If you are a victim of a dog bite, or the owner of a dog who has caused injury, the first course of action is to contact a Dog Bite Lawyer. Getting bit by a dog is not as rare as some people may be led to believe. In fact, most people will experience this altercation at some point in their lives. Whether the bite is traumatic or relatively small, it is important for both sides to contact a lawyer.
In the state of Florida, a dog bite is considered negligence on the owner. Because of this, any health issues that may arise from these occurrences fall to the dog owner.
There are a multitude of responsibilities that come with being a dog owner. One of the big risks one takes in owning a dog (not matter the size) is assuming the repercussions if their dog bites someone. However, it is also important to note that dog owners can assume reasonable care if they have taken responsible precautions in ensuring their dog is kept away from other people. This can result is reduced or even cleared charges on the owner’s behalf.
If you are unfamiliar with the laws and regulations of being involved in a dog bite incident, read below for some key highlights. We also give recommendations on steps to take directly after the incident, and we have also provided some additional tips on avoiding dog bites. Dog bites can cause serious harm, and some people are prone to dog bites more than others.
If you currently find yourself in this situation, please contact our Orlando Personal Injury lawyers at 407-999-4957.
Florida’s Dog Bite Law
Each state has its own laws when it comes to dog bite injuries. Florida’s State Law concerning dog bites states,
“The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
This means that no matter where the bit may occur (even on private property), the dog owner is one hundred percent liable in the injury. This is especially prudent in cases when a person presents themselves on a property on a performance of duty as legally required by such companies such as the United States postal service. The law also states,
“However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.”
This indicates that a dog owner can assume reasonable care in a case where a victim sues due to a dog bite injury (see more below). This does not apply for the formerly stated cases in which someone is performing a duty on the property. Even in cases where there is proper signage to warn of aggressive dog behavior, is it still the responsibility of the dog owner to retain their pet while such duties are being performed.
Finding A Dog Bite Lawyer
Most law offices have attorneys that fulfill dog bite cases. At our Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski in Orlando, Florida we provide personal injury lawyers who can represent you in case of a dog injury. If you have been hurt by a dog, or you are being sued as a dog owner, we recommend speaking to one of our professionals. They can go over the specifics of Florida’s Dog Bite Law and answer any questions that you may have. In some cases, it may not be as simple as getting the dog owner to assume all responsibility. For serious injuries, the matter may become more complicated, especially in circumstances when a child is involved.
If you were injured by a dog, you must be able to prove negligence on the owner’s behalf. Likewise, if you are a dog owner in the state of Florida, you have the option to disclose that you have provided reasonable care and warnings of your dogs tendencies. Regardless, it is recommended that you contact one of our lawyers in order to find the easiest route to ensure both parties are satisfied. We are committed to finding the least complicated practice so that the dog bite issue is resolved as quickly as possible.
Most victims of a dog bite look to the dog’s owners to assume responsibility. However, in many cases dog owners can claim reasonable care or negligence on the victim’s behalf. Arguments such as this clearly prevent cases from moving forward. This is why it is important to contact authorities and a lawyer initially after the dog bite. Our Orlando Personal Injury lawyers will be happy to walk you through what you need to do in order to prove negligence. There are many factors to take into consideration immediately after the incident. Failure to do so may result in a lost case or insufficient evidence to prove your claims against the dog owner. If you or a loved one is severely hurt by a dog bite, seek medical attention right away. If you do this, you have already taken the best steps into proving negligence for your case.
The victim should take photos whenever possible to help prove negligence and it is vital that you seek medical attention right away. This is especially important to ensure if the dog bite causes any long-lasting conditions or bacterial health problems. Speaking with the proper authorities also provides documentation which will help in your case of proving negligence on the dog owner’s part.
Carelessness on the owner’s behalf came mean a plethora of things. In most states, the dog’s behavioral past is not taken into consideration when it comes to negligence. This means that the owner is still responsible even if their dog has never shown previous aggressive tendencies. Here are a few things you need to remember when proving negligence:
- Did their negligence directly cause the injury?
- Did the owner try to control the dog’s behavior?
- Did the owner fail to control their dog’s behavior which resulted in the injury?
If you are a dog owner, or a victim whose dog owner is claiming reasonable care, this means that they owner can provide proof of their own. This clause reasons that dog owners must use reasonable care in order to prevent their dogs from causing harm to others. However, it also states that in such cases where a dog bites a burglar for example, the negligence factor does not apply. In similar cases, if a person were to run out on the street to get away from a dog and they get hit by a car, the dog owner can assume reasonable care in the state of Florida if their dog was on a leash or there was a warning sign. If the dog owner claims reasonable care or comparative fault of the victim, this can result in reduced damages. Of course, this is only if the victim is presumed liable in their actions.
As a dog owner, taking responsibility and reasonable care for your pet can ultimately save you in dog bite cases. As mentioned, the state of Florida requires aggressive dogs and certain breeds to display warning signs on private property for unassuming passers-by. If you fail to take these precautions to assume reasonable care, you are at risk of being blamed negligent.
Some forms of reasonable care include:
- Chains, fences, and warning signs, i.e. “Beware of Dog” signs.
- Dog Breeds, i.e. giving verbal precautions on dog’s aggressive behavior to those around.
- Protection Care, i.e. the dog bites a burglar or someone else causing harm on the owner.
Examples of Dog Bite Injuries
90% of animal bites are caused by dogs. Dog bites injuries can cause severe bodily harm. Hospitals record over one million dog bite injuries occur in the United States each year. Over 25,000 dog bites result in the victim to have reparative surgery. Some involve deep contusions into the skin, which may impair the bone, muscles, nerves, or blood vessels. Infections such as rabies and tetanus should be considered after a dog bite and treated immediately. Bites can also cause a risk of infection to the skin, while deeper wounds can cause permanent scarring on the victims.
Statistically, men are more susceptible to dog bites than women. Children between the ages of five and nine are typically bitten more than any other age group, which is why it is important to keep an eye on both while they are in the same vicinity.
Avoiding Dog Bites
Above all, it is reasonable to give suggestions on how to avoid dog bites altogether. If you are a dog owner, this is especially significant if you want to avoid liability for injury. One step a dog owner might take is to enroll their dog in behavioral classes. Socializing your dog to become more familiar with people and other pets is another way to induce stricter behavior. Some other tips to prevent dog bites include keeping them on a tight leash, keeping them out of path of strangers, and paying close attention particularly when children are around.
In retrospect, it is important for people to take aggressive dog warnings seriously. Do not ever tease or goad the animal if it is exhibiting aggressive behavior such as growling, barking, or snarling. If a dog owner warns you not to get too close or to touch their animal, it is important to listen as the owner knows their animal’s behavior best. Also, neglecting clear “Beware of Dog” signs posted on personal property is a strong indicator that you should not approach the dog or the property. In cases where you may be being chased by a dog, be aware of your surroundings and steer clear of streets.
While dog bite injuries remain common, Dog Bite Lawyers take these cases very seriously. It is important for all parties to be aware of their surroundings and take the steps necessary to avoid dog bites altogether. However, in an unassuming case, it is important to take note of the incident and seek medical attention right away. This will provide both parties with reasonable documentation for the case as well as prevent any further bodily damages. The next step is to contact a lawyer that can represent you in case of an injury if you are seeking damages. Dog owners would be wise to take similar actions in the case where they may be able to claim reasonable care.
Despite which side of the fence you are on, contact our Orlando Personal Injury lawyers at our Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski in Orlando, Florida