Florida residents love their dogs. With several parks and restaurants welcoming them, responsible owners follow leash laws and train their pets to obey. Sometimes, however, dogs are aggravated or get over-excited and bite someone. These bites can cause severe injuries and even death, especially when incidents involve small children.
If you or a family member suffers injuries inflicted by a canine, you have a right to compensation from its owner. Our trusted personal injury attorneys understand the physical and emotional pain you are feeling. An Inverness dog bite lawyer could help get your life back on track by fighting for the compensation you need. Reach out to our firm today to learn more about your legal options.
Little Leeway for Dog Owners
Many states let dog owners off the hook when a pet bites for the first time. The law is dubbed the ‘one-bite rule.’ However, Florida makes the owner responsible even if the animal has never acted aggressively in the past. Although most personal injuries require the plaintiff to prove the defendant is negligent, dog attacks are handled differently. Owners are almost always considered at fault.
For courts to find owners not responsible, generally, the plaintiff must be older than six and trespassing on private property. The state even holds dog owners accountable when their animal bites the plaintiff’s personal property, such as another dog, cat, or livestock. An adept dog bite attorney in Inverness could discuss a particular case to help individuals understand their rights and legal options.
Investigating a Dog Attack
To proceed with an injury claim, dog attacks must be reported to law enforcement. Officers will determine if the offending animal is up to date on vaccinations, including rabies and any needed boosters. Dogs overdue for rabies shots will be quarantined after an attack since a bite by a rabid animal can transmit the disease. Other information that will be used when an Inverness attorney contacts the pet owner’s insurance company or files a lawsuit seeking compensation for the dog bite includes:
- The location of the attack
- If the dog has acted aggressively in the past
- Whether the dog is properly licensed
- If there is any cell phone or surveillance camera footage of the attack
- What witnesses observed
It is imperative to collect as much evidence as possible because dog owners faced with liability are often uncooperative and may deny their dogs’ involvement.
Compensation for Dog Bites in Florida
Dog bites are often more than little nips. A large enough dog can kill a human, but almost any dog can puncture skin and muscles, transmit a disease such as rabies, break bones, disfigure a person’s face or body, cause nerve damage and blood loss, and cause emotional distress like PTSD.
These injuries can be compensated. This includes both the economic forms of loss with a monetary value, such as doctor bills or lost wages from time missed at work, and the non-economic damages, including disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and a loss of enjoyment of life. A compassionate Inverness attorney can listen to understand how a dog bite has affected a person’s life to ensure that the settlement demand adequately reflects their needs.
Time Limit on Filing Claims
According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 95.11, persons suffering dog bite attacks have four years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit for compensation from the dog’s owner. If the attack is fatal, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the person’s death.
Let an Inverness Dog Bite Attorney Handle the Legal Aspects of Your Claim
An unprovoked attack by an unleashed dog in a park or by your neighbor’s furry family member can be traumatizing and physically destructive. You could face blood transfusions, years of reconstructive surgery, loss of income, and financial instability. Our team could help.
Florida law is not forgiving when dogs bite people. You could be awarded compensation if an animal attacks you, but you need evidence and expertise to have the best chance of winning in court. Call an Inverness dog bite lawyer who can guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests.