Approximately 63% of households across the United States own a pet. Several dog breeds possess a propensity to bite, resulting in millions of dog bites every year. While some dog bites cause little to no injury, severe dog bites require medical attention.
A severe dog bite may cost you substantial medical expenses, lead to trauma, and have permanent, long-lasting effects. Contact a Florida dog bite injury attorney to review your case and determine the potential compensation you may receive for your dog bite case.
Liability in a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Liability, or responsibility for an accident, is required in all personal injury lawsuits. Once liability is determined, the law holds the liable individual responsible for medical costs associated with the injury, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Florida is a strict liability state as related to dog bites. Therefore, the law finds dog owners responsible for injuries their dog causes, even if they were not aware of their dog’s aggressive nature.
A dog owner may be liable for injuries if you can prove that the dog bit you and you were in a public place or lawfully on private property. Outside these circumstances, an injured party may still bring a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner. However, in those circumstances, the injured party must prove negligence to recover.
Dangerous Dog Statute
Florida dog bite laws include a dangerous dog statute. If Florida laws declare a dog dangerous, the owner must take specific precautions and abide by certain rules to protect the public from their dog. If they do not strictly follow these rules, the owner may be held criminally liable for injuries that the dog causes.
Examples of rules required of dangerous-dog owners include:
- Keeping the dog enclosed in a secure location,
- Registering the dog with local authorities, and
- Ensuring that the dog wears a harness and muzzle if it leaves the premises.
If a registered dangerous dog caused your injuries, you might be entitled to a dog bite settlement. Contact a personal injury attorney in Florida to discuss your potential dog bite lawsuit payout.
Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts
Suffering a dog bite entitles you to compensation. Unfortunately, there is no average dog bite injury settlement amount. Stronger presentation of evidence in support of your injuries results in higher compensation for your injuries.
Entrusting a personal injury attorney’s legal skills increases your ability to receive a larger dog bite lawsuit payout.
While there is no average Florida dog bite settlement amount you may receive from your injury, typical recoverable damages in a dog bite settlement payout may include:
- Medical expenses,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of income,
- Property damage, and
- Punitive damages.
These damages relate to the average money received from a dog bite case if they stem from the injury you suffered from the dog bite.
Medical expenses stemming from the dog bite you suffered include multiple costs such as bills for doctor visits, emergency room visits and transportation, medication, physical therapy, and psychological treatment due to trauma from the attack.
Additional factors may increase your average dog bite injury compensatory amounts. For example, imagine the dog attack aggravated a pre-existing knee injury. The dog owner’s liability extends to aggravated knee injury.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages associated with a dog bite injury may be difficult to quantify. Pain and suffering damages include mental and emotional suffering. The after-effects of a dog attack vary from person to person.
Typically, pain and suffering damages vary from one to four times the amount of medical damages awarded. Therefore, providing support for pain and suffering damages increases your average dog bite settlement. For example, if an individual suffers permanent disfigurement due to the dog bite, the pain and suffering damages increase.
Loss of Income
If your dog bite results in lost wages due to your inability to work, these losses are also recoverable in dog bite settlements. Additionally, if the dog bite causes a failure to perform your job in the future, this is also a part of income loss. For example, if a dog bite results in a loss of fingers, you may be unable to work your job in construction any longer.
Punitive damages are damages imposed to punish the defendant. A jury awards punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s conduct is outrageous as a means to deter similar future behavior. Punitive damages are available only in rare cases.
Florida dog bite laws are complex. Determining the level of liability placed on the owner for your injuries requires a qualified personal injury attorney’s expertise. Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon comprises a group of experienced personal injury attorneys working to recover all the money you are entitled to in your dog bite lawsuit.
For over 100 years, the attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon have worked tirelessly to serve clients’ needs in all areas of Pensacola.