A dog bite could result in serious, long-term injuries that impact you for the rest of your life. However, by pursuing legal action against the dog owner, you could collect financial compensation that covers the physical, financial, and emotional trauma that can come with an animal attack.
Having strong legal representation is a vital part of the process. Before you pursue a case on your own, consider seeking the guidance and advice of an experienced Jacksonville dog bite lawyer from Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers.
Understanding Dog Ordinances in Jacksonville
When it comes to dogs, most regulations regarding the ownership and care for these pets are enacted on a city or county level. Like most cities, Jacksonville Animal Control has adopted an ordinance related to dog leash requirements.
According to the city ordinance, dogs must be kept on a leash in all public places. While there are no leash requirements on private property, allowing a pet to roam freely from private to public property violates the ordinance.
There are also special rules that apply to dogs on the beach compared to other public areas. Dogs must always remain leashed when on beaches within Jacksonville city limits. However, dogs are barred from the beach entirely during daylight hours from April 1 through September 30.
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Can I Sue the Dog Owner if I Was Bitten?
If a dog has bitten you, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the owner of the animal. The basis for securing compensation for a dog bite varies from one jurisdiction to another, but these laws are friendly to dog bite victims in Jacksonville. The state has adopted a “strict liability” approach to dog bite injury cases. This approach differs from the common negligence standard in personal injury cases.
Unlike a negligence case, you do not have to establish that the dog owner acted negligently in allowing the bite to occur. You could be entitled to damages by only showing that the defendant’s dog was the animal that caused your injury. In addition to biting, any injury caused by a dog could result in a viable case for compensation. That includes injuries caused by scratching or being knocked to the ground.
There is a notable exception in the dog bite statute. According to Florida Statutes § 767.04, a dog owner is not liable for an attack if it occurs on their property in some cases. Specifically, liability will not attach if the owner posted a sign that reads “bad dog” or “beware of dog” in a conspicuous place. This exception does not apply when the injury victim is under six.
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What Is a Dog Bite Case Worth?
There is no simple way to calculate the exact value of your dog bite claim. There are too many factors at play that could impact your potential recovery. While there is no guarantee of your recovery, it is helpful to understand the types of damages that might be available to you. With the help of your attorney, you could evaluate the factors in your case and determine what your compensation might look like.
Dog bites can result in significant medical bills. In addition to wound care, you could also face the risk of infections and other injuries. When dog bites result in nerve damage, the need for medical care could last for the rest of your life. However, if your dog bite lawsuit is successful, you could recoup your medical expenses related to the attack.
If your dog bite injuries have rendered you unable to work, you could suddenly find yourself in a dangerous financial position. The longer you are too hurt to work, the more paychecks you are likely to miss out on. Compensation recovered in a dog bite lawsuit could replace the wages you missed due to your injury.
Pain and Suffering
Dog bites are known to cause significant physical pain. Often, this pain is related to nerve damage caused by the bite wounds. Because you would not otherwise have experienced this pain were it not for the dog attack, you could be entitled to a monetary award. These damages depend on the extent of your pain, but they often correlate to the cost of your medical treatment.
In addition to physical scars, dog bites can also build emotional scars. The term “mental anguish” describes the emotional trauma of reliving a serious injury. This trauma could make it difficult for you to be around dogs in the future while impacting your life in other ways. Damages could be available for your mental anguish.
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How Much Time do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
If you are considering a lawsuit based on your dog bite injuries, it is important to remember you have a limited time to file. The legal deadline associated with your case is known as the “statute of limitations” and applies to any civil lawsuit filed in Jacksonville.
The statute of limitations expires four years from the date the bite occurred. If you file your lawsuit after this deadline passes, you can expect the dog’s owner to move to dismiss your case. In most situations, the court will have little option but to agree. This dismissal is with prejudice, meaning that you are barred from filing another lawsuit based on the dog bite in the future.
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Contact a Jacksonville Dog Bite Attorney to Learn More Today
Thanks to the strict liability standard, you could recover compensation for your dog bite regardless of whether the dog’s owner acted negligently. Of course, that does not mean your case is guaranteed to succeed. However, you can count on the dog owner aggressively fighting back in hopes of avoiding any liability on their part.
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers know dog attacks are traumatic. If you are dealing with injuries you suffered from an animal attack, our team is here to help. Reach out immediately for a free consultation to learn how a Jacksonville dog bite lawyer could help you.
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