If you or a loved one were hurt by someone else’s dog, call an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer to find out whether entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
At Hollander Law Firm, P.A., our lawyers understand the complex dog bite laws that apply in Florida. We’ll fight to get the fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights after a dog bite or attack.
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me After a Dog Attacks?
Dogs can bring a lot of joy to your life. However, dogs aren’t easy to predict. At their core, they’re animals that can react at a moment’s notice. They can attack without provocation and might even surprise their owners–not to mention their victims.If you’re hurt by someone else’s dog, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the blame. Dog bite injuries can be serious.
It might take you a while to recover. Of course, your bills don’t stop coming in while you’re out of work taking care of your health. Fortunately, you might be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner and insurance company to help out while you get back on your feet.
However, it won’t be easy to get the full amount you deserve. The insurance company will do everything possible to pay you less. They might even try to blame you for provoking the dog. An experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can stand up for your rights.
At Hollander Law Firm, P.A., we have over 28 years of experience helping dog bite victims in South Florida. When you hire us, you can count on a lawyer who will:
- Investigate the circumstances surrounding the dog bite
- Look into the dog’s past history to see if the dog has ever displayed any vicious behavior
- Determine whether the owner’s behavior may have put you at risk
- Work with experts who can help put a fair value on your injuries
- Explain the Florida statutes on dog bites and how they can be used in your case
- Handle all communications and negotiating with the insurance companies and defense lawyers
We know it can be difficult to know where to turn for help after a dog bite. You might still be in shock about the whole situation. Things can be even more overwhelming if your child was the victim. Our lawyers are always here to take your call. All you have to do is schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do to protect your right to compensation.
When Can Dog Bite Victims Claim Compensation Under Florida Law?
Florida is one of many states that follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. That means owners are liable if their dog bites someone in a public place or lawfully on private property. That means the owner can also be held responsible if the dog bites on their own private property, as long as the victim was invited onto the property.
Florida does not follow a “one bite” rule. The owner can be held liable even if:
- The dog has no past history of vicious or aggressive behavior
- The owner has no knowledge that the dog has ever behaved viciously
The owner’s liability can be limited, however, if they can prove that the dog attacked partly because of the victim’s actions. In other words, your compensation can be reduced to the extent your actions somehow provoked the dog.
Leash Laws in Broward County, Florida
In Broward County, it is against the law for a dog to be “at large.” The dog must be under the owner’s control at all times. This “leash law” means that the dog must be on a chain, cord, leash, or somehow confined on the owner’s property at all times. A violation of the leash law can be used as evidence that the owner’s negligence caused your injuries.
Dog owners must take even stronger precautions if their dog has been classified as “dangerous” or “aggressive” under Broward County ordinances. For example, owners of aggressive dogs are not permitted to take their dogs to public parks or beaches even when dogs are otherwise allowed. Dog owners might even face criminal charges under the Florida dangerous dog law.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Dog Bite?
Even if a dog owned by a friend or family member bit you, it’s important to realize that you’re usually going to be dealing with insurance companies. Insurance coverage isn’t only for injuries sustained in car accidents, after all. Homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bite injuries. Some renter’s insurance policies even provide coverage.
Insurance means money will be available. It also means that money may be much more difficult to get. That’s why it’s important to identify every party who may share in the blame for your dog bite injuries. Potentially responsible parties can include:
- The dog’s owner
- Pet sitters
- Dog walkers
- Property owners
- The employer of a negligent pet caregiver
Under Florida comparative fault rules, financial liability is divided between all responsible parties. Our lawyers at Hollander Law Firm, P.A. will locate the dog owner and investigate to find out who else might share the blame.
What Are the Leading Causes of Dog Bites in Fort Lauderdale?
The Humane Society estimates that around 51% of dog bite victims are kids. The rate of dog bites is highest for children between the ages of five and nine. In most cases, the child knows the dog that bites. So why would a dog suddenly change behavior and bite?
Young children generally aren’t good at sensing when a dog’s mood has changed. Dogs most commonly bite when they’re:
- Alarmed or frightened
- Protecting an owner
- Protecting a resting place or their home
- Protecting an object, like a toy or food
- Hurt or sick
- Injured, such as if the child steps on the dog
- Not properly trained
Dogs might view children as prey because they tend to make fast movements. That doesn’t mean the owner is off the hook. Even if the dog has always been friendly, you still have the right to recover compensation. You should, however, expect the insurance company to try shifting some of the blame to the victim.
Dog Bite Injuries Are Often Serious
Dog bites can be serious and even fatal. The victim often suffers much more serious injuries than the bite itself–especially if the dog is large enough to knock the victim to the ground. In addition to ongoing emotional trauma, dog bite victims often suffer:
- Severe lacerations
- Blood loss
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Back injuries
- Nerve damage and loss of function
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death
Unfortunately, child injuries can require the most extensive medical attention. Our primary goal is to hold negligent dog owners fully responsible for the damage you’ve suffered. You deserve full compensation for your losses and we’re here to stand up for your rights.
Statute of Limitations For Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawsuits
In Florida, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit if you were bitten by a dog. If the injuries were fatal, surviving family members have two years to sue for wrongful death.
Damages Available to Dog Bite Victims in Fort Lauderdale, FL
In Florida alone, 1,281 claims for dog bite-related injuries were submitted in 2018. The average cost of a single dog bite injury was $43,893. The most serious dog bite cases that require hospitalization and even surgery are likely to cost much more. Who’s on the hook for these damages? Your health insurance might cover some of the cost.
But what about your ongoing needs? You deserve a fair settlement award that accounts for every aspect of the dog attack.
Our personal injury attorneys at Hollander Law Firm, P.A. will fight to get money for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Reduced earning potential
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, financial support, and other damages for wrongful death
It can take a while to recover from a serious dog bite. Even if your child was the victim, you might have to take time off work to provide care and comfort. You deserve compensation for everything you’ve lost because of the injury. Our Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorneys will fight to get the full amount available.
Call a Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawyer For Help Today
Dog bites and animal attacks are relatively common. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get what you deserve. When you’re dealing with the stress of an injury, you deserve an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer in your corner.
We’ll handle the complexities of filing a personal injury claim. You focus on the complexities of helping your family recover physically and mentally. All you have to do is schedule a free initial consultation with Hollander Law Firm, P.A. today.