Florida Dog Bite Lawyer
Victims of dog bites and animal attacks in the state of Florida are not without remedies. Relying on legal doctrines of negligence and intentional tort, Florida law provides a means for dog bite and attack victims to recover compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, emotional trauma. To obtain compensation, bite victims will benefit greatly from retaining the services of an experienced and dedicated Florida dog bite lawyer. We have offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.
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Florida is a Strict Liability State When It Comes to Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
Florida law is clear when it comes to dog bites and animal attacks. A dog owner is responsible when the dog bites any person in a public place. Not only that, but a dog owner is liable even when the bite occurs in a private place so long as the bite victim is present lawfully, including while on the property of the dog owner. This liability covers any damages suffered by the bitten person. It is a strong stance that is further magnified by the statute’s treatment of the issue of prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. In Florida, liability is imposed regardless of previous displays of viciousness by the dog in question, and regardless of the owner’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, of the dog’s viciousness.
In Matters of Dog Bites & Animal Attacks, Florida is a Comparative Negligence State
While Florida is tough on the owners of dogs that bite, it is not sympathetic to any ill-advised contributing behaviors of dog bite victims. Under Florida law, statutes 767.04, damage laws will be reduced in proportion to any negligence on the part of victim that was reasonably connected to the biting incident. In layman’s terms, negligence reflects a failure to exercise due caution or care. In more legal terms, it can be said that one is negligent when failing to conduct him or herself as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances at issue. Florida’s position concerning negligence during biting incidents reflects the fact that Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. The doctrine of pure comparative negligence is about balance and allocating liability in accordance with individual responsibility. For example, if an individual taunts a dog, he or she may be deemed partially liable, thereby reducing the amount of compensation he or she will be awarded.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of a Dog Bite or Animal Attack in Florida
Dog bites and animal attacks are a misreported problem. Every year in the U.S., 800,000 dog bite victims require medical attention. Thousands more go untreated. Worst of all, children, the elderly, and home care service providers are at the greatest risk of being bitten. Children aged five to nine years old are the most risk for nonfatal dog attacks. And, those with dogs in the home are at much greater risk of being bitten than those without dogs. When you enter a home with a dog that is unfamiliar to you, experts recommend that you stand tall like a tree and let the dog approach you if it wants to. Do not make eye contact with the dog if you do not want it to approach you, and do not panic or make loud noises. While the media all too often leads the public to believe that certain breeds of dog are more likely to bite than others, this claim is backed by very little scientific proof. Whether a dog is small, medium, large, bred for guarding, bred for retrieving, or bred to fit in a purse, it can inflict a serious wound and cause damaging and permanent negative emotions about dogs for young children. However, certain breeds are more likely to cause a fatality than others due to their size and aggression. For example, the majority of fatal dog attacks are caused by pit bulls, followed by rottweilers. If a loved one was killed by a dog, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the dog.
One in Five Dog Bites Become Infected
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. each year, and roughly one in five of those becomes infected. That means that almost a million dog bites become infected annually. You can become infected with the following bacteria and viruses from dog bites:
- Rabies virus is rare, but usually fatal if untreated or treated too late;
- Capnocytophaga are bacteria that live within dogs and cats and do not affect most people. Those who have a weak immune system and have been bitten by a dog are most at risk;
- 50 percent of infected dog bite wounds are infected with pasteurella bacteria, which causes a red, painful, swelling. Those with weak immune systems are most at risk, and can develop symptoms such as difficulty moving, swollen glands, and swollen joints.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a staph infection that is resistant to many types of antibiotics. It can cause infections of the skin, urinary tract, and lungs. It can be fatal if spread to the blood or lungs; and
- Tetanus, a toxin produced by bacteria, causes rigid paralysis and is a threat when bite wounds are very deep.
Florida Dog Bite Statistics
Each year, thousands of Floridians are bitten or attacked by dogs. When the victim is older than 15, over half of the bites occurred when the victim broke up a dog fight. When young children were bitten (under the age of six) 39 percent of the bite causes were not known, meaning that they occurred out of the presence of an adult. According to the Florida Health Department, 86 percent of dog bites involved children under six years old. Whether you are bitten by another person’s dog while attempting to break up a dog fight, if you are bitten in a home where a dog lives, or you are bitten while walking down the street, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to reclaim the damages that were caused to you.
Contact Our Florida Dog Bite Lawyers
If you are a bitten by a dog, first get medical treatment for any wounds. Next, contact a skilled and dedicated Florida dog bite and animal attack lawyer today. Florida’s strict liability statute protects dog bite and animal attack victims. You can recover compensation for the injuries you have suffered. The Pendas Law Firm – one of Florida’s most prominent in the area of personal injury – provides precisely the highly effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle dog bite and animal attack related personal injury claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you in this time of need. The Pendas Law Firm has offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, and is dedicated to serving the community with its highly effective and experienced team of lawyers. Contact our Florida dog bite lawyers today for help and information.