Dog bites are an unfortunate and often traumatic event that can lead to severe physical injuries and emotional distress. If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Florida, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights and how a lawyer can assist you.
A Closer Look at Florida’s Dog Bite Law
Florida operates under what is known as strict liability when it comes to dog bites. Under Florida legislation, a dog owner is held responsible for any injury or damage inflicted by their dog if it bites another individual, either in public or on the owner’s property, provided the person is there legally.
The law covers only dog bites and not other forms of attacks. The owner is also responsible for any damage the dog causes to another animal. Even if the dog has never shown aggression or bitten anyone before, the owner is still liable. This is referred to as strict liability.
If the owner has exhibited a “Bad Dog” sign on the property, the owner is not liable unless the victim is under six or the owner was negligent. The sign must be conspicuously displayed and easy to read.
The Role of a Hollywood, FL Dog Bite Lawyer
A lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in several ways when dealing with a dog bite claim.
1. Investigation and Evidence Gathering
The most important step in building a strong case is thorough investigation and evidence gathering. A lawyer can help collect critical evidence such as medical records that detail the extent of your injuries, statements from witnesses who saw the incident, and any surveillance footage that may have captured the event.
Additionally, they can investigate the history of the dog involved in the incident and gather information about the circumstances leading up to the bite.
2. Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies can often be a complex and daunting task. These companies frequently attempt to minimize payouts in an effort to save money. By engaging a lawyer you can equalize the odds. Lawyers can represent you in discussions with insurance firms, striving relentlessly to guarantee that you obtain just compensation for your injuries.
3. Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the insurance company fail or if they refuse to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can escalate matters by filing a lawsuit on your behalf. In court, they will represent you, present your case in a compelling manner, argue against opposing counsel, and strive to secure maximum compensation for your injuries.
4. Navigating Complex Legal Procedures
The legal process involved in filing a dog bite claim can be intricate and overwhelming for those unfamiliar with it. A Hollywood dog bite lawyer can guide you through this process, ensuring all necessary paperwork is filed correctly, all deadlines are met, and all legal procedures are followed accurately.
Liability in a Dog Bite Claim in Florida
In Florida, the law stipulates that if a dog bites someone, the owner can be held accountable, provided it can be proven that they own the dog. This is why Florida’s dog bite law is called a strict liability law—there’s no requirement to demonstrate negligence or prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous nature.
The law doesn’t take into account the breed of the dog or its past aggressive behavior. However, if a dog has previously bitten, attacked, or injured another person or animal, or chased a person without provocation in public, it can be classified as dangerous.
Precautions for Owners of Dangerous Dogs
Owners of dogs classified as dangerous are required by law to take extra precautions such as displaying a “bad dog” sign on their property, fencing their yard, and always keeping their dog on a leash in public spaces. If these measures aren’t implemented, owners could face negligence claims resulting in additional damages for the victim.
Dog owners can also be subject to criminal charges. If a dog previously classified as dangerous causes someone’s death, the owner could be charged with manslaughter and potentially serve time in prison.
Contact Klotzman Law Firm for Help
Experiencing a dog bite can be a traumatic event, but knowing that there is legal help available can provide some comfort. A Hollywood, FL dog bite lawyer can provide invaluable assistance throughout this process, ensuring your rights are protected and helping you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Klotzman Law Firm who can provide advice tailored to your situation. Contact us at 954-915-7405 to set up your free case review.