After being bit, it is important to take photographs of the scene, get pertinent information from the owner and all of the witnesses, and seek medical treatment even if you do not feel like you need it.
Dogs are man’s best friend. But, sometimes we forget they can also become our worst nightmares. Dog attacks are like car crashes, they can occur when you least expect them.
As long as you find yourself around dogs, it is important to have a plan of action for what to do if you find yourself on the sharp end of one of these creatures.
When speaking about dog bite incidents, there are a few questions that come into play regarding the law of dog bites.
Can I Sue For a Minor Dog Bite?
You can still sue for a minor dog bite. Minor dog bites can still spread diseases, cause pain and suffering, and create larger injuries in the future. There is no bar on suing for minor dog bites.
What Should I do Immediately After a Dog Bite?
If you can it would be helpful to take photographs of the scene, including the dog, injury, and location.
After that make sure to get the information of all witnesses and parties present at the scene, including address, phone number, and insurance information.
After that make sure to get medical attention, even if you don’t believe you need any. This is extremely important, dog bites can become infected, and cause phantom injuries.
What if it’s an accident, what are my options?
The fact that it is an accident simply does not matter in Florida. As will be mentioned below, the Florida statutes treat dog bites as a strict liability issue. This means that intent generally does not matter.
What type of injuries and/or damages should I look for?
Certain damages, such as lost limbs or appendixes, as well as lacerations or punctures should be apparent. But some damages, such as nerve damage, scarring, disease, and emotional suffering may not show up until far after the fact.
Rabies in particular, can take up to a year to develop. Unless you have hard evidence that a dog is vaccinated, go to the hospital to be treated for rabies. The good news is that you can still report injuries that exist as long as it falls within the four years statute of limitations.
Does a dog bite have to be reported?
You do not have to report your dog bite, although your doctor is usually required to report it to animal control or a higher health agency. However, reporting a dog bite to animal control can help create a paper trail in support of your case, and make sure a dangerous dog does not hurt anyone else.
How Long After a Dog Bite Can You Sue in Florida?
The statute of limitations in Florida for dog bites is four years. You must file your legal claim before the four years is up, or you give up your right to get justice.
How To File a Dog Bite Report And Sue For Damages
Filing a claim for a dog bite is fairly similar to filing other civil claims. The person who files a case will have to navigate the court system themselves. In situations where you are injured, representing yourself is a dangerous game.
Not only will you be going against a team of professionals who worked in this area of law for years, but you will also be going against a team of professionals who can spend hours upon hours on your case. The insurance companies are well trained in the law, the legal process, and nuances that they can utilize to win cases.
While you certainly can represent yourself if you have the time, there is little doubt you will get better representation, and results, by having your very own experienced expert on your side. This is why you need a personal injury attorney.
Will Insurance Cover a Dog Bite?
Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally cover dog bite injuries up to a certain amount. This is good if you feel bad about taking money from those who don’t have it, and also good because you will likely be able to get your full compensation.
What is the Law Regarding Dog Bites in Florida?
The dog bite law in Florida generally exists to protect victims. It is a strict liability statute which means you do not need to prove negligence to meet the elements of the law. The only elements that need to be met are:
1) the dog bites another person
2) the person is in a public place or a lawfully private place.
As long as some witnesses exist, element one is generally easy to prove.
Number two poses some more difficulty, as it essentially means that you had to have had a right to be on the land where the dog was. This right to be on land could be an invite by a land owner, or simply being on public property. Trespassing on private property is a defense. If you were robbing the place, you will likely lose if a dog meant to protect the property did so.
Are There Other Exceptions to The Dog Bite Law?
There is also a separate exception to the law regarding dog warning signs. Essentially, if the victim was more than six years old, the incident happens on the owner’s premises, and that property has a sign posted reading “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog” that is easily readable and in noticeable position, then liability will not attach for dog bites.
In theory, there is another exception that exists with regard to dog ownership. Comparative negligence generally does not apply to dog bites. As dog bites are a strict liability issue, the main concern is simply the elements. However, if the victim’s behavior was so extreme as to almost supersede the dogs natural behavior, then the law does not apply. This would only occur in situations where a person wanted a dog bite to occur, or where they were purposefully beating or harming a dog that was non-threatening.
Dog bites are scary things, and the legal process to get justice after is no calmer. It is important to have a legal professional on your side.
Bulluck Law Group has the experienced team necessary to guide you through a dog bite incident and get you the justice you deserve. We offer a free case evaluation to see if we’re a good fit as well as a No Recovery, No Fee Promise.
The team at Bulluck law group has years of experience in this area of the law and knows the right way to fight for your compensation. Contact us for a free consultation today.