A dog bite can be a traumatizing experience that can leave you with lasting physical and emotional scars.
In our more than 20 years of experience, Gordon & Doner has handled a variety of claims on behalf of dog bite victims. We understand the pain and suffering you are likely experiencing.
We are trusted personal injury lawyers in Stuart who are well-versed on Florida personal injury law and the statutes protecting the rights of dog bite victims. Our Stuart dog bite lawyers understand what it takes to obtain compensation for our clients and encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible after a dog bite so we can begin an immediate investigation into the incident and determine who should be held liable for your injuries. Your initial consultation with our firm is free and we do not charge you anything unless we obtain compensation for you.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started now.
Florida Dog Bite Statute
Florida Statutes 767.04 states that all dog owners can be held liable for any injuries or damages resulting from a dog bite. This means that a dog’s owner can be held strictly liable if his or her dog bites another person, regardless if the dog had acted viciously before or if the owner had any knowledge of this viciousness. The dog bite victim does not need to show that the owner was negligent or careless in the handling of the dog to obtain compensation.
Additionally, a dog’s owner is liable for damages suffered by an individual who is bitten by the dog in a public place or while lawfully in a private place, such as the dog owner’s property.
However, the owner’s liability can be reduced or eliminated if:
- The victim’s actions or negligence contributed to the dog biting him or her, including if the victim provoked the animal
- The victim was trespassing on the owner’s property at the time of the dog bite
- The owner posted a “bad dog” warning sign in a prominent and visible location, unless the victim is under the age of six
If it is found that your actions contributed to the incident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the bite. This is known as comparative fault.
Florida law also allows for a dog to be declared dangerous if it has:
- Aggressively bitten, attacked or inflicted severe injury on a human being in a public or private space
- Injured or killed a domestic animal more than once while off the owner’s property
- Chased or approached a person in a public space in a menacing way while unprovoked, which was investigated by law enforcement
A dog cannot be declared dangerous if:
- The victim was unlawfully on the property
- The victim was tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, its owner or the owner’s family member
Owners of dogs that have been declared dangerous must ensure the dog is enclosed and confined to the property in a way that prevents the animal from escaping or a young child from entering the area. The area must include signs at all entry points warning of the presence of a dangerous dog. If the dog is outside of the enclosure, it must be under the control of a competent person and muzzled and restrained by a chain or leash.
If a dangerous dog bites another person, causing severe injury or death, the owner can be charged with a felony and the animal may be put down.
Though Florida’s dog bite statute seems straightforward, there are many subtleties and details that must be considered when filing a dog bite claim. It is best to have a trusted dog bite lawyer in Stuart by your side to help explain Florida’s laws and how they apply to your case.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today to learn more.
Landlord Liability for Dog Bites
Although Florida law clearly identifies a dog’s owner as the primary individual responsible for a dog’s actions, there are certain situations in which others could be held liable as well.
Under the law of premises liability, Florida property owners have a general legal responsibility to keep their properties in a reasonably safe condition for invited guests. If a landlord or property owner fails to do this, he or she could be held liable for any resulting injuries.
This responsibility extends to dangerous animals on the property. If a landlord is aware of a dangerous dog on the property, he or she could be held liable if that dog causes harm to another individual.
This is especially true if the landlord failed to evict a tenant or ask for the removal of a dog that has threatened other tenants or failed to enforce the property’s rules prohibiting certain breeds of dogs.
However, these claims can be difficult as you will have to prove that the landlord was aware of the dangerous animal on the property and failed to take the proper actions to remove it.
Our Stuart dog bite attorneys will review the circumstances of your dog bite to determine all parties who could be held liable for your injuries. We are well-versed in all areas of personal injury law in Florida and can help build an argument for compensation.
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What is the Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Claim?
Statutes of limitations are laws outlining how long an individual has to file a lawsuit seeking compensation. If you miss this deadline, you will lose your opportunity to file a dog bite lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.
In Florida, dog bite lawsuits fall under Florida Statutes 95.11, which states that cases founded on statutory liability or negligence must be filed within four years of the date of the injury.
Although four years may seem like a long time, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. The time will pass quickly when you are negotiating with the insurance company and fighting for the compensation you deserve. The sooner you contact our Stuart dog bite lawyers, the sooner we can get to work building your case, fighting for your interests and helping make sure your case is filed on time.
Do not wait. Call 1 (855) 722-2552 today.
What Compensation Can I Recover from a Dog Bite Claim?
Like most personal injury lawsuits, individuals filing a dog bite lawsuit have the right to obtain compensation for all of their injuries resulting from the dog bite. Compensation is awarded in these types of cases to attempt to make the individual whole again for the damages and losses he or she has experienced because of his or her injury.
This compensation can include:
Because dog bites can be especially vicious and can result in serious injuries, victims of dog bites may be entitled to obtain compensation for all medical bills associated with their injuries. This can include:
- Doctors’ visits
- Hospital stays
- Medical equipment
- Reconstructive surgery
- Plastic surgery to correct scarring and disfigurement
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
Our dog bite attorneys in Stuart have decades of experience making claims for compensation for medical bills and will be able to help you obtain the medical documents and other evidence necessary to make a strong case.
