Dog Bites in Florida
Florida Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
According to a study from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and 800,000 of those bites result in medical care. These types of statistics can be unsettling, however, in the event that you ever become a victim of a dog bite, it is important to understand the legal implications of dog bite attacks and how to handle yourself if you ever sustain a dog bite.
How Dog Bites Work in Florida
The state of Florida applies strict liability in regards to dog bite cases. Under strict liability, a dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite, even if they were not previously aware or had reason to believe that his or her dog might bite another person. More importantly, Florida dog bite laws do not require the victim to prove that their injuries were a result of the owner’s negligence – an owner simply by owning a dog, holds them strictly liable for the acts of their dog.
There are two important exceptions to the strict liability rule, and they involve the victim’s actions, which may limit the dog owner’s liability. The dog owner’s liability may be limited by:
- Any provocation by the victim of the dog bite directed to the dog; and
- Any trespassing on private property by the victim of the dog bite.
If you were bitten or attacked by a dog while you were in either a public or private place where you had a right to be, and you did not provoke the dog in any such way, then you are most likely able to recover damages for your injuries and any other losses as a result of the attack.
What to Do If You Experience a Dog Bite Attack
- Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Every dog bite, whether severe or minor, should be taken seriously. Even with less significant injuries, you can never be certain that the dog did not have rabies or some time of bacterial infection. It is critical to seek emergency medical treatment immediately after a dog bite. Types of injuries that result from dog bite attacks include:
- Infections and diseases;
- Deep wounds and tearing of skin, tissue, and muscle;
- Broken bones;
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Emotional trauma; and
- Report the Dog Bite
Sometimes people are so traumatized after a dog bite, and victims may even have the owner of the dog sympathize with them and offer to pay for any medical expenses, that the victim does not even think to notify the police or animal control. This is a big mistake and should never be overlooked. It is important to always call and report any type of incident to local authorities, which will allow your particular incident to be well-documented.
- Photograph & Videotape Your Injuries
The last thing one might think after a dog bite is to photograph their injuries. However, keep in mind that you just became a victim of a dog bite and have suffered an injury, for which you may be able to pursue a settlement for. It may be difficult to realize the full extent of a victim’s injuries based on medical records alone. This is why it is very important to take photos and video recordings of your dog bite attack – photos immediately after the attack and progression photos throughout the healing process, in order to have well-documented evidence how the injury develops and/or heals.
- Gather Information
Before you leave the scene of the attack, make sure to collect important information from the dog owner such as their name, address, telephone number, and homeowners/renters insurance policy information. If any witnesses were present during the attack, make sure to also get their name, address, and telephone number. Make sure to give a detailed description to the reporting authority, and make sure to get a case number from them if one is available.
- Avoid Speaking to Any Insurance Company
Keep in mind that any settlement proceeds you receive for your dog bite attack, will all most likely come from the dog owner’s insurance company, and their goal is to settle your case for as little as possible. Insurance adjusters are skilled at extracting information from claimants and then later using it against them. They will often pressure claimants into doing a recorded statement, making them believe they have no other choice. This is absolutely NOT true. You are under no obligation to talk to the insurance company and you should avoid talking to them at all costs.
- Call a Personal Injury Attorney
This is where your personal injury attorneys at Borkovic Law Group step in to help with your dog bite case. It is very important you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a dog bite attack. Attorneys at Borkovic Law Group are experienced in fighting insurance companies to recover the maximum settlement for you. Experiencing something traumatic as a dog attack is terrifying in itself, you should not have to deal with the legal implications afterwards by yourself. Do not be alone in these extremely frustrating times, call Borkovic Law Group at (727)798-5291, and we will fight for you. For us, your injuries and your case are personal.
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