If you or a loved one were hurt by someone else’s dog, speak with an experienced Ocala dog bite lawyer for help getting fair compensation for your injuries. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., our personal injury attorneys will fight to win full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
We offer a free consultation so that injured clients can get the legal advice they need. Call or contact our law offices to schedule yours today.
Why it’s Important to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Dog Bite in Ocala
Dog bites are taken seriously under Florida law. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets. Despite this, getting fair compensation isn’t always easy. When insurance companies get involved, you should expect them to do everything they can to pay less than you deserve.
An experienced Ocala personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process. We’re here to look out for your best interests and protect your rights.
When you hire Allen Law Firm, P.A., our attorneys will:
- Investigate to see whether the dog has any history of vicious or aggressive behavior
- Stand up to insurance companies so that they take your case seriously
- Consult with experts who can help accurately value your injury claim
- Negotiate with the insurance company when they try to blame you or your child for the dog’s actions
Navigating the insurance claims process can be much more complicated than you might think. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping clients get what they need to move on with their lives. We’re ready to put those skills to work for you.
To learn more about how a lawyer with a proven track record of success can maximize your compensation award, call to arrange a free consultation today.
How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries?
About 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Some dog bite victims are fortunate enough to walk away unscathed. However, that’s not always the case.
Approximately 1,000 Americans require emergency room care to treat dog bite injuries every day.
About 14,025 people are hospitalized because of dog bite injuries each year. In 2018 alone, 27,000 Americans underwent reconstructive surgery to correct disfigurement caused by dog bites. Unfortunately, children are much more likely to be bitten by a dog than adults.
Statistically, the dog breeds that are most likely to bite include:
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Lhasa Apso
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Bull Terrier
The cost of dog bite injuries is substantial. In 2019, homeowners’ insurance companies paid out about $797 million in liability claims stemming from dog bite injuries. On average, the cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay is $18,200.
Understanding the Dog Bite Laws in Ocala, FL
Under Florida law, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs if the victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property.
When a dog bites, the owner can be held responsible for compensating the animal attack victim regardless of whether the dog has any past history of vicious behavior.
Despite this, it isn’t always easy to get the full compensation you deserve. Comparative negligence rules do apply in dog bite cases.
In other words, the dog owner’s liability for damages can be reduced if you were partly to blame for the attack. For example, if the insurance company blames you for provoking the dog, that could reduce your eventual compensation award.
Are There Any Situations Where a Dog Bite Victim Must Prove the Dog Owner Was Negligent?
Dog owners can escape liability for dog bite injuries by placing a warning sign that includes the words “bad dog.” The sign must be clearly readable. Dog owners who place adequate warning signs are only responsible for damages if you can prove they were somehow negligent.
This exception to the general strict liability rule to victims of dog bites or attacks who are under the age of six.
Florida Dangerous Dog Law
Dog owners can be held criminally responsible for injuries inflicted by their dog if the dog has been classified as “dangerous.” Under Florida law, a dangerous dog is one who has:
- Aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered, or inflicted serious injury, on a person in the past
- Severely injured or killed a domestic animal on more than one occasion while off the owner’s property
- Unprovoked, chased or approached a person on the streets, sidewalks or public spaces in a menacing way or an apparent attitude of attack
Even if this is the case, a dog cannot be classified as dangerous if one of the following was true:
- The person subject to the initial attack was trespassing
- The victim was lawfully on the owner’s property, but was tormenting, assaulting or abusing the dog, the dog owner or a family member
- The dog was protecting someone in the immediate vicinity from an unjustified assault or attack
Owners of dangerous dogs are required to take strict precautions to keep others safe from the dog. The owner must keep the dog in a secure location and place appropriate warning signs so that others know a dangerous dog is present.
If you were attacked by a dangerous dog, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injury. Give us a call today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Is There a “One Bite” Rule in Florida?
A one bite rule is a rule that allows dog owners to escape liability if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
Florida doesn’t have a one-bite rule. You can pursue your right to compensation even if the dog has never bitten before.
Evidence of a prior bite can, however, be helpful in establishing that the dog owner was somehow negligent.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For My Dog Bite Injuries?
Under the Florida comparative fault laws, multiple parties can be held responsible for damages after a dog bite. That means anyone who’s actions or omissions contributed to the cause of the injuries can be held liable for paying damages.
Responsible parties may include:
- The dog owner
- A dog walker
- Pet sitters
- Employers of pet sitters, dog walkers and dog caregivers
- Property owners
Homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bite injuries. However, if the dog owner wasn’t a homeowner or doesn’t have insurance, it may be necessary to explore other options for getting fair compensation.
We’ll Work Tirelessly to Get Fair Compensation For All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
The dog bite itself can cause serious health complications. However, dog bite victims commonly suffer much more extensive injuries. An aggressive dog can easily knock the victim to the ground, causing injuries above and beyond the wound itself.
Our lawyers handle all types of dog bite injury cases, including those that cause:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death
Getting back on your feet after an injury can be emotionally and physically difficult. You shouldn’t have to worry about financial problems on top of that. Our premises liability lawyers will handle every aspect of your case so that you can work on recovering. Just give us a call today to get started.
Time is Limited to File a Claim
Under Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations, you only have four years to file a dog bite injury claim. Insurance companies might impose much shorter timelines.
To start the legal process, you only have to make a phone call. Our lawyers are always available to get started on the work needed to preserve your rights.
Damages Available for Dog Bite Victims in Ocala
When you file an insurance claim based on a dog bite injury, you’re entitled to the same types of compensation you’d get in a personal injury lawsuit or if you were in a car accident. If the insurance company negotiates fairly, it’s often possible to avoid a lawsuit entirely.
Our lawyers will put together a strong, evidence-backed claim to get compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Lost future earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Reconstructive or cosmetic surgery
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damages for wrongful death
We’ll work with experts to build a strong case for your right to a full financial recovery. If the insurance company doesn’t play fair, our personal injury lawyers are always ready to fight for your rights in court.
Contact an Experienced Ocala Dog Bite Lawyer For a Free Consultation Today
If you or your child were hurt by someone else’s dog, don’t hesitate to pursue your right to compensation. An experienced Ocala dog bite lawyer at Allen Law Firm, P.A. can fight for the full amount you deserve.
When you’re ready to learn more about your right to recover compensation, call our law offices to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent clients in Ocala, Marion County, and across Central Florida.