Almost 4.5 million people in America are injured from a dog bite every year. No matter the size or breed of the dog, any occurrence of a bite can lead to life-threatening infections, severe injuries, and even permanent disfigurement. In the state of Florida, dog owners are financially responsible for any damage their dogs inflict. If you have been bitten by a dog in Destin, FL, you can be compensated when you seek legal counsel.
At Fasig | Brooks, our experienced Destin personal injury attorneys have successfully handled dog bite claims. We fully understand your legal rights and Florida’s dog bite laws, and we work hard to negotiate the best outcome for our clients.
Dog Bite Law in Florida
If you have a dog in Florida, you can be held strictly liable for any injuries caused by your dog. Strict liability means that the victim has to prove that they were bitten by a dog, not that the owner was negligent or was aware that their dog tended to bite. In fact, the dog owner could take incredible pains to ensure that a dog bite would not occur and still be held liable if they failed.
According to Section 767.04, “the owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
Essentially, dog owners are liable for any bites sustained on public or private property. It does not matter if the owner is aware of their dog’s tendency to bite or be aggressive.
As we mentioned, Florida dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their pets cause, but there are limits to their liability.
Section 767.04 notes, “any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the dog owner by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.”
Therefore, any damages that can be recovered hinge on whether the dog was provoked to such an extent that it was defending itself or being reactive. A judge or jury will discover if the dog was aggravated through no fault of their own; if this is the case, your financial compensation will be limited by your degree of personal responsibility.
Please note that children under the age of six are not held to these regulations and rules as they can’t understand the full extent of their actions and consequences.
Negligence of Property Owner
Other parties may be responsible for your dog bite injuries and the dog owner. If you got bitten by a dog on privately-owned property, the owner might be liable if they were aware that a violent and aggressive dog was on the premises and failed to let you know. An example would be visiting an apartment complex, and the landlord knew a dangerous dog lived there.
Signs and Warnings
Dog owners may also not be held liable for dog bite damages if the dog bite occurred on their private property, and the owner displayed a large, clearly visible sign warning people of their dog. At this point, one must establish that the dog owner was still negligent in order to be held responsible for the bite injuries.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Personal injury lawyers can help you recover monetary compensation if a dog has bitten you. Injuries from dog bites can include:
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Nerve and soft tissue damage
If you were bitten by a dog and suffered an injury, it is essential that you get medical treatment as soon as possible. Injuries can result in severe infections and health complications if left untreated.
Compensation for Dog Bites
There are two types of financial compensation you may be entitled to in Florida if you have filed a dog bite lawsuit: economic and non-economic damages:
Economic damages are meant to compensate dog bite victims for any financial-related matters that arise from the dog bite injury. These include any out-of-pocket costs along with any potential future costs. Some examples of economic damages include:
- Corrective surgery
- Lost wages
While economic damages focus on medical bills, lost wages, treatment, and healing, non-economic damages refer to areas in your recovery that are more difficult to quantify monetarily. These areas include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
SStatute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Destin
Any time you are involved in an accident, you should try to act as quickly as possible. In Florida, you have four years from the date of your injury to file a claim to seek compensation. If you miss the statute of limitations, you will never be able to recover the money you are legally entitled to.
The good news is you can focus on your healing and let your experienced dog bite lawyer in Florida handle your claim after your injury. Call the legal team at Fasig | Brooks for your free case evaluation.
Contact Dog Bite Attorneys in Florida
If you have been hurt because of a dog bite in Florida, call Fasig | Brooks right away to hold the dog’s owner responsible for your pain and suffering. We will help you recover the money you need to pay for costly medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional trauma of being attacked.
We never stop fighting to get you fairly compensated for your tragedy.