Dogs are a part of millions of American households, but even the most friendly animal has the potential to bite. When that happens, dog owners are liable for medical treatment and other damages stemming from the bite injury.
If a dog bit you or your loved one, an Orlando dog bites lawyer with Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers can help you seek compensation. Our family-owned and operated firm will provide you with professional and personalized representation. We will take care of every detail of your dog bite claim or lawsuit so that you can focus on getting better or helping your family member heal.
Florida Leads the Nation in Dog Bite Injury Claims
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Florida has the second-highest rate of dog bite claims annually, with the cost of a claim averaging around $55,000. The only state with more claims and higher payouts is California.
This figure may seem high, but dog bite injuries can be severe, often requiring extensive medical treatment and follow-up care. Dog bites can cause broken bones, nerve, joint, and tendon damage, and permanent scarring. Treatment for bites may include stitches, antibiotics (including intravenous antibiotics), hospitalization, cosmetic surgeries, and tetanus and rabies shots.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, an estimated 800,000 Americans seek treatment for a dog bite every year, and about 15 to 20 percent of bite wounds become infected. If you or a loved one sustained a dog bite, our dog bite lawyers could help you calculate your medical damages and other losses and pursue fair compensation for your injury.
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Near Me (407) 420-9838
Our Dog Bite Injury Attorneys Will Seek Awards on Your Behalf
Many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies cover dog bite injuries, including injuries that do not occur on the insured property. However, insurance companies and their lawyers will look for reasons to reduce or deny your dog bite claim.
Our Orlando dog bite attorneys can evaluate your losses, gather evidence proving liability, and file your dog bite claim. From there, we will handle communications with insurance adjusters and opposing parties, ensuring you do not face pressure to settle for less than you deserve. During negotiations, we will fight for the maximum amount of compensation available for your damages, including:
- Medical treatment – We will secure the awards you need to pay for your current and future medical care. We will seek reimbursement for hospital and doctor bills, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation. We will also consult with your doctor (with permission) about your ongoing needs and ensure we secure an adequate sum for your expected future treatments.
- Lost wages – We will pursue back pay for time missed at work due to your injuries, treatment, and recovery. This includes your wages, tips, bonuses, and benefits. In addition, if your dog bite results in a permanent or disabling injury, you may qualify for additional awards for the loss of your earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering – Dog attacks are scary and traumatic, and bite injuries and treatment can be painful. However, we can seek compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, and lost quality of life.
- Wrongful death – According to the Florida Department of Health, about two Floridians die yearly from dog bites. If your family member suffered a fatal bite injury, you might qualify for wrongful death compensation. This may include awards for your loved one’s bite-related damages and the loss of their love, companionship, protection, and financial support.
Chalik & Chalik Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (407) 420-9838
Orlando Dog Owners Are Liable for Bites
Florida Statutes § 767.04 establishes “strict liability” for dog bites. Under this legal principle, dog owners bear financial responsibility for bite injuries, regardless of whether they acted negligently or knew their dog was vicious. In addition, you do not need to prove that the owner’s actions led to your bite or show that the dog has a previous record of attacking or biting.
However, strict liability does not mean your dog bite case is clear-cut. The insurance company will likely try to allege you acted in a way that exempts the dog owner from responsibility or reduces their financial liability. Exceptions to strict liability include:
- Trespassing – Dog owners usually are not liable if their dog bites a trespasser. Trespassers do not include those on the property to perform a legal duty, such as delivering the mail.
- Comparative fault – If you behaved in a way that contributed to your injury, it would reduce your compensation. For example, if you acted aggressively toward the dog or tried to take its food, the opposing party may argue you bear a portion of the fault. If the court agrees, it will reduce your awards by the percentage of the fault it assigns you.
- “Bad Dog” warnings – Dog owners can protect themselves from liability by prominently posting a “Bad Dog” sign on their property. This exception does not apply to bite victims under age 6, who may not be able to read or understand the sign.
Keep in mind that strict liability applies to bites only. If you suffered another type of injury during a dog attack, you might still seek compensation, but you will need to prove negligence on the dog owner’s part. Again, our attorneys for dog bites will gather evidence and help you build your case.
You Have Four Years to Pursue Your Dog Bite Lawsuit
You have four years to seek compensation for a dog bite and two years to pursue awards for a family member’s wrongful death, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11. The clock on the statute of limitations begins at the time of your injury or your loved one’s passing.
This deadline will also affect insurance claims. Insurance adjusters know the law and will use an expired statute as grounds for reducing or denying your settlement. So do not wait too long to file your claim or lawsuit.
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Contact a Dog Bite Attorney Serving Orlando for Help with Your Case Today
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers has decades of experience serving Florida injury victims. Our founding partners, Jason and Debi Chalik handle each case personally, so you never feel like just a case number.
Our goal is to secure financial recovery as quickly and easily as possible. Working with our Orlando dog bites lawyers begins with a free consultation. Call today to learn more.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (407) 420-9838