Dog bites can cause enough pain and damage to send you to the hospital. If a dog bites you, you should remain calm and use a level head as you navigate the situation. Most states use either one-bite rules or strict liability rules that allow the victims of dog attacks to take legal action to get the compensation they deserve after suffering a dog bite.
Whether you have a case could depend on the facts of your situation, the history of the dog and the liability rules implemented in your state.
In states with a one-bite rule, a dog’s owner may be held accountable if the owner knew the dog could attack somebody based on the dog’s history of aggression. The owner must also take all reasonable action to prevent an assault, such as warning guests that his or her dog might attack.
This is referred to as the “one-bite rule” because there’s an assumption that a dog is not dangerous until there’s at least one incident. Once that incident occurs the dog owner should know their pet poses a threat and take appropriate measures to prevent further attacks.
In Florida and other states with strict liability rules, the dog’s owner or caretaker is typically responsible even if he or she does not suspect the dog will bite anyone and there have been no previous incidents of aggression. Due to Florida’s strict liability rules, people who are bitten by improperly restrained dogs have a good chance of receiving fair compensation if they decide to file an injury claim or take the case to court.
However, strict liability doesn’t necessarily mean dog bite cases are always easy to win. There are effective liability defenses for dog owners, like claiming their pet was provoked. It may be worth your time to talk with a dog bite lawyer in Florida to learn more about these cases and what you should do next.
If you are attacked by a dog, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. A trip to the emergency room might be in your best interest—especially if the dog broke skin while biting you. Blood loss, scarring and infection are a few of the most pressing concerns following a dog bite. Visiting a doctor or hospital/urgent care is also a terrific way to document your injuries and create a record of the attack.
Once you take care of your immediate safety needs, you may want to assess the damage. Documenting your injuries will help your case by showing the insurance company that you aren’t embellishing the extent of your injuries.
Evidence is key to winning any personal injury case or succeeding during claim negotiations with the insurance company, especially if the other party’s story is different from your own. It can be easy for the insurance company or defense to flip the story and suggest you provoked the dog into biting. Getting the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the attack will help validate your story and ensure all parties remain truthful.
Your best bet for winning the compensation is establishing a truthful narrative with a clear sequence of events. A good case should detail the setting, what was happening before the attack, what happened during the attack and what happened after the attack. It should also include a lot of details that explain how you acquired each injury. One way to document everything is by writing it all down and taking pictures of any scratches or bite wounds.
Dog owners are responsible for taking care of their dogs. Sometimes they can forget about all the responsibility that accompanies dog ownership, like preventing their pet from hurting other people. Dogs might seem like all bark and no bite, but dog owners should know how to control their pets so they do not attack innocent people unprovoked.
If you are the victim of a dog bite attack, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages and your pain and suffering. You deserve to focus on your recovery instead of fighting for the compensation you’re owed. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you more effectively negotiate with the insurance company or even take your case to trial.