If you were hurt in a dog attack in Gainesville, you may be entitled to hold the owner liable for compensation. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., our lawyers have been fighting to get fair compensation for dog bite victims for over 20 years.
To learn more about how an experienced Gainesville dog bite lawyer can protect your legal rights after an attack, give us a call today. Your initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose by calling.
How Can An Experienced Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer Help With My Dog Bite Case?
Florida imposes strict liability on the dog owner when a dog bites. That might make you think getting fair compensation will be easy. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
Pet owners often fiercely defend their dogs. In most cases, their homeowner’s insurance company will get involved.
The insurance company will do everything they can to minimize the value of your claim. They’ll blame the victim almost every time.
An experienced Gainesville personal injury attorney can be key to preventing an extended legal battle. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., we’ll work tirelessly to help you successfully resolve your claim and help you get the fair compensation you deserve. When you hire us, our attorneys will:
- Identify any witnesses to the accident
- Work to see whether the dog has a history of viciousness
- Investigate to find out whether the owner took proper precautions to keep you safe
- Stand up for you when the insurance company tries to blame you for provoking the attack
- Negotiate and handle all communications with the insurance company
The legal system can be complex enough. Insurance companies only make the process more overwhelming. They have teams of defense lawyers who are trained to reduce the value of your claim. You deserve to have an accomplished team in your corner to even the score.
If you or your child were injured in a dog bite accident in Gainesville, don’t hesitate to call our law offices for help.
How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries?
About 78.5 million dogs reside in homes across the United States. Many of these dogs are friendly and well-trained.
However, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, nearly five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year.
Most dog bite victims are children–which makes sense, because kids don’t always understand how dangerous animals can be when provoked.
Some dog breeds are statistically more likely to bite than others. Those breeds include:
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
Florida reported the second-highest dollar figure for dog bite claims in 2017 at an average of $44,700 per claim.
Overview of Florida Dog Bite Laws
Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. That means dog owners are responsible for any injuries their dogs cause even if they weren’t negligent. It doesn’t matter if the owner knew that the dog was vicious. It also doesn’t matter whether the dog has bitten before.
As long as you were lawfully on private property or in a public space, the dog owner can usually be held strictly liable for any damage caused by the pet.
The Florida statute does throw a complication into the mix if you were on the dog owner’s property when the attack occurred. If the owner displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent place, you will have to prove the owner was negligent to recover damages for your dog bite injuries.
Dangerous Dog Law
Under Florida’s dangerous dog law, owners of dogs that are deemed “dangerous” must take extra precautions or face potential criminal charges. A particularly aggressive dog may be declared dangerous if:
- The dog has already attacked, bitten or caused severe injury to a person who is on public property or lawfully on private property
- The dog has seriously injured or killed another animal more than once
- The dog has aggressively chased or approached another person in a menacing fashion without provocation on public property
Once declared dangerous, the owner must register the dog with animal control authorities. Dangerous dogs must be kept in a secure and confined area. When the owner takes the dog out, the dog must be kept restrained. If a dangerous dog bites without provocation, the owner can be subject to criminal penalties.
Owners of dangerous dogs are also responsible for paying compensation to the dog bite victim. However, if the owner has proper warning signs in place, the owner may be entitled to escape liability as long as the victim is older than age six.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for My Dog Bite Injuries?
In most cases, the dog’s owner will be held financially responsible if a dog bites. Other potentially responsible parties include:
- Dog walkers
- Property owners
- Pet sitters
Multiple parties can share responsibility for an animal attack. If you were hurt, get in touch with a Gainesville dog bite attorney for legal advice. We’ll investigate to identify all responsible parties to get the most compensation possible for you.
We Handle All Dog Bite Cases in Gainesville
Dog bite injuries can quickly become serious. Deep cuts can become infected and dangerous. If the dog wasn’t properly vaccinated, the results can be deadly. Our lawyers can help you get the quality medical attention you deserve. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., our premises liability lawyers handle all types of dog bite injury cases in Gainesville, including those that cause:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Lost limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Nerve damage
- Joint injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
- And more
Any serious injury can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. It might be even more difficult to cope if your child was hurt.
Our lawyers are always here to explain how we can protect your legal rights. Whenever you’re ready to learn more, reach out to our law firm for a free consultation.
Time is Limited
State law limits the amount of time you have to sue for damages. It’s important to act quickly even when you’re facing a long physical recovery.
Florida law gives you four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The clock starts running on the day the dog bite happened. Once four years have passed, you lose your right to compensation.
Remember, it can take time to build your case and file the necessary paperwork. Our lawyers are ready to get the process started. All you have to do is call.
Can I Recover Damages if I Provoked the Dog?
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you don’t lose your right to compensation if you were partly to blame. Your compensation award will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. In other words, to the extent your own actions caused the accident.
This rule is also reflected in the dog bite law. The dog owner’s responsibility for damages is reduced to the extent that you’re also found partly to blame for the dog bite accident.
If you did something to provoke the dog, the insurance company could accuse you of negligence. If they succeed, that could lower your overall compensation award. Our lawyers are here to fight back. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help in your case.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
Valuing any personal injury claim can be complex. Florida personal injury law generally gives you the right to be made whole again after an accident. You’re entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. Our lawyers at Allen Law Firm, P.A. will also fight to win compensation for:
- Future medical bills
- Lost future earning potential
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitative care
- Nursing care
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damages for wrongful death
Our lawyers have been handling personal injury cases for more than 20 years. We have contacts with the leading experts in medicine, finance, psychology and other relevant specialties. We’ll use those experts to offer strong evidence about the value of your case.
Our personal injury attorneys are ready to put our experience and resources to work for you. If you’re interested in learning more, contact our team today.
Call a Trusted Gainesville Dog Bite Lawyer for Help Today
They say that dogs are man’s best friend. While that can be true, they can still cause serious injuries when they attack. We know that you might not know where to start if you’ve been seriously hurt. An experienced Gainesville dog bite lawyer at Allen Law Firm, P.A. can help.
If you or a loved one were injured by a dog bite, call or contact our office for a free consultation today. We’ll sit down and discuss your options for getting fair compensation.