South Florida Dog Bite Lawyer: Serving South Floridians Who Suffer Dog Bite Injuries
Millions of Americans enjoy having canine companions and the benefits of dog ownership.
But owning any pet comes with responsibilities, and those who have animals must ensure the safety of others who come in contact with them—particularly dog owners.
Most of the time, a dog bite injury will happen at the home or property where a dog lives. Dog bites can also commonly happen in neighborhoods or dog parks. Each year, more than 600 people in Florida are hospitalized due to dog bites according to the Florida Department of Health. About 2 people die from dog bite injuries in Florida each year.
Almost any dog can cause harm if it attacks or bites another person, especially when children or the elderly are the victims. Statistics show that nearly 1 out of every 5 dog bites results in the need for medical attention. Dog bites resulted in over 28,000 people undergoing reconstructive surgery in 2015.
One of the first questions that victims have after an unprovoked dog attack in Florida is "who will pay the medical bills?"
Dog bites can cause extensive damage, and even a seemingly minor bite can cause a life-threatening infection that needs medical care. Treatment for a dog bite, large or small, can quickly lead to expensive bills from the hospital for emergency care, surgery, infection control, and other types of follow-up care.
Dog bites can lead to a need for stitches and even plastic surgery.
Florida law is clear about the responsibility that dog owners have when a dog hurts someone, and victims of dog bites have the right to seek compensation from the animal’s owner in a court of law through a personal injury lawsuit.
Sometimes people are hesitant to sue someone after a dog bite because chances are high that you were bit by a dog that belongs to someone you know – perhaps a neighbor, a friend, or even a family member. You should know that in most cases, "suing someone" actually means you're suing their insurance company. Most of the time, when you're bitten by a dog, the dog owner's home insurance company will be who steps in to provide an attorney to handle the case and to provide the money needed for your medical care and settlement.
Compensation If You've Been Bitten By A Dog In Florida
When a dog bites someone in Florida, the owner has responsibility for the injuries that the animal inflicts. This applies if the bite happens in a public place such as in a park or on the sidewalk. It also applies if the bite happens on private property, including the dog owner’s property, as long as the victim is on the property lawfully and not as a trespasser. Having a sign that says "Bad Dog" can possibly limit the owner's duty in some cases, but it will never limit the owner's duty if the victim is 6 years old or younger.
Some states follow a “one bite” rule that reduces liability for dog owners if the dog has never bitten anyone or displayed vicious behavior in the past. Florida, however, does not protect owners in this way. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs and can be held liable for even the first incident or attack. Even if a dog has never shown aggression before, the owner is fully responsible under Florida law if the dog bites someone.
If the dog is on a rental property and is known to be vicious, the property owner may also share in the liability if he did not take steps to ensure that the property was safe.
Common Dog Bite Injuries in South Florida
When a dog attacks, it can be a terrifying and painful experience for victims and cause life-altering injuries. Some common dog bite injuries include:
Puncture wounds from dog attacks
Even a quick dog bite can leave a puncture wound that’s prone to infection and in need of medical attention, cleaning, and stitches.
Broken bones from dog bites
Many dog bites are powerful enough to break the bones of humans. Breaking bones is especially common if you're bitten on the hand.
Nerve injuries from dog bites
A powerful dog bite can sever muscle, tendon, and nerves, causing a permanent loss of sensation. No matter where you're bit, nerve injuries could be a possible side effect of a dog bite.
Permanent scars from dog bites
A dog bite can cause lasting disfigurement that may require skin grafts and plastic surgery to heal properly. While plastic surgery may be needed regardless of where the bite occurred, it is especially common if people are bitten on the face or hands.
Emotional trauma from dog attacks
Dog bites are frightening, and the memory of the experience can be a traumatic experience for the victim.
A vicious dog attack can cause injuries to the eyes, nose, or face, and the victim can lose fingers, toes, and even an entire limb either due to the attack or due to necessary surgical amputation after the bite.
Infection is also possible after even a small bite. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Capnocyptophaga, or Pasteurella infections are common after a dog bite in South Florida.
Rabies is relatively rare thanks to vaccination programs, but it is fatal in almost 100 percent of cases when not treated immediately. If a dog bites you, and it'd vaccination status is unknown, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. If you're ever bitten by a domesticated animal with an unknown vaccination history, or a stray animal, getting rabies vaccines and treatment immediately is necessary. Although rabies is very rare, once you begin to develop symptoms the rabies is already deadly. The only way to avoid a rabies death is to get treatment ASAP after a possible exposure.
Were You Bite By A Dog In Florida? Dog Bite Attorney Offers FREE consultations
If you were injured by a dog bite or dog attack you need to speak to an experienced Florida dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Coral Springs office directly at (954) 755-7803 to schedule your free consultation.
We proudly serve Florida residents including all of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and all points in between.