If you were bit by a dog in Florida, you may be wondering what rights you have. The state of Florida enforces “strict liability” in dog bite cases. Which means that the owner of the dog may be liable for the dog bite incident regardless of whether or not he or she knew that the dog might bite someone. If you or your child are bit by a dog in Florida, you might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
After the incident, it’s important to remain as calm as possible. Making quick movements, yelling, hitting or kicking the dog could provoke it to bite again. Assuming the owner has regained control of their pet, you should assess your injuries and exchange information with the owner. Do not argue with the dog owner. Showing any type of aggression toward the owner could provoke the dog to bite you again.
You will need to get the following information from the dog’s owner:
If the owner of the dog rents their home, sometimes you can pursue a personal injury claim against the landlord. Talk to an attorney about whether or not this is a possible approach to your personal injury claim if you are bit by a dog in Florida.
You can ask the owner if their dog is up to date on its vaccines, but keep other talk about the incident to a minimum. If the bite happened at someone’s home, ask him or her if they can make you copies of the dog’s records. Don’t accept any money or make any deals at the scene. If there are witnesses to the incident, get their names and contact information as well. You should also take photos of your injuries as soon as possible after the incident happens.
If you don’t know who the owner of the dog who bit you is, you need to contact animal control immediately to report the incident.
If you are in extreme pain or if the bite broke the skin you should see your doctor, go to the emergency room or an urgent care. If the wound is minor and you choose not to see a doctor, make sure the wound is kept clean and that you keep an eye out for any sings of infection. If the dog wasn’t up to date on it’s vaccines, you could be at risk of serious illness. Even if the dog was vaccinated, animal bites can easily become infected if not treated properly. It is especially important to seek medical attention for a dog bite if you have a condition that puts you at a greater risk for infection.
The doctor will ask you the following questions:
If you were able to obtain copies of the animals vaccination records from the owner, the doctor will most likely make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shot and give you an antibiotic to ward off an infection. If you can’t obtain proof from the owner that the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccine, you will have to get a rabies shot. If your injuries are severe, you may need stitches or plastic surgery. You shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills that aren’t your fault. That’s why it’s so important to call an attorney with experience in helping people get the compensation they deserve for dog bite incidents.
Oftentimes, when people are bit by a friend, neighbor or relative’s dog they don’t want to seek compensation for medical treatment because they worry about the other person’s financial situation. However, if the owner of the dog has homeowners or renters insurance then their liability coverage should cover your expenses up to their coverage limit.
You will need to report the bite to animal services. As hard as this might be, it’s important because it could stop another person (maybe even a child) from being bitten by this dog in the future.
If the dog bite resulted in serious injury or death, the dog will most likely be confiscated by animal control, held for 10 days and then put down. The owner may be subject to criminal charges ranging from first-degree misdemeanor to third degree felony, depending on the severity of the bite.
After being bit by a dog in Florida, determining the best course of action to get compensated for your injuries can be stressful. Contacting an experienced attorney is the best way to find out whether or not you are entitled to compensation. And you shouldn’t wait. Although the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a dog owner for a dog bite in Florida is four years, the sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can start getting your life back on track.
If you are bit by a dog in Florida, the experienced attorneys at Roy & Associates, P.A., can help you figure out whether or not you have a case. Give us a call today for a free consultation at 561-729-0095 or schedule a free consultation online.