Dog bite injuries can be very serious, even fatal. They can leave physical effects, including dog bite scars, and can also cause lasting psychological harm. Dog bite statistics in Florida are surprisingly high, with an average of two deaths per year caused by dog attacks. Even with a relatively minor injury, a dog bite infection is always a possibility. This can result in prolonged treatment periods and high medical costs.
If you or someone in your household is affected by a dog bite injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Obtaining a settlement for a dog bite incident can help you to move forward. To achieve the kind of outcome you deserve, you need a skilled and experienced dog bite attorney.
Dog Bite Injury Statistics
Children are at the highest risk of suffering a dog bite injury, with those under 14 representing the largest number of casualties. Boys are at a greater risk of dog bites than girls.
The most significant risk factor seems to be a lack of proper restraint for dogs, with unrestrained dogs accounting for approximately one-third of attacks. This includes dogs outside the owner’s property and dogs off their leash in a public space.
The majority of dog bites in Florida involve a bitten child by a familiar dog, either a family pet or one owned by a neighbor or friend.
Dog Bite Lawsuits: Receiving Compensation
Florida law allows you to seek compensation if you are affected by a dog bite injury. Unlike other states, where owners are only held liable if the dog has bitten someone before, Florida’s law applies strict liability in the case of dog bites. This means that if you’re attacked by a dog in a public space or on private property lawfully, the dog’s owner can be held liable.
You can also file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner on the grounds of negligence. To do this, you will have to prove that the dog’s owner had a “duty of care” that applied to the victim. This is an option in cases where strict liability doesn’t apply.
If the dog’s owner deliberately orchestrated or otherwise caused the attack, for example, by setting a dog on the victim, an intentional tort may be pursued. Intentional torts cover incidents when the dog bite was intentionally provoked by the owner or someone else in control of the dog. They are similar to cases involving assault and battery.
In most situations, you can hold the owner liable for an attack by their dog. There are some situations where liability may be reduced, however. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Incidents where the victim was hurting the dog or provoked the attack in some way.
- Dog bites occurring when the victim was on the property illegally, such as attacks on trespassers or burglars.
- Attacks where the dog was protecting the owner, or another nearby person. There must be a reasonably perceived threat to the person the dog was protecting.
Every case is unique, and many factors can affect liability. Even if liability is reduced, you may still be eligible for compensation if the owner is found to be partly or mostly responsible. For example, if you as the victim were found to be 20 percent at fault, the owner would still be 80 percent at fault.
As you can see, dog bite lawsuits can be complicated and challenging to navigate. If you’re considering a claim for compensation relating to a dog bite incident, your first step should be to seek expert legal advice from a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today for an initial consultation.