The seriousness of dog bite injuries is something which must never be underestimated. According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 4.5 million dog bites are reported annually in the United States.
The American Veterinary Association has revealed that each year, in excess of 800,000 individuals nationwide require medical attention for dog bites, with at least 50 percent of those victims being children.
Because the harm dogs of all breeds and sizes have the potential to inflict on unsuspecting Floridians, it is crucial for those negatively affected by dog-related incidents to secure the help of a knowledgeable injury attorney.
If you or a loved one has suffered a trauma of this type, a St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer stands prepared to aid in your quest for the compensation you deserve.
Florida Law Pertaining to Dog Bites
Though dog bites are always an extremely serious situation, victims can take heart in the fact that in many ways, Florida law pertaining to such injuries is drafted in a manner that tends to favor those who have been harmed.
This is because, according to Fla. Stat. § 767.04, dog owners whose animal bites another in a public place, or while the victim is lawfully on the premises of the owner, are held strictly liable for the losses suffered. This is true without regard to the dog’s propensity for biting or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
In addition to the strict liability imposed by Florida’s dog bite statute, victims may be able to pursue compensation by virtue of the legal doctrines of negligence, intentional tort, and negligence per se related to leash laws or other regulations. A seasoned dog bite attorney can analyze the facts of each client’s case to determine which theories of recovery are most viable for the purpose of securing monetary recovery.
“Bad Dog” Sign Exception in Florida
Florida law does provide a somewhat unique exception to the strict liability described above, however. A dog owner will not be liable, except as to a child under six years of age, or unless the harm was caused by the owner’s distinct negligence, if at the time of the event in question, the owner displayed a sign including the words “Bad Dog” in a prominent place on his or her property.
Potential Defenses in Dog Bite Cases
Generally speaking, a dog owner facing liability under Florida law may raise two possible defenses, namely, trespassing on the part of the injury victim and comparative negligence. An individual found to have trespassed, or entered unlawfully onto the dog owner’s property will not be entitled to a damage award.
Also of note is the fact that under the prevailing Florida doctrine of comparative negligence, if the victim’s own acts of negligence contributed to the harm sustained, the damage entitlement will necessarily be reduced by the percentage of the blame assigned to the victim.
High Costs Associated with Dog Bites
Each dog bite event is factually distinct, but certain categories of injuries tend to be more common than others. Frequent classifications of harm, all of which have the potential to produce massive medical bills and other losses, include:
- Deep lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Vision damage
- Nerve damage
- Rabies, Pasteurella, and MRSA infections
- Psychological trauma and anxiety disorders
Aggressive Pursuit of Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
Mounting healthcare expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress are just some of the ways in which dog bite victims can be negatively impacted by events of this nature. If you have suffered injuries due to a dog attack, do not allow responsible parties to evade accountability. To learn how a St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer with our firm can assist in your pursuit for compensation, contact us today.