance or go to an emergency room to get treatment for the injuries sustained due to the dog bite.
IDENTITY THE DOG THAT BIT YOU.
You should try to identity the dog that bit you and locate its owner. The owner’s identity is necessary because the owner is the responsible party and the owner’s home insurance company usually pays for damages. However, more and more insurance companies now have dog bite exclusions in their policies.
REPORT THE ATTACK.
Report the dog bite to the local county animal control agency or the sheriff’s department and provide information about the incident. It is essential to provide details about the dog, its owner’s name and address, and the site of the incident.
- CAPTURE PHOTOGRAPHS.
If possible, take photographs of all visible injuries including wounds and lacerations. Capture photographs of torn or bloodied clothing if any. Take photographs of the dog and the site of the incident too.
- AVOID GIVING STATEMENTS TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DOG OWNER.
It is likely that before you speak to a Miami dog bite lawyer, representatives of the insurance company of the dog owner will try to get you to agree to settlement terms and conditions. Insurance companies are only interested in protecting themselves from claims. Avoid giving statements or signing any documents before consulting your dog bite attorney. Do not accept blame and also avoid blaming anyone.
- CONTACT A MIAMI DOG BITE LAWYER.
Handling a dog bite case can be a complex process and it is essential to seek representation from a skilled and experienced Miami dog bite lawyer without delay. Time is of the essence in dog bite cases too.
TYPES OF INJURIES SUSTAINED BY VICTIMS OF DOG BITES.
Most victims of dog bites sustain the following injuries which can lead to numerous doctor visits and piling up of medical bills :-
- Broken bones and Fractures.
- Puncture wounds.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Psychological trauma (PTSD). death.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR FILING A DOG BITE CASE IN FLORIDA.
There are specific time limits, restrictions and rules for filing a claim for a dog bite in Florida. A experienced dog bite lawyer in Miami ensures that you fully understand the Federal, State and Local laws that might apply to your case. Florida statute of Limitations for Dog bites is four years after the incident occurred. In general terms, residents of Florida have four years from the date of the biting to initiate a civil lawsuit.
If an accident has resulted in a wrongful death, the plaintiffs have only two years to file a suit in Florida.
STRICT LIABILITY FOR DOG BITES.
Under Florida dog bite statute, the victim of a dog bite is not required to prove negligence on the part of the owner of the dog to recover compensation. Florida is a strict liability state. This means that the owner of the dog is liable even if he or she was unaware of the dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior. The victim of the dog bite has to prove :-
- The dog was owned by the defendant.
- Attack was caused on public property or while victim was lawfully on private property.
- The victim was injured by an actual bite during the dog attack.
- The dog caused the injury.
Florida being a comparative negligence state, a victim’s total compensation can be reduced if the Court finds that the victim was partially to blame for the dog bite. Under Florida laws, if the victim provoked the dog or the victim’s negligent acts caused the attack, the dog owner’s liability may be reduced.
COMPENSATION FOR A VICTIM OF A DOG BITE IN MIAMI.
Our Miami dog bite lawyers seek to get maximum compensation for the victim of a dog bite and help the victim and his or her family explore other options and alternative ways to seek additional compensation for injuries sustained.
An experienced dog bite lawyer knows that any damages must include the cost of long term therapy and psychological counseling. What might seem like a minor dog bite can cause a victim to experience flashbacks, nightmares and even symptoms of PTSD.
The amount of compensation that a victim recovers also hinges on other factors such as severity of the injuries, circumstances surrounding the attack etc. In general, a victim may be entitled to recover compensation for :-
- Medical Bills.
- Lost Wages.
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering.
- Damages suffered due to mental anguish and emotional distress.
- Costs of future corrective surgeries.
- Damages suffered due to loss of enjoyment of life.
WHY HIRE KAIRE & HEFFERNAN ?
Our qualified and experienced attorneys possess in depth knowledge and experience to assist you and your family to navigate through complex dog bite laws. Our team relentlessly fights to secure maximum compensation through verdicts and settlements for victims of dog bites in Miami and all across Florida.
Our team of dog bite attorneys does the following for our clients;-
- Secure evidence.
- Establish the dog’s ownership.
- Track down witnesses.
- Report the incident to animal control authorities.
- Seek opinion of canine experts.
- Obtain an Incident report.
- Contact Insurance companies and establish a claim.
- Take your case to Court if the need arises.
CONTACT A MIAMI DOG BITE LAWYER.
If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog in Florida, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages. Call an experienced dog bite lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.