Dog bites can cause a wide range of injuries in varying degrees of severity. Puncture wounds, broken bones, and deep lacerations that require stitches are all common when treating dog bite injuries. However, the most vicious dog bites can result in permanent scarring or tissue damage, and sometimes even death.
Have you been bitten by a dog in Winter Haven, Florida? If so, you may be able to file a dog bite claim and receive compensation for your injuries, as well as the pain and suffering they caused. The compensation may also cover property damage and other financial losses (such as lost income and diminished earning capacity, if applicable). You can learn about your legal options by speaking with a Winter Haven dog bite attorney. A comprehensive review of Florida dog bite statutes may also be helpful, which we’re going to discuss below.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
To obtain compensation after being the victim of a dog bite in Winter Haven, Florida, you must be able to prove the following:
Statutory Strict Liability: If you have been attacked and injured by a dog in Winter Haven, Florida, their owner is liable under F.L. Stat § 767.04. You do not have to prove that the dog was dangerous to claim compensation under this section, but you must not have played any role in the attack or the resulting injuries. To find out if you have a strong case, you can consult with a dog bite attorney in Winter Haven, Florida.
Negligence: If statutory strict liability does not hold, you can still seek compensation by proving negligence on the dog owner’s part. It involves establishing that the dog owner failed to act reasonably in that specific situation, and that their negligence resulted in the bite and your injuries. Negligence can be difficult to establish. As such, it’s important that you partner with a qualified Winter Haven dog bite attorney with years of experience under their belt.
Intentional Torts: Dog owners may intentionally provoke their pets to attack and injure people sometimes. If this is the case, seeking compensation may be less complex and time-consuming. You will, however, need evidence and witnesses. A professional dog bite attorney can easily obtain these.
Statutes of Limitations: In the State of Florida, you have four years from the day of the dog bite to file a claim for compensation for your injuries and related damages. However, the court may exempt cases involving minors, or cases resulting in disability from this deadline. In these cases, the countdown may begin when the child reaches legal age, or when the victim recovers from their disability.
Comparative Negligence: A component of comparative negligence can reduce the total amount you receive. For example, if it is proved in court that you unintentionally stepped on the dog’s tail, or were not on the premises lawfully, you might be held partly liable for your injuries. The amount of compensation you’ll receive will then be lowered by the percentage of your fault. So, if the jury awarded you $10,000 but you were found to be 40% liable, you will only receive $6,000 ($10,000 – 40%, which is $4,000).
Contact Our Winter Haven Dog Bite Attorney to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one has been bitten and injured by a dog, turn to the experts at O’Toole Law Group. Our dog bite attorneys in Winter Haven, Florida offer free consultations to help victims understand what they could be entitled to. Contact our law office today at (863) 533-5525 or get in touch with us online for assistance with your case.