Few things are scarier than suffering serious injuries as a result of a dog attack. For an innocent victim, the attack may be completely unexpected. In many cases, a victim has nowhere to escape and no hope of outrunning a vicious dog. Whether you were out for your morning exercise, walking to work, or playing with your children at the park, dog owners may be held liable for injuries that occur as a result of an incident involving their pet. At The Grife Law Firm, our Boca Raton dog bite lawyers have handled numerous cases on behalf of South Florida residents, so we understand what it takes to obtain a favorable judgment or settlement. Enlisting an injury lawyer is important to guiding you through each step of the process, ranging from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies.Establishing Liability for Dog Attacks in Florida
Under Florida law, dog owners are strictly liable for attacks involving their animals. Pursuant to Florida Statutes Annotated section 767.04, an owner will be held strictly liable if their dog bites a person in a public place or a person who is legally in a private place, including the owner’s property. This is true regardless of whether the owner had previous knowledge of the dog’s viciousness or prior attacks. Unlike some states, which require an owner to have prior knowledge of the animal’s propensity to be aggressive toward humans, Florida does not incorporate this element. Also, the statute provides protection to individuals who are guests of the dog owner as well as individuals who are on the property to perform some duty imposed on them by the State of Florida, such as a utilities inspector or repairperson.
The dog bite strict liability statute does provide some limitations, however. If the defendant can show that the victim was comparatively negligent at the time of the attack and that this negligence was a proximate cause of the attack, the victim’s damages award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the jury assigns to the victim. The statute provides another limitation governing situations in which the owner posts an easily readable sign on their premises bearing the words “Bad Dog.” In this instance, the owner will not be held liable for any injuries stemming from an attack involving their animal unless the victim was under the age of six.
Finally, section 767.01 provides that an owner will also be held liable for any damage that their dog does to other animals, including domestic animals and livestock. The dog bite attorneys at our Boca Raton firm are familiar with the interplay of these statutes and can craft a claim tailored to your situation.
After establishing that a dog owner was liable for your injuries, you must next provide evidence supporting the amount of damages that you are seeking in the lawsuit. A commonly requested category of damages in a dog bite case is medical bills. Depending on the severity of the attack, the victim may require hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and ongoing medical care. If the dog bite forces the victim to miss work for any period of time, the plaintiff may also request compensation for missed wages and any loss of future earning capacity resulting from permanent injuries. To ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve, it is a good idea to keep diligent records about your medical care and other expenses that you incur as a result of the attack.Consult a Diligent Dog Bite Lawyer in the Boca Raton Area
Knowing whom to trust with safeguarding and advancing your legal rights following a devastating injury may be daunting. At The Grife Law Firm, our dedicated team of legal professionals can provide your family with the compassionate legal representation that you deserve during this stressful time. Our Boca Raton dog bite attorneys also can assist residents of West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, among other cities. Call us at 1-855-998-0770 or contact us online to arrange a free appointment. We also can help people who need a premises liability lawyer or assistance with another type of personal injury claim.