Dog bites happen every day in Florida. Each year, more than 600 Florida residents are hospitalized because of dog bite injuries. Another two will die because of the severity of injuries sustained in a dog bite attack. Fortunately, the law offers certain protections for victims of dog attacks in Miami.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a dog bite, you have the right to hold that dog’s owner personally responsible. You can demand compensation for medical bills, lost wages, as well as your pain and suffering. At Lavent Law, our Miami dog bite lawyers can help you maximize the financial award you receive. We understand that a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, and we are here to help you assert your rights. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Children Most Likely to Be Victims of Dog Bites
Anyone can be at risk of suffering a dog bite. However, statistics show that children tend to be injured by dog bites more frequently than adults. According to the Florida Department of Health, dog bite injuries affect children under the age of 6 and boys between the ages of 6 and 14 are most often.
You may think that dog attacks typically happen when young children approach animals they don’t know. However, it may be surprising to learn that attacks by strange dogs aren’t the leading cause of dog bite injuries in children. The vast majority of these attacks on children either occur at home or involve a dog familiar to the family.
Common Causes of Dog Bite Injuries in Miami
Why are dog bites happening so frequently in the state of Florida? What typically prompts a dog to attack and bite a person? Frequently cited causes of dog bites include:
- Irritating a dog while it is eating, playing, or chewing
- Touching or trying to move a dog against its will
- Leaving children with dogs unsupervised
- Attempting to break up a dog fight
- Trying to protect another person from a dog bite, and
- Abusing or mistreating a dog.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can inflict a wide range of injuries. At Lavent Law, our attorneys are prepared to help you fight for compensation for any dog bite injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injury
- Eye injury
- Head injury
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Paralysis, and
- Other serious injuries.
Dog bite injuries can also be fatal. If you have lost a loved one because the extent of their dog bite injuries, our attorneys can help you pursue compensation for wrongful death. Contact our Miami office today to learn more about your legal options.
Dog Owners Strictly Liable for Dog Bite Injuries
In Florida, owners can be held strictly liable for harm caused by a dog bite. This means that you do not have to prove that the owner was negligent in supervising, training, or disciplining their dog. There’s also no requirement to prove that the dog has a history of viciousness.
In order to recover compensation from a dog’s owner, you will have to prove:
- You suffered a dog bite;
- You were bitten by a dog owned by the defendant; and
- You were in public or lawfully on private property at the time of the attack.
So, you simply have to prove that a dog owned by the defendant attacked you while you were a guest on their property or in public. Again, you do not have to show that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous or that the dog had a history of being vicious.
Limitations to Dog Bite Injury Claims
There are certain times when your own behavior could limit or prevent your ability to recover compensation after a dog bite in Miami.
In Florida, anyone who shares fault for accident or injury can be held responsible for damages. This includes victims themselves. If your own negligence or wrongful actions are a proximate cause of the dog bite, your ability to recover compensation will be reduced. Proximate cause simply means that your actions created a situation in which a dog bite was a foreseeable consequence.
For example, throwing rocks or other items at a dog in a dog park would likely be considered a proximate cause of a dog bite or attack. Similarly, poking a dog repeatedly while it tries to eat or play would probably also be considered a proximate cause of an attack.
Your ability to recover compensation will depend on the percentage of fault you are assigned for the attack. If it’s believed that you fully instigated the dog bite, you will not be able to recover any compensation, at all. If you share 50 percent of the blame, you’ll be able to recover 50 percent of your damages from the dog’s owner.
It’s important to understand that young children may not be held fully responsible for actions that instigate a dog bite or attack. Children, particularly those under the age of 6, cannot fully appreciate the likely consequences of their actions.
Not Lawfully on Private Property
Dog owners are only responsible for injuries inflicted to victims who are in public or lawfully on private property. A person will be considered to be “lawfully” on private property if they are:
- An invited guest, or
- Performing duties imposed by law or postal regulations.
You generally cannot recover compensation for a dog bite injury if you were trespassing and had no legal right to be present on private property.
Dangerous Dog Warnings
Dog owners can take certain precautions to protect themselves from liability when they know that their dogs may pose a threat to others. Under FLSA 767.04, dog owners may not be liable if, at the time of the injury, they had a sign displayed in a prominent place on their property that included the words “Bad Dog.” In order to escape liability, the owner’s own negligent acts or omissions must not have contributed to the attack or injury.
This exception does not apply when the victim is a child under the age of 6. Dog owners can still be held fully responsible for dog bite injuries to young children, regardless of steps taken to warn guests and visitors of potential dangers.
Damages Available to Miami Dog Bite Victims
Dog bite injuries can be incredibly painful and overwhelming. You may require extensive medical care and even be forced to miss time at work. A serious injury can even result in a permanent disability that changes your life forever. Fortunately, you have the right to hold the dog’s owner financially responsible for any damages you suffer.
Damages available to dog bite victims in Miami can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Disability (temporary and/or permanent)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment, and more.
At Lavent Law, our attorneys are prepared to help you fight for every penny you deserve. We work closely with experts to make sure that your case is valued properly. This helps to ensure that you recover the money you need and deserve after a devastating dog bite injury.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Cases in Florida
When you’ve been injured by a dog bite you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. However, Florida law restricts the amount of time you have to take actions. You must file your dog bite injury claim within four years of the dog bite attack. If you don’t file before the statute of limitations expires you’ll be prohibited from getting the money you need and deserve.
You can make sure that your Miami dog bite injury case is filed on time by contacting an experienced attorney immediately after you are injured. At Lavent Law, our attorneys are committed to helping you get the money you deserve. Call us to discuss your case today.
Speak with our Miami Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
Have you or someone you love been injured because of a dog bite in Miami? At Lavent Law, our Miami dog bite attorneys understand that a dog bite can have immediate and long-lasting consequences. You have the right to demand compensation from the dog’s owner, and our attorneys can help. Call our office today to schedule your free case assessment and learn more.