Dogs can behave unpredictably, especially when they feel startled or threatened, or when they believe they (or people they are loyal to) are in danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of dog bite victims need medical treatment.
If you or your loved one has suffered a dog bite injury because of another person’s pet, you may be entitled to compensation. A Tampa dog bite lawyer from Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers might be able to help you. Call us today at (813) 879-3719 to get a free consultation and case evaluation today.
The Severity of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause significant trauma to a person’s soft tissue. Many people suffer accidental dog bites in attempts to break off dog fights or as a result of fear and self-defense instinct by the dog. These attacks can cause long-term or even permanent scarring, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain and disability.
Even dogs that have no history or inclination towards violence can cause damage in some circumstances. If a dog has injured you or your loved one, a dog bite lawyer can help you hold the dog’s owner accountable.
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Florida Dog Bite Laws
In Florida, dog owners can be held liable for damages and injury to any person who is on or in a public space or lawfully in a private place, including within the dog owner’s property. They may be liable regardless of the dog’s viciousness history, and whether or not they had prior knowledge of their dog’s viciousness, according to Florida Statutes § 767.04.
However, the victim of a dog bite injury can share liability depending on their level of negligence, which may be the proximal cause of their injury. This is called comparative negligence, and it is calculated as a percentage and reduces the dog owner’s liability.
A dog owner is also liable for the injury of any child under six years old, regardless of the precipitating circumstances leading to the dog bite.
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we have experience investigating, settling, and going to trial for dog attack cases. Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (813) 879-3719 if you have suffered a dog bite injury. We will conduct a free consultation and case evaluation, depending on your circumstances, to determine whether you are entitled to compensation from the dog owner.
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Statute of Limitations
Just like other tort claims, there is a statute of limitations to filing a claim because of a dog bite injury. In Florida, a victim of a dog bite has four years from the date of the attack to bring a legal claim against the dog’s owner. Where the injured person was lawfully present at the location where the attack happened, the owner is liable for the damage or injuries their dog caused.
Strict Liability Laws
Florida, unlike other states, follows the strict liability law for dog owners. This means that a plaintiff does not have to prove that the dog owner was careless or negligent in the care of their dog. They only need to show that they were lawfully present at the site where the attack took place.
Where strict liability laws apply, there are two defenses to a dog bite injury suit. They are:
- Trespassing: There is no liability if injuries occur while a person was trespassing on the owner’s private property.
- Comparative negligence: The defendant may seek to show how the injured party contributed to the attack, e.g., provoking or antagonizing the dog, prompting the dog to bite in self-defense.
In the case of comparative negligence, the judge will reduce the damages proportional to the percentage of liability shared by the plaintiff.
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Recoverable Damages in Dog Bite Lawsuits
If you or your loved one wishes to bring a dog bite lawsuit against a dog owner, it can help to get a case evaluation from a dog bite lawyer. The lawyer will evaluate the specifics of your case and give you a rough idea of the compensation you can recover.
Common damages claimed as a result of dog bite injuries include:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost wages where the injury caused the victim to miss work
- Permanent physical damage
- Loss of quality of life
- Long-term emotional damage, e.g., PTSD
What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury
Dog bites can cause a host of severe injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Complications resulting from falls
- Infections as a result of wounds
It is critical to document a dog owner’s information after suffering a dog bite and collect statements from any witnesses to the attack. You should seek immediate medical attention, and ensure that you receive a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and causes of treatment. Keep any medical or insurance bills you receive.
These statements, reports, and bills will be crucial in proving your case when you make your claim. You can maximize the odds of success in your lawsuit by acting expeditiously to get medical attention as soon as you’re able to do so.
Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Today
If you have suffered an injury or property damage because of an attack from someone else’s dog, you can call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers as soon as possible after the injury. A Tampa dog bite lawyer might be able to help you recover compensation.
When you or your loved one call us, we will guide you regarding the appropriate steps to take. If you do not know what to do, call us first, and we will walk you through the rest of the process.
Contact us today at (813) 879-3719 for a free case evaluation.