Chanfrau & Chanfrau

If You Have Been Hurt by a Vicious Dog, You Need a Dog Bite Attorney

Dog attacks can cause serious injury, disfigurement, long-term medical and psychological problems, and in some cases, death.

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog attack, an attorney with Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help recover damages for losses including pain and suffering and mental anguish. 

What should I do after a dog attack?

Taking the Right Steps

Seek Medical Treatment

Dog bites can lead to serious infections, so it is important to contact a physician for treatment. If the bite is serious and you are badly hurt, call an ambulance or visit an urgent care facility immediately.

Identify the Dog

Try and identify the dog that bit you so that the dog’s owner can be located. The dog’s owner is the responsible party and, most often, their home insurance company will be responsible for paying for your losses.

Report the Attack

Be sure to report the attack to the local sheriff’s agency or county animal control agency and provide them with information about the dog and the owner.

Take Photos

Take photographs of the wound, lacerations, bloody clothing, and (if possible) the dog itself, so that the injury can be clearly seen and documented.

Contact a Dog Bite Attorney

Contact a dog bite attorney as quickly as possible to make sure you collect what you deserve.

A black dog bites a woman's arm
Dog attacks can cause serious injury, disfigurement, long-term medical and psychological problems, or even death.

Why File a Lawsuit?

Cover Related Expenses

A serious dog bite can lead to extensive medical bills, missed days of work, and significant pain and suffering. Collecting compensation from the owner of the dog or their insurance can reduce the impact of these expenses.

Hold Negligent Owners Responsible

All dog owners are required to take the proper amount of care to prevent their pets from causing harm. A lawsuit is a way to hold negligent owners accountable for their actions.

Improve Safety for Others

In some cases, a lawsuit can draw attention to safety issues associated with a certain animal or owner. By shining a light on these concerns, legal action may help protect others from suffering the same injury as you or your loved one did.

There Are Several Reasons a Dog May Attack

Fear

In some cases, dogs bite because they feel threatened or afraid. They may attack a trespasser or unknown person. Owners have a responsibility to know their dogs' temperaments and keep them out of situations that might trigger an attack.

Protection

Dogs may attack when they feel territorial. They may attack to protect their masters or puppies or to defend food. Some dog owners train their animals to protect the property. Owners are obligated to keep their animals from attacking anyone who is not trespassing or posing a threat.

Sickness

Some dogs bite when they are sick or injured. They may feel irritable and snap at the source of the irritation, including small children. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to take measures to protect the safety of others when their dog may be more prone to attack due to any circumstance.

Owners Are Responsible for Protecting Others from Their Pets

Dogs are not completely to blame for their own actions. Their owners also play a significant role in ensuring others are not injured by their animals. Our attorneys can investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and determine whether the owner was negligent.

There Are Two Main Options for Legal Action after a Dog Bite

Insurance Claim

One option after a dog attack is to file an insurance claim with the dog owner's provider. The owner's company will investigate your claim and offer you a settlement. However, it is highly recommended to have any offered settlement assessed by an attorney to ensure you receive an appropriate amount of compensation.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the insurance company refuses to offer a proper settlement or the injuries were too severe to be covered, our team at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help you file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. While this process generally takes longer, it can provide a larger settlement to cover medical bills and other related expenses.

Dog Bites and the Law

Americans love dogs, and most pets are wonderful additions to the family. But some dogs, especially watchdogs, attack innocent people and inflict a great deal of harm. An estimated 800,000 Americans are bitten or mauled by dogs every year, and many of them are children.  Florida law holds dog owners responsible for attacks, so victims can and should pursue compensation for their damages and losses.

In Florida, dog bites are addressed by two areas of civil law. Florida has a specific legal statute that makes dog owners virtual insurers of their dog's conduct, imposing "strict liability." This means that if a dog bites or attacks someone, the dog's owner is automatically liable for any damages. It is not necessary to prove negligence or that the dog was previously known to be aggressive.

In order to be eligible for compensation under premises liability law, the victim must prove a dog owner's negligence. Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises safe and free of hazards for visitors, and dog owners are expected to exercise a "duty of care." The animal should be securely fenced, and if a dog is known to bite, it should be kept away from any visitors to the home. In the case of a dangerous dog, clear warnings must be posted. If these steps are not taken and a dog attacks, the owner can be found negligent.

Dog Bites

Children who are attacked by dogs can be left with lifelong emotional trauma. Dog attacks that leave severe, disfiguring injuries are devastating to the child and the whole family. A client describes her experience when her young daughter was bitten by a relative's dog. After trying unsuccessfully to obtain just compensation from an insurance company, she called Chanfrau & Chanfrau for help.

Pursuing Compensation

Dog bites can have severe physical and emotional ramifications for victims, and pet owners need to be held responsible for the behavior of their animals. A severe injury impacts a family in many ways, and financial compensation is meant to help. Financial damages from responsible parties can be pursued for:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost capacity for the enjoyment of life

At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we represent plaintiffs in dog bite and other personal injury lawsuits. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping victims find justice and compensation for their injuries. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning it costs you nothing unless we obtain a settlement or jury award.

Negligence in Dog Bite Cases

Dog owners may be considered negligent for failing to do something that a reasonable dog owner would have done that could have prevented an attack from happening. The victim in the attack must demonstrate that the dog owner’s negligence resulted in the attack and that the attack led directly to the victim’s injury.

Negligence Per Se 

Under the doctrine of negligence per se, Florida dog owners who violate existing laws geared toward protecting against dog bite attacks may be presumed negligent. If, for example, a dog owner allows his or her dog to roam a housing development without a leash, he or she may be found negligent and face repercussions for each dog bite injury that ensues. 

Exceptions to Dog Bite Liability Laws in Florida

Dog bite liability may not apply to the dog owner:

  • If the victim was on private property or trespassing at the time of the attack
  • If the victim was committing or trying to carry out a criminal act against the owner of the dog
  • If the victim had been previously and appropriately warned of the danger of a dog bite attack
  • If the victim was an animal professional such as a veterinarian or dog trainer who, at the time of the attack, was working with the dog
  • If the victim provoked the dog
  • If the dog was helping the police or military

Contact Our Attorneys

Our premises liability and personal injury lawyers serve clients with the support of a professional legal staff and decades of experience. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact us for a free consultation today.

Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Left to right: William M. Chanfrau Jr., Kelly Chanfrau, and W.M. Chanfrau, Sr.

Chanfrau & Chanfrau has been serving Floridians in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas since 1976. With three attorneys and two locations, we can help you after an accident or injury. We are proud of our many achievements, including inclusion in:

  • America's Top 100 Attorneys
  • The National Trial Attorneys Top 100 List
  • Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite

For more information about our legal services, contact our firm online or call (386) 258-7313 today.

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