Dogs might be “man’s best friend,” however, they can also be unpredictable and attack people, causing severe injuries. Children are often victims of dog bite injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost half of all dog bite injuries involve children under 12.
The results of dog bite injuries can create a cascading parade of emotional trauma, medical bills, physical trauma, and scarring. If you or your child have been the victim of a dog bite, you don’t have to face the aftermath alone. GED Lawyers has a Naples dog bite lawyer ready to fight to get you compensation for your injuries. Our dog bite team knows how to apply the dog bite laws in Florida and will fight for you.
Understanding Florida Dog Bite Laws
Dog laws exist, but only a few people understand them. In Florida, there is a “strict liability” policy, which means a dog owner is held liable for their dog’s actions. This includes cases where dog owners don’t expect their dogs to act viciously. Often, a family pet will be gentle and docile until something unexpected occurs, causing them to act out by biting the nearest person.
Unlike ordinary criminal law, there are very few requirements under the burden of proof. Dog bite victims merely need to prove that the dog bit them and that the attack occurred on public property or that the victim was legally on private property as a guest.
Dangerous Dog Laws in Florida
Florida Statutes § 767.11 defines a dangerous dog as one that has:
- Bitten, endangered, attacked, or inflicted severe injury to a human being
- Attacked on private or public property
- Severely injured or killed another domestic animal on property owned by another
- Acted aggressively by chasing or approaching a person unprovoked
Even without breed restriction laws, it can be pretty easy for a dog to be classified as vicious under Florida law. Suppose your injuries qualify to have the dog classified as a dangerous dog. In that case, you may benefit by seeking the counsel of a dog bite attorney.
What Damages Can a Victim Recover?
People often wonder what compensation they can receive after a dog bite. Much of the value of a case depends on the severity of your injuries. However, some of the general areas we consider for compensation include:
- Medical treatment costs. This area may include an ambulance, emergency treatment, hospitalization, medications, surgeries, reconstructive surgery, and all follow-up care relating to the attack.
- Lost wages. Suppose you miss work due to dog bite injuries. In that case, our dog bite team will seek compensation that includes your wages, lost commissions, bonuses, promotions, raises, and lost future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. This compensates you for the things that don’t have a direct monetary cost, such as mental anguish, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Every dog attack must be treated differently, meaning your compensation may look very different from another similar dog bite case. The factors that affect compensation vary widely.
Factors That Affect Compensation
Three general areas determine compensation:
- Visible injuries
- Disabling injuries
- Long-term effects of injuries
Visible injuries can create strong emotional reactions in people. Scarring, disfigurement, or dismemberment (loss of limbs or appendages) can create a visual image of your suffering from your injuries.
Disabling injuries keeps you from returning to your former way of life and can affect every aspect of your life. If your injuries keep you from returning to work, the impact is much more significant on you and your family.
Some dog bite injuries are superficial. A few stitches and a minor scar won’t affect your life. However, more severe attacks can create long-term effects that follow you through life. These can include physical effects from scarring and psychological effects from trauma.
If you have questions about how a dog bite injury may affect your life and family, seeking a free case evaluation from a Naples dog bite lawyer will help answer your questions.
Exploring Your Options
Some of the options you have in filing a lawsuit for a dog attack under Florida law include the following:
- Filing a claim with the dog owner’s insurance provider
- Having the dog owner pay your expenses out of pocket
- Filing a lawsuit against the dog owner
To further explore your options, consulting with a dog bite attorney can be beneficial. They are familiar with Florida laws, can investigate while you recover, and will file all the necessary paperwork on time. The Florida statute of limitations for dog bite cases filed under negligence is two years, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a).
Is There an Average Compensation Amount?
In a word? No, there is no average or standard amount of compensation. Each case will be weighed on its factors, as discussed above. A minor injury case might only cover the costs of medical procedures. These are considered economic damages.
In more extreme cases with severe injuries, additional compensation may be awarded based on factors without direct monetary value. This type of compensation is known as non-economic damages. This area places a financial valuation on things that can’t be purchased.
What a Law Firm Does to Help Victims
The first thing our Naples dog bite lawyer does is provide information, guidance, and advice on your next steps. You can gain valuable information without investing a dime in a free case evaluation. Our dog bite team works with no upfront fees.
Speaking with a personal injury lawyer makes excellent sense. They are trained and know Florida laws. When you hire a dog bite attorney, they can do the following for you:
- Investigate the incident
- Collect police or animal control reports
- Interview witnesses
- Gather your medical information on the extent of your injuries
- Collect photos and video from the scene (if available)
- File all appropriate paperwork
- Manage negotiations with the at-fault party
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf
- Pursue your case through the court if necessary
Having a Naples dog bite attorney to guide you through this process can prove beneficial. While our dog bite team works on your claim, you can relax and recover from your injuries.
What to Do After a Naples Dog Bite Injury
If a dog attacked you in Naples, FL, our dog bite team could work with you to sort out the details to fight for your compensation. When someone’s dog attacks you, you should not have to pay medical and other related costs for their negligence.