Getting attacked by a dog is a traumatic and painful ordeal that can cause lifelong physical and emotional damage. In addition to physical injuries, dog attacks can cause post-traumatic stress disorder that leads to a lifelong fear of animals, in addition to permanent scarring and disfigurement. In short, dog bites are quick incidents that can cause serious and multifaceted damage to an accident victim.
However, victims of dog attacks are not left without avenues of recourse. Fortunately for victims, the law imposes a responsibility on dog owners to act reasonably in ensuring that their dogs are safe for other people. When a dog owner does not act reasonably and their dog attacks someone, the attack victim may be entitled to recover compensation in legal action against the dog owner.
Our team of personal injury lawyers is passionate about protecting rights and seeking justice for innocent victims of accidents such as dog bites. If you or a loved one has been viciously attacked by another person’s dog, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to inquire about your options for pursuing compensation from the dog’s owner.
Dog Attacks Are Serious Incidents
While dogs are now domesticated animals, they were historically owned for many purposes – including as attack dogs, hunting dogs, and guard dogs. Today, even though these traits have been bred out of dogs for the most part, many dogs still have viciousness embedded deep within their DNA and genetic code. For that reason, dog attacks are serious and scary incidents that can leave victims with devastating injuries.
Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
The severity of a dog attack often depends on many factors, such as the size and age of the dog, and the age of the victim. In the worst cases, dogs attack in a “bite and shake” manner, whereby a dog clamps down on a victim with its teeth and seeks to shake the victim like animal prey. When these “bite and shake” attacks are perpetuated on small children, they can be fatal. But in addition to fatal injuries, dog bites commonly cause the following injuries:
- Disfigurement and loss of limbs
- Permanent scarring
- Blood loss and organ damage
- Bone damage and orthopedic injuries
- Mental and emotional damages
- Post-traumatic stress, leading to a lifelong fear of animals
In addition to being very painful, these injuries can also be very expensive. Medical bills pile up fast, wages can be lost from taking time off work, and a person’s life can be changed forever because of a dog attack. A personal injury lawsuit can help accident victims recover these costs, which can quickly become very high.
Dog Bite Injury Lawsuits
If you have suffered injuries due to an animal attack, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, to succeed in a personal injury suit, a plaintiff has to prove negligence on the defendant’s part, which requires proof that the defendant did not act in a reasonable manner. But with respect to dog bites, Florida law provides some additional avenues for relief in addition to a traditional negligence case.
Strict Liability for Dog Attacks
Strict liability means that the law holds a person strictly liable for something, no matter the circumstances. Fortunately for dog attack victims, Florida law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused when their animal attacks another person. There is no need to prove anything else – not that the dog was dangerous, that it wasn’t leashed, or any other fact. The simple fact that another person’s dog attacked you is generally the only fact to prove, with a few exceptions. Strict liability is not available in the following cases:
- Where the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property
- Where the victim is bitten by an on-duty police dog
- The only damages sustained were property damages
Negligence and Negligence Per Se for Dog Bites
Negligence and negligence per se theories may be available to any victim that cannot make a successful case under strict liability laws. As previously stated, negligence requires a showing that the plaintiff acted in a manner that was not reasonable given the circumstances. Negligence per se is a specific type of negligence that arises when a person violates a law or regulation. For example, if local law requires a person to leash their dog, and they do not, they could be liable under a negligence per se theory if their dog attacks someone. Common examples of negligence and negligence per se in dog bite cases include:
- Failure to leash a dog
- Failure to keep a yard enclosed
- Allowing a dog to roam without supervision
- Failure to provide shots or vaccinations
- Owning a dog that has been labeled dangerous or vicious
An experienced dog bite lawyer can assess your case and determine what legal theories may be best used in your case to obtain compensation on your behalf.
Damages Available in Dog Bite Lawsuits
The law of personal injuries provides that accident victims should be fully and fairly compensated for their injuries caused by another person. Even though dog attacks are incidents that can happen at a moment’s notice, they can create lifelong trauma and other impacts for victims. The most common types of damages requested by plaintiffs in dog bite lawsuits include the following:
- Medical bills and hospital expenses
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Mental pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may have a viable case for compensation for your injuries. The first step in seeking compensation is to contact an experienced and capable personal injury attorney. Our team of lawyers is ready to assist you, and we’re proud to offer free consultations to prospective dog bite clients. Don’t let the trauma of a dog attack negatively impact your life any more than it has to – call us today to set up a free consultation and begin your healing process by seeking justice for your injuries.
At Bailey Glasser, we’re more than just personal injury lawyers. We offer comprehensive legal services, including handling cases of wrongful death and providing compassionate and effective representation to families grappling with unimaginable loss. Additionally, we specialize in car accident cases, seeking justice and compensation for victims injured on the road.