Florida Alligator Injury Lawyer

When you get hurt in an accident in Fort Lauderdale, you can rely on Cowen Edwards to guide you through the legal process. If you spend any amount of time out and about in the city, you’ve probably seen or at least heard of interactions with alligators. Like any potential interaction, this could leave you injured, and facing mounting medical bills and other damages. If you’d like to know more about your options, contact us for a free consultation.

Liability in These Accidents

The question that you probably most need to answer after you’ve been hurt in an interaction with an alligator is whether or not you need a lawyer–and a related question of who is responsible for your injuries. The answer to both questions depends on your needs and what happened.

If the incident left you with minor injuries and happened in the wild, you probably don’t need to worry about taking legal action. However, if your injuries are more serious, it’s going to require more extensive help. We can explain your options and investigate what happened to give you a better idea of what your next steps are.

Apart from that, figuring out liability is going to involve looking at how and where the accident happened. It’s not uncommon for alligators to be kept as pets, or used as exhibits at local zoos and reptile shows. Under these conditions, the property owners and management has what’s known as a “duty of care” to you and others regarding your safety.

When they fail to do this, and you get hurt in an accident that their negligence caused, they will be responsible for covering your injuries.

Common Alligator Injuries

Although alligators are more common in Fort Lauderdale than, say, crocodiles, they’re still a rather unique animal. Still, many of the more common injuries you could be left with after interacting with one can range in terms of seriousness. Most often, an alligator attack will leave you with:

  • Bites – Alligator bites are the most common injuries from encounters. Their strong jaws can crush your bones and cause serious tissue damage.

  • Cuts and puncture wounds – Alligator bites often make deep cuts and holes because of their sharp teeth and strong jaws.

  • Loss of limbs – In serious cases, alligator bites can make people lose part or all of a limb, finger, or toe.

  • Infections – Alligator bites can put bacteria from their mouth into the wound, which raises the chance of infection. Infections can cause problems and need medical care.

  • Trample injuries – When people try to get away from an alligator, they might get hurt from falling, crashing, or having other accidents during the panic.

  • Emotional trauma – Just being near alligators can make people feel very upset and stressed, even if they don’t get physically hurt. This is especially true if they see someone else getting attacked.

It’s very important to be careful and respectful around places where alligators live and to follow safety rules to avoid getting hurt. However, if you do get hurt, it’s important that you:

  • Get medical attention right away
  • Report the incident to police, animal control, or property owners so they can respond
  • Gather all the information you can
  • Keep up with any treatment plans and records

Legal Options For You

Again, just because an alligator attack and resulting injuries is a somewhat unique set of circumstances, you actually have the same legal rights as you would any other type of accident if it happened because of someone else’s negligence.

Generally, you can file an injury claim by either:

  • Filing an insurance claim
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

This will allow you to recover certain things from whoever is responsible, which will be centered on your losses from the accident. In a typical injury claim, you can possibly get back:

  • Medical expenses and bills
  • Lost wages or earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship or enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death expenses, if the accident is fatal

When it comes to seeking these damages, the specifics of your situation play a crucial role, such as the severity of your injuries and other losses. It’s important to keep in mind Florida’s statute of limitations, typically allowing a two-year window from the date of the incident to file your claim.

Legal Help After an Alligator Injury in Fort Lauderdale

Any instance where you or someone you care about are bitten by an alligator is extremely troubling. Not only will it leave you with potentially serious injuries, it’s probably going to impact everyone in your family at least initially. At Cowen Edwards, we know how difficult any injury can be and we’ll be there to help. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in an alligator attack in Fort Lauderdale and wants to explore the available legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.