Dog bites can result in severe consequences, including injury and death. The Santa Rosa Beach dog bite lawyers of The Bruner Law Firm represent people who’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog. If you have been injured in a dog attack, one of our dog bite attorneys could review your case and work to obtain the compensation you need due to your injuries.
To discuss your legal options with an experienced Santa Rosa Beach dog bite injury attorney, contact The Bruner Law Firm by calling us at (850) 608-8715 or contacting us online for a free case evaluation.
Can I Sue If I Am Bitten by a Dog in Florida?
Every day, hundreds of people require emergency treatment because of serious dog bite injuries. In fact, dog bites are one of the top causes of nonfatal injuries in the United States. If a dog injured you, you might be wondering if you can sue for compensation to cover your losses resulting from your dog bite injury.
Florida is a strict liability state. That means that if a dog bites and injures you, you may seek compensation for the physical, mental, and financial consequences of the dog’s owner. This law means that the dog’s owner is liable for the dog bite injuries regardless of whether they knew that the dog might bite someone. Therefore, you do not need to prove that the owner was negligent to recover compensation. Instead, you are only required to establish that you had a legal right to be where you were and that the animal was not provoked.
Legal Right to Be in the Location
To file a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite, you must show that you had a legal right to be where you were when the attack occurred. For example, if you were walking through someone’s backyard and were bitten by the property owner’s dog, you may not be able to recover compensation because you were trespassing at the time of the incident. However, if the attack occurred while you were walking on a public sidewalk, you may be able to recover compensation because you had a legal right to be on the sidewalk.
Was the Dog Provoked or in Protection Mode?
You might not be able to recover compensation if the dog was in an acceptable protection mode. For example, if you were attacking someone and the dog attempted to protect that person by biting you, you may be barred from recovering compensation. In addition, if there is a warning on the owner’s property that the dog may attack and you ignore the sign, you may not be able to recover compensation unless one of the following applies:
- The victim was under six years old.
- The attack was directly caused by the owner’s negligent action or inaction
Additionally, if the victim provoked the dog in any way, the recoverable compensation may be reduced because of the comparative negligence rule.
Florida has a comparative negligence rule. According to this rule, if someone contributes to the incident that resulted in their injury, their recoverable compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if someone provoked a dog, a court might find that they were 60 percent at fault because of the provocation. As a result, the compensation the person who was bitten could recover would only be 40 percent of their accident-related losses.
Does Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Often, when a dog bites someone, the dog belongs to a friend, acquaintance, or family member. People are reluctant to obtain the money they need for the treatment of their dog bite from their friend or family member because they fear the relationship could be damaged as a result. However, your Santa Rosa dog bite lawyer could handle an insurance claim without you and your friend having to be directly involved in the pursuit of compensation.
Typically, the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renters’ insurance could cover injuries resulting from dog bites. Although not every insurance policy covers such injuries, the policy will specify whether dog bites are covered injuries. To receive compensation from an insurance company, you must file an insurance claim if the dog bite is covered.
What Kind of Attorney Handles Dog Bite Cases?
Personal injury attorneys handle claims that involve accidental injuries to other people, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, etc. For example, if a dog attacked you, you should hire a dog bote lawyer in Santa Rosa Beach because they know how to maximize the money you receive for the dog bite injury.
Hiring a dog bite injury attorney will allow you to focus solely on your recovery. Your attorney then focuses on getting you the maximum compensation possible for your case. The attorneys of The Bruner Law Firm will provide the following:
- Investigation of the incident
- Review of potential insurance coverage
- Review of the expenses resulting from the dog bite
- Drafting and sending a demand letter for your deserved compensation
- Obtain copies of your medical records and bills
- Negotiation of a settlement agreement
- Taking your case to trial if necessary
Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
If you were injured in a dog attack, you are entitled to pursue compensation to cover your financial losses and to compensate you for any intangible losses you suffered. In Florida, you may recover the compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits in Florida allows a four-year window to file. This means you have four years from the day of the dog bite to file your personal injury suit. If you fail to file the lawsuit within the required timeframe, you may be barred from recovering compensation in court.
Contact a Santa Rosa Beach Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a dog attack, having a dog bite lawyer with experience on your side can affect how much compensation you recover. The Santa Rosa Beach personal injury attorneys of The Bruner Law Firm understand how to deal with dog bite cases, from dealing with insurance adjusters to taking the case to trial.