In some cases, a severe injury may prevent the injury victim from being able to work for a period of time, or sometimes permanently. If your injury caused you to miss time from work, our Stuart dog bite lawyers will work with you to determine the number of days you missed and the payment you should have received during that time.
Similarly, if your injuries are so severe that they prevent you from returning to the same job you held previously or any other type of work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. This type of compensation will take into account the income you should have earned throughout your lifetime and will attempt to help repay you for all that you will lose because your injury prevents you from working.
The powerful strength, piercing teeth and sharp claws of a dog can cause serious injuries that could impact your life forever. While you should be able to obtain compensation for the medical bills and other financial costs associated with your injuries, you may also be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced during and after the attack.
Although these noneconomic damages are not easily measured, our attorneys will work diligently to gather the evidence needed to demonstrate the level of pain you are experiencing and how this pain has impacted your life in a negative way.
Similar to physical pain, emotional suffering is a common injury that victims may be entitled to compensation for. Dog bites can often be traumatic events that can cause you to experience nightmares, limited sleep and other emotional effects.
Our attorneys will work to help you demonstrate the emotional effects the attack and your injuries have had on your life.
If the at-fault party was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence and was aware that his or her wrongdoing could cause harm to another individual, it may be possible for the injury victim to obtain punitive damages from a dog bite lawsuit.
These damages, however, are rarely awarded as they are reserved for cases involving extreme or conscious disregard for the life and safety of others.
Rather than intended to make the injury victim whole again like other types of compensation, punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party in an attempt to prevent him or her or others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Punitive damages cannot exceed $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 now to find out the compensation you may be entitled.
Who Pays for Damages from a Dog Bite?
Many serious dog bites in Florida involve the dog of a friend, family member or neighbor. Because of this, many are reluctant to file a claim for compensation against someone they know.
However, it is important to know, that in many cases, you are filing a claim against the individual’s insurance rather than the person. Because of this, the insurance company is usually the one to pay for the damages.
Dog bite claims are typically paid by:
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Renter’s insurance
- Condominium owner’s insurance
- Landlord’s insurance
- Automobile insurance
If the dog’s owner has insurance with a high enough limit to cover your needs, the owner likely will not pay anything toward your compensation.
However, if the owner is not covered by insurance, if the insurance is not enough to cover your injuries or if the individual intentionally caused you harm, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault individual, seeking compensation directly from him or her.
It is important that you discuss your claim with a trusted Stuart dog bite lawyer who can explain all of the details of filing a case. We will discuss all options for recovering the compensation you deserve.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Having represented personal injury victims in the Stuart and surrounding South Florida area for several decades, our Stuart dog bite lawyers have handled many dog bites and have seen firsthand the types of injuries these victims often face.
Some of the most common injuries resulting from dog bites include:
- Broken bones
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Muscle or tissue injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Nerve damage
- Infections or viruses
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
We understand the pain and suffering you are likely experiencing, and we are committed to helping you fight for the maximum compensation you need to recover from your injuries and move on with your life.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog bite or attack, there are several steps you should take after the incident to help ensure your injuries are taken care of and your legal rights are protected.
After a dog bite, you should:
- Clean the wound and get medical help immediately
- Call 911
- Obtain the owner’s contact information, including name, email address, phone number, address and insurance information
- Obtain the names and contact information for witnesses
- If possible, take photographs of the animal, the location where the incident happened and your injuries
- Preserve as much evidence from the event as possible
- Report the incident to the proper authorities, including the Animal Services Unit of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office
- Contact our trusted Stuart dog bite attorneys
Taking these important steps can help ensure that we have the information and evidence needed to build a strong claim on your behalf.
Why Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer in Stuart?
Having a trusted Stuart dog bite lawyer by your side after a dog bite is important to helping ensure your right to compensation is protected. Insurance companies and lawyers for the at-fault party will fight to do everything they can to limit the compensation you recover from your claim. Our attorneys will do everything we can to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
In that process, our team will:
- Obtain a copy of the police report or Animal Services Unit report
- Gather your medical records and consult with medical experts to demonstrate the severity of your injuries
- Check for incident reports on the location of the dog bite for any previous complaints about the dog or reports of a bite
- Determine all parties that could be held liable for your injuries
- Research the animal’s history and vaccination reports
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
- Advise you of all of your legal options
You can trust that our attorneys will have your best interests in mind in everything we do. Many of our lawyers are members of the American Justice Association, which is committed to promoting a fair and effective justice system. We have also been recognized by our peers for our many accomplishments, having been named as Florida Super Lawyers and accepted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Schedule a Free Consultation with our Stuart Dog Bite Lawyers
At Gordon & Doner, we have seen firsthand the serious injuries that can result from dog bites and we are committed to helping our clients fight for the compensation they deserve.
To do this, our Stuart dog bite lawyers offer free, no obligation consultations to those who have been injured by a dog bite or dog attack. We will review the details of your injuries and help determine if you have a legal case. We will advise you of all of your legal options and help you determine the option that is in your best interests.
We also provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge any upfront costs or legal fees for our services. We only charge you if we recover compensation for you.
Get started today. Call 1 (855) 722-2552 for a free consultation.