Despite being hailed as man’s best friend, dogs are capable of inflicting wounds that cause severe, disfiguring and even fatal injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, Florida law allows you to seek compensation, but your chances of recovering the full amount you deserve improves dramatically when you retain an experienced attorney. At Faught & Faught, P.A., we have the skill, knowledge and determination to pursue the best possible results.
Depending on the size, breed and temperament of a dog, canine teeth and claws can do extensive damage, especially when the victim is a small child. Common injuries include:
Dogs can also cause injury by knocking an individual, especially an elderly person or a small child, to the ground, resulting in broken hips, wrists, spinal injuries and even concussions. In the worst case, an attack can be fatal.
Many states allow a dog one free bite before the owner can be held liable for an injury. But in Florida, dog owners are generally held strictly liable for any bite, as long as the attack happens on public property or private property where the victim had a right to be and the victim did not provoke the dog. However, strict liability does not apply if the victim is at least six years of age and the owner has posted a “bad dog” sign on the property. In such a case, the victim must show that the owner’s negligence enabled the dog to bite the victim.
Florida law regulates ownership of a dog that has been determined to be vicious or likely to bite. In most cases, the owner of the dog is required to keep the dog in a secure enclosure and to muzzle the dog when out in public. In extreme cases, the law gives authorities the power to destroy a dangerous dog. If the owner of a dangerous dog fails to take the required safety measures and the dog attacks without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor. Further, violating the statute can be evidence of negligence per se for purposes of the victim’s personal injury claim against the owner.
Florida’ statute of limitations gives a dog bite victim four years to bring an action to recover damages. However, you should assert your rights immediately by contacting an experienced dog bite attorney. Many dog owners are insured through their homeowner’s policy while others are not. Even with insurance, coverage limits may be inadequate to pay for your damages, so formal legal action may be needed. Further, there are scenarios where someone other than the owner of the dog is liable for the attack. For example, if a daycare center allowed an unleashed dog to wander through the facility until it bit a child, that center could be liable for the attack as a matter of premises liability. To improve your chance of receiving the full compensation you deserve, you should always consult a qualified attorney who is determined to fight for your rights.
If you or a family member has been injured in a dog attack, the determined personal injury lawyers at Faught & Faught, P.A. in Brandon, FL can help you pursue your right to recover damages for your losses. Call 813-681-4246 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.