Every year thousands of dog bites happen in Florida. They can cause severe damage by hurting you or your property.
This is why you may be wondering about a dog bite lawsuit in Florida for compensation. If so, you don’t have to look any further.
Let’s look at everything there is to know about a dog bite lawsuit in Florida.
Dog Bite Laws In Florida
The top thing you need to know about a dog bite personal injury in Florida is that you can hold the dog owner liable. Here is all you must know about dog bite laws in this state:
Liability For A Dog Bite Claim In Florida
You can hold a dog owner liable in Florida for personal injuries by their pet through criminal and civil charges. The state holds people strictly liable. This means you can start a dog bite lawsuit against an owner who didn’t know about the aggressive behavior of their pet.
For example, a person may take a new dog for a walk without knowing about the previous history of the pet. You can start a dog bite lawsuit against such an owner to seek compensation for your injuries.
One of the important dog bite laws in Florida is that you don’t have to prove the dog owner was negligent. This makes it easier to win a dog bite lawsuit in Florida with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
The only thing you will have to prove is that the relevant dog bit you. You must also be in a lawfully public or private place when the incident occurs.
Exceptions To The Law
Dog bite laws in Florida intend to protect a victim’s right when the incident is not their fault. However, there are some exceptions that can reduce the value of your claim or eliminate your dog bite lawsuit completely.
1. You Were On The Owner’s Property Illegally
One of the exceptions to dog bite laws in Florida is that you were on the dog owner’s property unlawfully. Many people keep dogs to protect their properties. If you enter someone’s place without permission and their pet bites you, it may not be possible to sue for dog bite injuries.
2. You Or Your Loved One Provoked The Dog
You also cannot win a dog bite lawsuit if you were the one who provoked the animal. If you were in a park with your kid, the child may irritate or provoke the animal.
In such cases, the worth of your dog bite personal injury case will be little to none.
Remember that you can still file a claim against the dog owner. However, the value of your claim will be reduced by the percentage of your fault in the incident.
For example, if the incident happened because of 75% of your fault and 25% of the dog owner’s negligence, your claim will be reduced by 75%.
3. The Dog Was Protecting Someone
Another exception to dog bite laws in Florida is that the dog was protecting its owner or someone in the vicinity. Animals have good sense and they can perceive threats more easily than a human.
If you intend to harm the dog owner or someone in the vicinity of the pet, they may attack you. Filing a dog bite lawsuit in such a case can be tricky.
This is why you will have to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer in Florida.
4. The Dog Owner Placed Warning Disclaimers
Even if you were at someone’s property lawfully, it can be difficult to start a dog bite lawsuit against their pet if disclaimers were placed. For instance, the owner may have put a danger warning sign before the site their dog was present.
They may have also set other precautions to protect people from their dogs. In such cases, you can still initiate a dog bite lawsuit against the dog owner if the circumstances of your personal injury are a bit different.
For instance, you may not have entered the dog’s space where the warning signs were placed. Instead, the dog came into the area that was told was safe for you to be in.
Such a dog bite lawsuit is difficult to win because you will have to prove the incident with solid evidence. That is why you can sue for dog bite injuries using an attorney to enhance your winning chances.
The only exception to warnings is when a child under six enters a dangerous area. In such cases, strict liability is ensured.
How To Sue For Dog Bite In Florida?
You can sue for dog bite injuries in Florida by taking some immediate steps. Let’s look at them to help you understand better:
1. Contact The Police Immediately After The Incident
The top thing you must do to start a dog bite lawsuit in Florida is contact the police immediately. This will ensure an official complaint record against the dog owner.
Many people fail to do this and the defendant’s lawyer use this error to make their case solid. When you file a police report, authorities will take your incident into account and make a report.
They will also take witness statements from people who were present in the vicinity and saw the attack. These witness accounts will be helpful later because your lawyers can meet the individuals for investigation.
Someone may have also made a video that can help you win your dog bite lawsuit easily. This is because your lawyer can submit the video in court to prove that the incident was not your fault.
The complaint will also prove later that you took immediate legal action officially. This is a better alternative than taking matters into your own hands.
If you try to deal with the incident by just talking to the dog owner, it can backfire if you seek legal action. Even the defense may ask you in court why you didn’t file a report immediately if it wasn’t your fault.
2. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
It is critical to seek medical care right away if you are bitten by a dog when you are considering filing a dog bite lawsuit.
Getting timely medical treatment creates a record of your injuries, which will be crucial evidence if your case goes to trial.
The medical report will contain detailed documentation of:
- The type of wounds
- Their depth and severity
- What treatment was necessary
- How the injury healed over time
Photographs of the fresh wounds can also help support your case later. Seeing a doctor quickly can also help mitigate long-term impacts.
