What if you are jogging and your neighbor’s dog bites you? What if you are on the beach and a stranger’s dog bites you?
If another person’s dog bit you and you suffered serious injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the dog’s owner. The dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance or other liability policies may cover your damages.
If a dog bites you while you are in a public place or while you are on someone’s property with the owner’s permission, call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine in West Palm Beach, FL, today at 1-800-747-3733 to schedule a free consultation.
An Owner’s Liability for a Dog Bite in Florida
Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. You do not have to show that the dog bit someone else previously or that the owner knew the dog was vicious or had a propensity to bite someone.
Florida’s “dog bite” law applies to two situations. First, the dog owner may be liable if the dog bites you while you are on or in a public place. This includes while you are walking down a public street, while you are in a public park, or while you are on public transportation.
Also, the dog owner may be liable if the dog bites you while you are lawfully on or in a private place. You may be visiting a friend’s home, or you may be a postal carrier delivering a package.
Common Property Owner Defenses in a Dog Bite Case
Even though Florida imposes strict liability in cases like these, a dog owner can assert some defenses to protect themselves and their dog.
You Did Not Have Permission
The dog owner may claim that you were not on his or her property with permission. Permission to be on the property can be expressed, for example, via an invitation to a gathering at someone’s home. Permission is understood in situations where a utility worker comes onto the property to check a water meter. If you are a trespasser—you do not have permission to be on someone’s property—Florida’s dog bite law does not apply.
You Provoked the Dog Attack
The dog owner may say you provoked the dog and are, therefore, responsible for your injury. If you are partially at fault, your recovery will reduce by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if you are 25 percent at fault, you will only recover 75 percent of your damages.
Dog Owner Displayed Proper Signage
The dog owner displayed in a prominent place on his or her property an easy-to-read sign that included the words “Bad Dog.” This defense does not apply if a dog bites a child under the age of six. Even if the dog bite law does not apply, the dog owner will be responsible for your injuries if the owner was negligent, and the owner’s negligence caused your injuries. For example, the owner may have known the dog was vicious and took no action to confine the dog.
No matter what defense a dog owner chooses to use when you have legal help, navigating litigation becomes much less stressful. Our dog bite and personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach can aid in the building of your case and your fight for compensation.
What to Do If a Dog Bites You in West Palm Beach, Florida
If a dog bites you, you should take certain actions:
- Seek medical treatment if you are injured
- Take pictures of your injuries
- Take a picture of the dog
- Get the names of the dog owner
- Get the names of witnesses and their contact information
If your injuries are not severe and you require minimum medical assistance, try to work the matter out with the dog owner. The owner could have insurance that covers your injuries. The owner’s homeowner’s insurance may cover your claim if the dog bites you on the owner’s property. The owner’s auto insurance may cover your claim if the dog bites you in a vehicle.
An attorney may be able to resolve the matter by writing a demand letter to the dog owner. If your injuries are not severe, a small claims court may hear your case.
You Can Get Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries
If you cannot get the dog owner to cooperate, you may need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries.
You have four years in Florida to bring a suit in a dog bite case. If a dog kills your spouse, child, or relative, you have two years to bring a wrongful death action. Do not hesitate to call a lawyer. The lawyer needs to investigate the case and speak to witnesses as soon as possible.
Damages in a dog bite case are the same as those you can recover in other personal injury cases:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
Take Advantage of a Dog Bite Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine work to prove your case and see that you receive compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys can negotiate with the dog owner or the owner’s insurance company in hopes that you receive a reasonable settlement. If a case does not settle, our attorneys can take the matter to court.
If a dog bites you, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation or make an appointment on our website.