If you suffered injuries due to a dog bite or animal attack, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Animal bites can cause serious physical and emotional damage. Unfortunately, this type of injury is all too common in Florida. The Insurance Information Institute ranks Florida as second only to California for the number and cost of dog bites per year.
After an animal attack, knowing the Florida dog bite laws and how they apply to your case can help. One of the best ways to understand these complex laws is to contact a Florida dog bite attorney.
Florida Dog Bite Statutes
The way that the Florida dog bite laws affect your claim depends on the circumstances of the bite or attack.
Florida uses a statutory strict liability standard for animal attacks. This means that the dog’s owner is liable for any damages the animal causes, regardless of whether the owner had fault in the attack.
The owner is liable even if the animal has no history of aggression, attacking, or biting. If the victim was negligent, however, the owner’s liability will potentially be reduced accordingly.
If the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the owner might not be liable for a bite injury. Likewise, the owner may not be liable for a bite that occurs when a dog is performing duties on behalf of law enforcement or the military.
What Is Your Florida Dog Bite Claim Worth?
If you sustain injuries in an animal bite or attack, you may be eligible to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical treatment and care,
- Lost wages and benefits,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Psychological trauma.
If you sustained any permanent scarring, disfigurement, or disability, your attorney will include the value of those losses in your claim. A Florida dog bite attorney can review the details of your case and provide you with the potential value of your settlement.
Injuries and Damages from Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, due to the thousands of deadly bacteria contained in canine saliva.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that dog bite risks include:
- MRSA, and
The nature of animal bite injuries also increases the likelihood of scarring. Many victims require surgery—or multiple surgeries—to repair the damage and address scarring.
The risk of a serious injury and the potentially high cost of treatment could lead to substantial economic losses. Having a dog bite lawyer on your side will increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve for both your economic and non-economic damages.
How a Lawyer Can Help You File a Florida Dog Bite Claim
To recover compensation for an animal attack injury, you can pursue a claim through the owner’s insurance. In fact, most dog bite claims can be resolved through the insurance company. Resolving the case through a settlement helps get you the money you need to pay your bills and get through this challenging time.
Your attorney will carefully document your claim and your physical, emotional, and financial damages and submit a demand to the insurance company. Your attorney will then negotiate with the insurance company to arrive at a fair settlement amount.
If your attorney can’t resolve your claim with the insurer, you have the option of filing a civil lawsuit to recover damages. However, time is of the essence due to the Florida dog bite laws, and waiting too long could affect your rights to compensation.
What Is the Florida Dog Bite Statute of Limitations?
The Florida statute of limitations gives you only four years to file legal action for a dog bite injury. If you don’t file a lawsuit within this period, you could lose your right to pursue justice and recover compensation. In some cases, exceptions to the statute may apply.
Talking to a lawyer as soon as possible after an attack can help you understand the Florida dog bite statute of limitations and how it applies to your case. Talking to an attorney can also help ensure that you don’t miss a critical deadline or lose your legal right to recover compensation.
Talk to a Florida Dog Bite Lawyer Today
The experienced personal injury lawyers of Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon understand how painful and traumatizing an animal attack can be. Our firm has helped injured victims since 1913, and we understand the importance of getting justice for you.
We can help you understand your options for pursuing a claim or civil lawsuit and explain how the dog bite laws in Florida could affect your case.
Call or contact us online now to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.