For example, wounds that are not properly cleaned have a higher risk of infection, and delays may complicate the healing process.
Being negligent in promptly caring for dog bites can call into question the true severity and effects of the incident.
The defense may argue that the wounds and trauma must not have been significant if you did not bother to see a physician.
Getting medical help not only assists recovery, but it indicates clearly that the attack had a real impact worthy of compensation.
3. Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
Pursuing compensation after a dog attack can be extremely complicated without legal expertise to support your case.
Florida statute outlines rules around liability, negligence, caps on damages, and filing deadlines that people do not fully grasp.
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands state laws and requirements for evidence needed to build a compelling argument for all damages suffered.
They can also realistically assess what settlement value to demand based on factors such as:
- The permanence of disfigurement, imprint, or scar caused by the bite
- Loss of wages due to the recovery process
- Damage to property if the dog caused any
Legal counsel strategically negotiates from a position of knowledge, and fights for full and fair restitution. They are also prepared to take the case to trial if offers fall short.
Dog bite injuries and trauma often warrant significant treatment, lost wages, and lasting impacts like PTSD.
Allowing a qualified attorney to leverage their litigation skills and resources levels the playing field against tough defense tactics.
Their expertise will offer you the greatest possibility of a favorable outcome and maximum recovery from events like vicious dog bites.
4. Let Them Handle Your Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim
Let your personal injury lawyer handle your dog bite lawsuit without any interference from your side. For example, you must make them the point of contact for the insurance adjuster.
Never talk to insurance companies yourself, especially without the absence of a lawyer. They may use that meeting to help disclose something that can harm your claim or create suspicion about your injuries.
A lawyer will file paperwork for your claim to ensure you are not overwhelmed by the legal process. They will also prepare you for depositions and court meetings to ensure you don’t harm your claim.
There are many tactics that the defense may use to make you doubt your own claim. Saying a wrong thing in front of the official authorities can reduce the value of your compensation significantly.
This is regardless of whether the fault was yours or not. So always let your personal injury lawyer take charge when handling the legal aspects of your case.
Avoid talking to witnesses or the dog owner on your own when you have a personal injury lawyer to do that.
Dog Bite Lawsuit For Attacks On Children
You can sue for dog bite injuries on children under different categories. These bites tend to be more severe when the victim is a kid. A child may also lose more blood on the incident site.
In many cases, children also lose their lives due to dog bites in Florida. As a parent, you can file a personal injury claim against the pet owner.
If your kid passes away due to the bite, you can also file a wrongful death claim against the pet owner. You can file these different dog bite lawsuits for adults too.
However, liability is most strictly upheld when children suffer injuries. There are also little to no exceptions for dog bite attacks on kids regardless of warning signs.
When Should You Sue For Dog Bite Injuries In Florida
You have the right to sue for dog bite injuries when you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog. It is essential to ensure your case does fall into the exceptions mentioned earlier.
There are also other things you must consider during a dog bite incident. For instance, filing a case against stray dogs is not a viable option because there is no specific party you can hold accountable.
However, you can initiate a dog bite lawsuit if someone’s pet hurts you. You can also start a claim if you get injured by a dog in a pet shop.
In pet shops, you must be careful not to provoke animals or go near dangerous ones. If you go near a dog that wildly hurts you, the only way you can file a claim is if there are no warning signs around.
The shop manager may also have not told you which animals are dangerous to even go near.
How Much Money Can You Get From A Dog Bite In Florida?
You can get a few thousand dollars to over $100,000 for dog bites in Florida. The exact dog bite lawsuit settlement amount will vary. It depends on the severity of your injuries, present medical expenses, and future expenses to recover from the injury.
What Is The One Bite Dog Rule In Florida?
The one-bite rule states that an owner is liable only if their dog has bitten someone else before another victim. This rule does not apply to Florida because of its strict liability stance. So whether the dog has hurt anyone before or not will not factor in your dog bite lawsuit.
Do Doctors Report Dog Bites In Florida?
Doctors in Florida must report the incident to the local county office or health office. Dog bites can lead to the spread of different diseases especially if the animal is rabid. An official report by a doctor helps many victims prove that the dog was already dangerous.
How Long After A Dog Bite Can You Sue In Florida?
Florida’s new tort rules state that personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years. This means from the day of your incident to two years after the incident, you can start a dog bite lawsuit. Once this time is up, you cannot legally seek compensation from the pet owner.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer For A Dog Bite In Florida
This is everything you need to know about a dog bite lawsuit in Florida. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is essential for many cases.
Navigating dog bite laws can be difficult can be difficult because you may not know how to sue for dog bite injuries. An attorney can make this easier.
So be sure to phone us if you have recently suffered a dog bite personal injury.