Keeping dogs as pets is commonplace throughout Florida. These animals act as companions, family members, and even guard dogs. While most interactions with dogs in public are positive, the unfortunate reality is that dog attacks can happen at any time.
Following a dog attack, many victims require emergency medical care to address their wounds. This could require an ambulance ride, hospital stays, and even surgical procedures. The financial costs that come with these injuries can add up fast.
If you suffer injuries from a dog bite, Florida law could allow you to recover monetary compensation from the animal’s owner. Success is never guaranteed with these claims, but a Florida dog bite lawyer can take on your case so you can focus on your recovery. Call (800) 816-0755 to schedule a free consultation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Dog Attacks: Facts You Should Know
Dog attacks are common throughout the country, and they can be very dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of people who are bitten by a dog need medical attention for their injuries.
Many people point to the breed of a dog when determining if an animal is aggressive or not. While it is true that some people consider certain dog breeds to be more likely to cause fatal injuries than others, the reality is that any dog could cause serious injuries.
When someone else’s dog bites you, you should not have to pay for the consequences out of your own pocket.
Dog Bite Injuries
The injuries that are common with dog bites are potentially serious, no matter the size of the dog. While larger dogs might have the ability to cause devastating injuries, even small dog bites have the potential to wreak havoc through nerve damage or facial scarring. Some of the common injuries that come with a dog bite attack include:
- Nerve damage
- Eye injuries
- Broken bones
If you have suffered any of these injuries due to a dog bite, you could have a viable claim for a monetary award against the owner of the animal. Prevailing on these claims can be challenging, especially when the owner is not immediately identified. A Florida dog bite lawyer could help you build a winning claim for compensation based on these injuries. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite
The stress and confusion can be overwhelming following a dog bite. This is especially true given that these bites can occur when you least expect it. Despite the challenges that can come with a dog bite, the steps you take following an attack can weigh heavily on your future personal injury claim. The following steps can help you protect your legal rights and obtain the medical care that you need to heal:
- Seek medical care: Your first priority should be your health. Following a dog bite injury, seek medical care right away. If possible, first wash the bite area with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. By seeking medical care, you not only improve your chances of a full recovery, but you also document your injuries for any future legal claims.
- Call animal control: It is important that you let the authorities know about the dog attack. Not only should animal control work to get the dog off the streets, but their efforts could also help to identify the owner of the dog that bit you.
- Collect evidence: The more evidence you collect at the scene of the attack, the better your chances of recovering damages against the owner. This could include photographs of your wounds. It is especially important to take down the contact information of any witnesses that were present for the attack.
- Contact a law firm: You do not have to put your injury claim at risk by attempting to resolve it on your own. Let a dog bite attorney help you obtain a favorable outcome in your dog bite case.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
There are two legal theories that states use to determine liability for a dog attack. The first theory is known as negligence. This is the standard that most injury claims follow. The second legal theory is known as strict liability. This standard is much more favorable to the victims of a dog bite. Under Florida Statutes §767.04, both of these standards can apply, depending on the circumstances.
For the most part, Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means that the plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant’s negligence is responsible for the injuries they have suffered. Instead, a plaintiff needs only to show that the defendant owned the dog that bit them, and that the bite injured them. The plaintiff must also show that the bite occurred in public or a private place where they were allowed to be. In other words, the strict liability standard does not apply to trespassers.
The strict liability standard only applies to dog bites. Other injuries caused by a dog scratching or knocking a person over are not covered by the statute. While that means strict liability is not available, a plaintiff might still be able to pursue these claims under a negligence standard. To prevail, they would have to show the owner knew or should have known the dog was aggressive but failed to take the steps needed to avoid the injury.
You Could Recover Monetary Compensation Following a Florida Dog Attack
No matter which legal standard you pursue, you could be entitled to financial compensation following a dog attack. A Florida dog bite lawyer can carefully evaluate your case and advise you on the legal standard that is likely to apply. What’s more, your attorney can guide you through every step of the claims process. From investigating the dog attack to filing a lawsuit, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to help. To get started, call (800) 816-0755 to schedule a free consultation right away.