A dog bite or any animal attack can be an extremely traumatic and costly experience in more ways than one. According to the American Family Physician (AAFP), dog bites account for over 300,000 emergency room visits and over $50 million in inpatient medical expenses each year in the United States.
It’s hard to know where to turn after you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack in Boca Raton. However, the Boca Raton dog bite attorneys at the Eltringham Law Group specialize in this area of Florida law and can help you in this difficult time.
Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Florida?
When you are hurt in a dog attack in Boca Raton, you have the right to sue the dog’s owner to seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses. However, these cases are not always cut-and-dry.
While Florida laws may be stricter than many other states on dog owners following an attack, ordinances vary from county to county. Therefore, you must employ the help of a Boca Raton personal injury attorney who is experienced with these cases and familiar with local laws. The experienced and compassionate dog bite lawyers at Eltringham Law Group in Florida can help you sue the dog owner and get you the compensation you are owed.
What Are the Dog Bite Laws in Florida?
Every state has its own laws regarding vicious animals, dog bite liability, and other issues related to animal attacks and ownership. After a dog bite in Florida, it’s important to know about the dangerous dog statute and Florida’s strict liability laws.
Florida is a strict liability state, which means that even if the dog owner had no previous knowledge that the dog might be dangerous, the dog owner is still liable for the dog’s behavior.
If you were attacked by a dog in Florida, the strict liability laws typically favor you as the dog bite victim, making it easier for you to receive compensation for your injuries. However, there are some exceptions to strict liability, like if you were unlawfully on someone’s property, provoking the dog, or acting aggressively towards the dog owner.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims following an animal attack is four years. You will need to act quickly to ensure all the evidence is preserved and that you are within the deadline to file a dog bite lawsuit.
Dangerous Dog Statute
In Boca Raton, there is a legal definition for what is considered a dangerous animal. According to §767.10-767.16, a “dangerous dog” is any dog which:
- Has aggressively bitten or attacked a person in a public place or lawful private place
- Has killed another domestic animal more than once
- Has chased or endangered a person while unprovoked in a public place
If a dog is considered dangerous by the proper authority, then the dog owner must take certain measures, including confining the dog to an enclosed area, posting warning signs, and more. Dog owners who do not follow these precautions for their dangerous dogs are liable.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Attack in Boca Raton?
If the following circumstances are true, the dog owner is typically considered liable, and you should receive compensation if you pursue a dog attack lawsuit:
- You were in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
- You were not acting aggressively towards the dog or the dog owner.
- No “bad dog” signs were displayed.
However, the dog owner may try to build a case against you to prove your negligence, trespassing, or something else that could relieve them of their liability. It’s important to talk to a dog bite lawyer so that they can guide you through the legal procedures and get you the result you’re looking for.
What Happens if You Are Bitten by a Dog?
Dogs have strong jaws and sharp teeth that can cause significant damage in an attack on a human. You may be left with broken bones, an eye injury, a concussion, bruises, open wounds, lacerations, and even internal injuries.
Additionally, up to 18% of dog bites eventually become infected because of bacteria or viruses found in canine saliva. Potential infections include Rabies, MRSA, Tetanus, and Pasteurella. If you are bitten by a dog, it’s essential that you seek immediate medical treatment and contact a trusted Boca Raton dog bite attorney.
Proving the Dog Owner’s Liability in Boca Raton
In every case, you must prove a few things to get the financial help you need to address your injuries’ physical and emotional impact. For example, your dog bite lawyer will attempt to prove:
- You were not negligent in the attack: The dog owners and their lawyers may try to pin the blame on you by saying, for example, that you provoked the attack. You could receive less compensation if the judge agrees, so we will do what we can to negate this claim.
- The dog had a history of aggressive behavior: Even if there was no prior incident, a dog owner could be held liable for an attack under Florida law. However, establishing a pattern of behavior can help strengthen your case, especially if the owner did not take common-sense steps to prevent your attack.
- The owner did not display the appropriate warning signs: Florida Code §767.04 limits the dog owner’s liability if they had a clear and easy-to-read sign with the words “Bad Dog” posted on their property. If the owner fails to post this warning, we will make a case that they should be held liable for their pet’s actions.
What if My Dog Bites Someone in Florida?
It can be an equally scary situation if your dog is the one that bites someone. Even though Florida has strict liability laws, you may not be fully liable for the dog bite lawsuit if you and your dog attack lawyer can prove a few things:
- The dog bite victim was unlawfully on your property.
- The injured party was provoking, assaulting, or endangering your dog.
- The dog was defending you against the dog bite victim.
Additionally, posting dangerous dog signs and following other rules for dangerous dogs does not officially let you off the hook, but it can help make your case stronger.
What Compensation Can I Get if I File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
When you come in for your free consultation at Eltringham Law Group, a Boca Raton dog bite lawyer will discuss the financial relief you may be due. These funds can help offset the impact of the dog attack on your life. If you file a dog bite claim, you may be entitled to compensation, including:
- Present and future medical bills
- Present and future lost wages and future estimated earnings
- Damages stemming from present and future pain, scarring, and mental suffering
- Damaged or destroyed property
Often, dog owners may have homeowners’ insurance that covers animal attacks. Our Boca Raton lawyers can determine the liable party’s policy and handle negotiations with adjusters from the homeowners’ insurance carrier.
What to Do After a Dangerous Animal Attack in Boca Raton
Taking the appropriate action after a dog bite or other animal attack is critical not just for possible legal action but also for your health.
- Seek medical care, especially for puncture wounds and serious injuries. If possible, take pictures of your wounds for documentation before undergoing treatment.
- Exchange information with the dog’s owner, including name, address, and phone number, so that you can contact them to verify the dog’s vaccination history. If the dog has a tag on its collar of any kind with registration, name, or any other information, take down that information or take a picture of the dog tag.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses to the event, as this could be one of the most crucial parts of your case. You may need a witness to back up your claim so that it is not just your word against the dog owner.
- File a report with animal control and the local police where the animal attack occurred. Depending on the location, one or both agencies will file reports, document the incident, and start an investigation of their own which could also help your case.
- Document and take notes of all injuries associated with the dog bite or animal attack, including details of the damage, pain levels, decreased mobility, and other effects. Keep daily photographs of your injuries to show any progression or digression.
Do I Need a Dog Bite Lawyer After a Dog Attack in Boca Raton?
After you’ve addressed the necessary steps following an animal attack, you’ll want to talk to a dog bite lawyer in Boca Raton. Even though Florida dog bite laws tend to favor the dog attack victim, there are still many nuisances and considerations that an experienced dog bite attorney in Boca Raton can sort out for you to prepare a strong personal injury case for you.
While you focus on recovering from your dog bite injuries, your legal team can take over to prove the dog owner’s liability and fight for the compensation you deserve. When you choose Eltringham Law Group to represent you following a dog bite involving personal injury, here is what you can expect from our trusted legal team:
- No upfront costs
- Free virtual case reviews
- Time to focus on your needs
- In-depth investigations
- Legal representation on your behalf
Contact a Compassionate Boca Raton Dog Bite Attorney Today
After a dangerous animal attack in Florida, you need a reliable Boca Raton dog bite lawyer to fight for compensation on your behalf. Turn to a trusted dog bite injury attorney who has the experience and track record to build you a strong animal attack case. At Eltringham Law Group, we have your best interests in mind.
Contact us to get more information about how our dog attack lawyers in Boca Raton can serve you. We’ll discuss with you how we can help recover the financial and emotional damages you incurred due to the incident. Get a free case review today.