Florida Dog Bites Attorney


Have You Suffered From A Dog Bite and Looking For Experienced Representation?

More than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year and nearly 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites with nearly half of them being children.  Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department and tragically, about 16 die.  The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9.

Suing for Dog Bites 

In most states, the owner of any dog that bites any person while in a public or private place, including the property of the dog’s owner, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten.  This is true regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.

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We pursue cases for many different types of injuries caused from dog attacks, including:

As difficult as the physical injuries are to overcome, a dog bite victim can often suffer from psychological damages as well.  These psychological damages often include, but are not necessarily limited to, nightmares, embarrassment, medical expenses for plastic and reconstructive surgery, and lost income. If you or a family member has suffered injuries in a dog bite attack, you should contact our lawyers immediately.

Hiring an Attorney for Dog Bites or Attacks

Dog bite laws can be complex and complicated, so it is important that you or a loved one finds legal representation that can not only help you understand the case but ultimately get you the settlement you deserve. For more information call 800.586.5555

Dog Bite FAQ's

No – Florida is what’s known as a “strict liability” state for dog bites. As the plaintiff, you don’t have to prove the bite was a direct result of negligence on the dog owner’s part. You only need to prove you were bitten by the dog in a public space or in a private place you were allowed to be (for instance, if you were an invited guest in the dog owner’s home).

There are potential defenses for dog bite cases, such as provocation. Your claim may be more complicated if the dog owner claims you somehow provoked their pet. Even seemingly innocuous actions like reaching for a toy or putting your hand near a dog’s food may be viewed as provocation in the eyes of the law. Dogs are not people, and they aren’t expected to understand whether your gestures are threatening or not.

This is especially difficult in cases where children are bitten by dogs. Children frequently don’t realize their behavior is antagonizing a dog, but those actions may still be considered provocation by the insurance company.

Certain dogs can be officially declared to be dangerous. Owners of those pets must take added precautions to control their animals and protect people from them. Whereas most dog bites are civil, it is possible for a dangerous dog owner to be held criminally liable if their dangerous dog injures someone. Dog owners must:

  • Register a dangerous dog with local authorities
  • Keep their pet in a secure setting with visible signs warning of a dangerous dog
  • Always harness or leash and muzzle their pet when it’s taken off premises

Dogs can be declared dangerous if they have perpetrated violence in the past. This can include:

  • Attacks on other animals or people
  • Attempts to attack a person
  • Past instances of seriously injuring or killing another animal more than once
  • History of aggressively approaching or chasing people without provocation

Being injured by a dog that has already been declared to be dangerous under the Florida statute may simplify your claim, but provocation may still be a factor.

You likely won’t be able to file a strict liability dog bite claim if you were trespassing, or you were injured by a police dog (or military dog) that was on active duty and performing its job. Even if you don’t have grounds for a strict liability dog bite claim, you may still be able to seek damages under a negligence claim. In order to do so, you and your legal team must be able to establish:

  • A reasonable dog owner would have acted differently to restrain their pet or prevent the injury
  • The reason you were bitten and injured was because the owner failed to take the necessary precautions or steps
  • Your injuries are a direct result of that failure to act

Negligence per se may be relevant to your case if the dog owner was already violating Florida law when the dog bite occurred. One of the most common examples of this type of case is when a dog owner is out walking their dog without a leash. Another example would be allowing their dog to roam the streets unsupervised. The act of violating an existing statute intended to prevent dog bites (like leash laws) makes the act automatically negligent.

There are unfortunately scenarios where dog owners train their dogs to be aggressive and attack people on command. If you’re injured by an intentional act like this, it qualifies as an intentional tort. If you have evidence that this was the reason for your dog bite, it will make your claim easier. However, litigation to receive additional damages, like punitive damages, may have to wait until the conclusion of the defendant’s criminal case.

There are more types of injuries than you may realize that are common in dog bite injury cases. This is in part because injuries sustained while escaping a dog that’s attacking you fall under the umbrella of dog bite claims. For example, if you had to quickly scale a fence and fell down the other side, breaking your arm in the process, that injury should be included in your dog bite claim.

Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Actual bites and deep puncture wounds
  • Internal injuries
  • Head, neck and throat injuries
  • Severe permanent scarring
  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
  • Temporary or permanent disabilities

One of the reasons so many victims of dog bites need experienced dog bite attorneys is these cases are surprisingly easy to defend against. All the owner needs to claim is that you were:

  • Trespassing on their property
  • Provoking the dog
  • Had a history of provocation or harm against the dog, justifying the attack

These cases can quickly devolve into competing and contradictory narratives where the dog owner claims you did something you didn’t do. An experienced attorney can help you counter these types of allegations.

Get to safety first and then call for emergency assistance if necessary. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room if you cannot safely do so or if you’re experiencing significant blood loss. If you can, take pictures of the injury right away for use in your claim. Getting medical care as soon as possible will be vital to the compensation calculations in your case, as the cost of your treatments and the time you must take off work to recover can directly impact your claim’s valuation.

Also write down exactly what happened as soon as possible and get the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the attack and can testify to what happened.

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Contact Kanner & Pintaluga for a free consultation, and let us provide you and your family with dedicated service and get you the compensation you deserve.

Call 800.586.5555