Did you incur dog bite injuries in Lakeland, FL? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and related losses. The best way to find out what your rights are is to consult a Lakeland personal injury attorney. Reviewing Florida dog bite laws should help as well.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Under Florida law, in order to obtain compensation after a dog bite, you should prove:
1. Statutory Strict Liability
Section 767.04 holds dog owners liable when their animal bites and injures someone. Under this section, there is no need to prove that the dog was dangerous. However, the claimant cannot have contributed to the bite and injuries in any way.
You cannot claim compensation under this section if:
- Were trespassing on the dog owner’s property
- Were bitten and injured by a military or police dog performing its duty
- The dog was vicious and caused property damage
To find out if your case qualifies for compensation, consult a personal injury lawyer in Lakeland, FL. Certainly, they know Florida dog bite laws well and can explain exactly where you stand.
When statutory strict liability does not hold, another option is to prove dog owner negligence. It means showing that the dog owner failed to act reasonably in that particular situation.
You would have to establish:
- That any reasonable dog owner would have acted in a particular way
- That the owner of the dog that bit you did not do so
- That their failure to act reasonably led to the bite and your injuries
You may find these difficult to prove. However, they are mere routine for a Lakeland personal injury attorney. The latter can turn to case precedents, specialty literature, and expert witnesses.
3. Negligence Per Se
It means showing that the dog owner violated Florida dog bite laws and related statutes. Common examples of negligence per se are dog owners walking their pet without a leash. Letting the animal roam unsupervised on the streets qualifies as negligence per se as well. This aspect of Florida dog bite laws only applies when the injuries occur during the act of negligence.
4. Intentional Torts
In some cases, dog owners intentionally cause bites and injuries. They encourage their animal to attack people. If that is your case, obtaining compensation should be easier. You will still need evidence and witnesses, though. These are easier to obtain with the help of a personal injury lawyer in Lakeland, FL.
Statutes of Limitations or Deadline for Filing a Dog Bite Compensation Claim
No matter which category your case fits into, you have a four-year deadline for claiming compensation. The countdown begins at the time of the dog bite. Exceptions may apply to cases involving minors or resulting in disability. The countdown may begin when the child becomes of age or the victim recovers from their disability.
Types of Damages a Claimant or Their Lakeland Personal Injury Attorney May Recover
Each dog bite case is different. Also, he losses for which you can be compensated will vary from case to case.
Depending on the particularities of the dog and the circumstances of the bite, the injuries can be:
- Bruises, cuts, and abrasions
- Bite marks
- Permanent scars
- Broken bones or fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Soft tissue injuries
- Temporary or permanent disability
The compensation can cover the treatment of these injuries and the pain and suffering they caused. It will also cover property damage and financial losses (income and earning capacity). In exceptional cases, the victims may claim additional losses like consortium and life enjoyment.
Obviously, the dog owner wants to avoid paying compensation. In their defense, they may try to show that:
- You were trespassing
- Somehow you provoked the dog and, caused the injuries
- You harmed the dog in the past and that justified the attack
To make sure their defense will not hold, you should hire a personal injury attorney. They will explain everything you need to know and take over all the formalities.
Schedule a Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Lakeland, FL
Would you like to know more about Florida dog bite laws or get help with your case? Our Lakeland personal injury attorney can help. Schedule a consultation with them by calling 1-888-BURNETTI or filling in the online contact form. The first consultation is FREE. Also, we accept a contingency-based agreement. This means you only pay for our services if and when we win so you have nothing to lose.