People typically consider dogs to be harmless and incapable of hurting anyone, however, that is far from the truth. An untrained or particularly violent dog can inflict a lot of harm on someone. Potential injuries include scratches, parts of skin being torn off, and so on. A dog bite incident can be traumatic and have psychological implications for the victims as well. If you have been bitten by a dog, you do have options. Establishing liability in Clearwater dog bite cases is difficult to do alone, but with the help of an attorney, you can make sure that your rights are being protected. Contact a Clearwater dog bite lawyer, and know that you are in good hands.
Who Must Establish Liability
The plaintiff is always tasked with establishing liability in Clearwater dog bite cases and they hold the burden. In dog bite cases, once a person has proved that the injury occurred from a dog bite, the owners are then strictly liable. Because Florida has strict liability, the plaintiff is not ever held liable.
There are not many ways of establishing liability that might impact the outcome of the case. The only thing that can protect somebody from liability in a dog bite case is if the dog did not cause the injury, or if the person did not own or control the dog at the time of the injury.
A person does not have to have the dog on a leash, but with strict liability whether their dog is on a leash or not, if it causes an injury, the owner is still strictly liable. In Florida, some counties that have leash laws, but there is no statewide mandate because of the strict liability statute. Basically, the owner is tasked with controlling their dog, and they are responsible for their dog’s actions.
Process of Establishing Liability
The plaintiffs have the burden to prove that the dog is owned by a particular person and that the dog caused an injury, and once a person proves that that owner is strictly liable. The plaintiff and the defendant are involved in the process, and sometimes it is necessary to hire an investigator. That process can take anywhere from one day to six months, depending on how hard it is to find out who owns the dog in question.
The investigation includes trying to get witness statements from anyone who saw what happened, trying to get any photographs or video evidence, and doing a background check on the dog and the owner to figure out if the dog has any previous history of violence and whether the owner had any knowledge of it.
Video footage just comes into play if a nearby establishment had a security camera pointed in the direction where we can see the dog bite, or if someone was filming on their cellphone camera or something. Sometimes people turn that video footage in which can be especially helpful when establishing liability in Clearwater dog bite cases.
The only expert witness a lawyer is likely to call is a medical expert to discuss what the damages are and what injuries were caused by the dog bite. Lawyers do not typically have dog behaviorists or veterinarians.This does not come into play with strict liability because they do not have to prove anything about the dog, just that is caused the injury.
Benefit of a Lawyer
Dog bites and attacks are as surprising, as they are terrifying. They can leave you with lasting physical injuries, and emotional trauma as well. However, you do not have to go through this alone. A capable dog bite lawyer can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Your lawyer will have previous experience establishing liability in Clearwater dog bite cases, and can use that ability to fight for a positive outcome for you.