Serving Clients in Dog Bite Injury Claims in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Nearby Areas in Florida
Florida families love their dogs, and rightfully so. When properly cared for and monitored, dogs are beloved members of the family.
However, animals don’t always act as expected, and a dog bite can be a painful, life-altering experience. These attacks can cause severe trauma to the brain, nerves, and vital organs. Dog bites to the face can require months, and even years, of reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, children are often the most vulnerable to these attacks.
If you or someone you love was attacked by a dog, call the experienced dog bite lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today at (407) 712-7300 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Florida, including Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and nearby areas.
Who is Liable for Dog Bites?
Florida, like many states, has both state laws and various municipal ordinances concerning dogs, dog bites, and dog owners. In Florida, if you suffer a dog bite, the dog owner will almost always be held responsible for the dog bite. Dog owners in Florida are held to strict liability law, meaning that the only question after a person is bit by a dog, is how much compensation is appropriate.
Recovery on a dog bite claim may be lessened for a few different reasons:
- Comparative negligence: How much the victim was at fault for their dog bite injuries.
- Lack of supervision: If the victim is a child, recovery may be lessened if the parent failed to appropriately supervise the child.
- Adequate warning: If the dog owner had adequate warning signs posted about their dangerous animal.
Determining liability in a dog bite case can be complex. You need an experienced dog bite lawyer in your corner to assess the details of your attack and hold the responsible party or parties accountable. We have extensive experience in a wide range of personal injury cases, and know how to determine the true value of your claim, and who is liable for your damages.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
It’s common for dog bite victims to feel reluctant about contacting a lawyer after an attack. After all, in many cases, the owner of the violent dog may be a neighbor, friend, or family member. If you’ve been hurt by a dog, you may feel naturally compelled to negotiate personally with the dog’s owner, or simply brush off the attack. These are mistakes.
A dog attack can be an incredibly traumatic experience. A dog bite can cause lasting physical and emotional injuries, particularly when the victim is a child. You deserve compensation for your losses. You shouldn’t face your physical, emotional, and financial burdens alone.
Our experienced dog bite lawyers will navigate the complex legal process to ensure you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law. We will:
- Determine the extent of your damages and the true value of your claim
- Establish who is responsible for your injuries
- Identify other potentially liable parties
- Uncover critical evidence
- Speak to witnesses
- Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- Pursue fair compensation in court, if necessary
Our dog bite lawyers are committed to fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve after a dog attack. During your free initial consultation, we will listen to the details of your injury, assess the merits of your case, and recommend your best path forward.
What Is a Dangerous Dog Under Florida Law?
Florida defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inflicted injury on a person. Dogs can also be declared dangerous if they have seriously injured or killed another domestic animal.
Once a dog has been classified as dangerous under Florida law, its owner is required to register the animal within 14 days of having been deemed dangerous. Additionally, the owner of the dangerous dog must:
- Ensure the dog is in a proper enclosure
- Notify animal control when the dog has bitten another person or animal
- Notify animal control when the dog is loose or unconfined
- Register the dog annually
- Restrain or muzzle the dog using a strong leash or chain under the owner’s control
It’s important to note that regardless of whether a dog is declared dangerous, or whether its owner is aware of the dog’s viciousness, dog owners in Florida are subject to liability when their dogs injure any person, domestic animal, or livestock.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Unfortunately, dog attacks are far too common. Each day in the U.S., more than 1,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for dog-bite related injuries. Nearly 61 percent of dog attacks occur in the dog-owner’s home or immediate neighborhood.
Although a dog attack can happen to anyone at any age, the most frequently attacked age group is children. Dog attacks account for more children’s emergency room visits than any other injury. These tragic cases mostly involve face and head injuries, forever impacting a child’s life and self-image.
The most common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Emotional trauma and stress
In the most tragic cases, a dog attack can be fatal. If you have lost a loved one because of a vicious dog, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the dog’s owner for funeral and burial costs, emotional suffering, and more. During your free initial consultation with our dog bite lawyers, we will explain all of your legal options and help you pursue the damages you deserve.
How Much Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in Florida?
Damages in dog bite cases vary greatly, depending on the severity of the attack and the impact it had on the victim’s life. The best way to determine the amount of compensation you need to cover your damages is to meet personally with our dog bite lawyers for a free case evaluation.
Depending on the details of your attack, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Assistive care
As a dog bite victim, it is your decision whether or not to accept a settlement offer for your injuries. We strongly recommend speaking with our dog bite lawyers before accepting any offer from an insurance company. Insurers usually offer far less than the true value of your losses. Our lawyers are committed to ensuring you get the fair compensation you need, not just for the damages you are facing now, but also for your needs in the future.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
As with most personal injury cases in Florida, dog bite claims can be resolved at any point in the process. Because there are so many variables in each case, there is no way to definitively predict how long your claim will take to resolve. Some factors that can impact the duration of a dog bite case include:
- The severity of the injuries
- The amount of time it takes to gather witnesses and evidence
- Dealings with insurance companies
- Settlement negotiations
- Establishment of liability
- Length of mediation
- Length of trial, if necessary
Your injury and the way it affected your life is unique. You deserve to work with a firm that will take the time to understand the injury’s impact on your physical, financial, and emotional well-being. Our dog bite injuries are committed to providing effective, individualized service that champions your health and best interests. During your initial consultation, we will explain your legal options and discuss the potential timeline of your case.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, your first priority is to ensure your health and safety. Consider the following steps after a dog bite:
- Seek medical attention: Depending on the severity of your injury, contact emergency responders or arrange to be taken to the emergency room right away. Even seemingly minor bites can lead to a serious infection or rabies.
- Identify the dog that attacked you: It’s important to quickly find out who owns the dog that attacked you.
- Gather and preserve evidence: Get names and contact information from any witnesses. Note the dog’s license information. Photograph your injuries and the location of the attack. Preserve the clothes you were wearing during the attack, including any dirt and blood. Store the clothes, unwashed, in a plastic bag or container.
- Call our dog bite attorneys: Contact our Orlando dog bite lawyers as soon as possible after your dog attack. Dog bite cases can be complex, and require the knowledge, skill, and resources of an experienced lawyer. Our seasoned dog bite attorneys will handle every step of your case and fight diligently for the maximum compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus solely on healing.
Call Our Florida Dog Bite Lawyers Today
If you’ve been hurt by a dog, contact us now. Our experienced dog bite lawyers know the impact a vicious dog attack can have on your life, your family, and your future. We are committed to helping you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Call (407) 712-7300 today for a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Florida. Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter helps animal attack victims in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and other areas throughout Florida.