Many Floridians think that dog bites only come from notorious breeds like pit bulls and rottweilers. However, many animal injuries may come from breeds such as Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and even poodles. They can also come from exotic pets, such as snakes, rare lizards, and primates. If a dog bite or other animal has injured you, a Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks lawyer at the Iscoe Law Firm can help you receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any scarring or disfigurement you might face.
Florida’s Dog Bite Laws
Under Florida law, you need to prove one of the following to obtain compensation after a dog bite or animal attack:
Statutory Strict Liability
Florida Statute section 767.04 states that dog owners are liable if their animal bites and injures someone. Under this section, the victim doesn’t need to prove that the dog was dangerous. However, the claimant can’t have caused or contributed to their injuries in any way.
You can’t successfully claim compensation under this law if you:
- Were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when your injuries occurred
- Were bitten and hurt by a military or police dog performing its duty
- Encountered a dog that was vicious and only caused property damage
To find out if your specific case is eligible for compensation, consult a Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks attorney as soon as possible after you are injured. At the Iscoe Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in Florida dog bite laws and will explain exactly where your case stands.
If statutory strict liability doesn’t work in your case, another option is to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent. This involves establishing that the dog owner didn’t act reasonably in that specific situation.
You or your Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks lawyer would have to prove that:
- Any reasonable dog owner would have acted in a different and specific way
- The dog’s owner didn’t act in a reasonable way
- The dog owner’s failure to act reasonably resulted in your bite and injuries
On your own, you may find these points difficult or even impossible to prove. However, they are routine for a seasoned Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks attorney. They can rely on case precedents, specialty literature, and expert witnesses to help establish your claim.
Negligence Per Se
Under this strategy, you or your attorney must prove that the dog owner violated Florida dog bite laws and related statutes. A typical example of negligence per se is dog owners who walk their pets without a leash. Letting the animal roam unsupervised on the streets also constitutes negligence per se. However, this aspect of Florida dog bite laws is only relevant if the injuries occur during the act of negligence. For instance, your dog bite happened while a dog was off-leash or was let loose to roam the streets.
Sadly, in some instances, dog owners deliberately cause bites and injuries. For whatever reason, they encourage their animal to attack another person. In these cases, obtaining compensation is often easier. However, you will still need evidence and witnesses to prove your case. An experienced Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks attorney can help you obtain and present this evidence.
Deadline for Filing a Florida Dog Bite Compensation Claim
No matter which of the above categories your case fits into, you have a four-year deadline to submit a claim for compensation. The clock begins ticking on the day of the dog’s bite or attack. However, certain exceptions might apply to cases involving minors or those resulting in disability. The clock may not begin ticking until the child becomes of age or the victim recovers from their disability. It’s essential to discuss this deadline, known as the statute of limitations, with your Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks lawyer.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Attack
Dog bites and attacks are serious and may result in homeowner liabilities into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. To strengthen any liability claim you might pursue because of your injuries, you need to take specific steps:
- Immediately call for medical care or go straight to the emergency room. The sooner you get medical care, the better. You may need to get started on antibiotics to avoid infection. Stitches or even surgery might be necessary to reduce any scarring or disfigurement that might result.
- Call the police, even if you feel the bite isn’t major– rabid, or other sick dogs can cause additional concerns even with a minor bite. Law enforcement will get animal control involved.
- Avoid any hostile behaviors. Yell for help if you need to. However, don’t be aggressive toward the pet’s owner, as this could trigger unwarranted violence and make the situation worse.
- Make sure to record the dog owner’s name, address, and contact information. Obtaining the pet owner’s information if away from home is imperative to hold them liable for your injuries.
- Contact an experienced Palm Beach County dog bites and animal attacks attorney who can guide you through the civil claim process and answer any questions you have about your legal rights and options.
- Unless the dog’s owner is uninsured, renters’ and homeowners’ insurance policies cover premises liability claims like dog bites. This is typically why insurance companies won’t grant some policies if the dog breed is known for being highly aggressive.
Call a Seasoned Palm Beach County Dog Bites and Animal Attacks Lawyer Today
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they are still animals with instincts. This is a fact that many dog owners seem to forget quickly. At the Iscoe Law Firm, our Palm Beach County Dog bites and animal attacks attorneys understand the devastation, trauma, fear, and serious injuries that can come from a dog bite or animal attack. They also know the scarring and disfigurement that may impact you for the rest of your life and the complications your injuries might pose. We fight for justice and compensation for you. To schedule your no-obligation consultation, call 800 800-6500 today. Contact us online or reach out any time- day or night- as we are available to take your call 24/7 every day of the year.