If You Have Been Hurt by a Vicious Dog, You Need a Dog Bite Attorney
Dog attacks can cause 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?
Dog Bites Can Cause Injuries
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
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 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.