Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawyer

Dogs are valued companions in Fort Lauderdale households, offering love and protection.

However, their protective nature can sometimes lead to unfortunate bite injuries for victims, causing both physical pain and emotional distress.

To deal with the serious harm that can result from dog bites, Florida has laws and regulations in place that determine who’s responsible. When you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to get dedicated help and support to see you through the process of recovering from your injuries.

GET THE HELP YOU NEED FROM FORT LAUDERDALE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS

At Cowen Edwards, our team of experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand the hardships caused by these injuries and can assist you in navigating the complexities of seeking financial support and benefits from the dog’s owner. We’ll outline your legal options and provide a roadmap for the claims process. Dealing with dog bite injuries is tough, but with our dedicated team on your side, the process can become much more manageable.

To set up a free consultation, contact us today.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A LAWYER AFTER A FORT LAUDERDALE CAR ACCIDENT?

Florida law has specific rules for dealing with dog bites that happen in Fort Lauderdale and across the state. These rules are found in Section 767.04 of the Florida Statutes. In Florida, when a dog bites someone, the owner of the dog is fully responsible. This means that Florida follows a “strict liability” approach. This legal concept means that owners are responsible for any injuries caused by their dog, even if the dog didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

“Dangerous Dog” Statute

Under Section 767.12 of the Florida Statutes, a dog may be classified as “dangerous” if:

  • Hurts a person seriously without being provoked.
  • Hurts or kills a pet animal seriously without being provoked while off its owner’s property.
  • Attacks a person without being provoked.
  • Is used by someone to commit a crime.
  • Has a history of unprovoked attacks on people or animals, or shows a tendency to attack.

If a dog is seen as dangerous based on these rules, the owner must do several things, including:

  • Registering the dog
  • Keeping it confined
  • Keeping it up to date on rabies and other vaccinations

The owner also needs to put up clear and visible warning signs on the property where the dog is kept. In most situations where a dog bites, the seriousness of the injuries and the owner not following these rules will make the owner responsible for the injured person’s injuries and medical costs.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is important to consider. Even with Florida’s strict liability law, if you were partly at fault for the accident, it could reduce the compensation you receive. This is called “comparative negligence”. In Florida, this rule applies to any injury case. In dog bite cases, if you were trespassing on the owner’s property or provoked the dog, it might affect your ability to pursue your claim.

Take advantage of a free consultation whenever you feel you aren’t being treated fairly after an accident you didn’t cause.

WHY DO DOG BITES HAPPEN IN FORT LAUDERDALE?

Unfortunately, dog bites are fairly common in Fort Lauderdale. Not only are they common, but there are a number of different reasons why they happen. Although most dogs in the city are well-trained and well-behaved, even the most docile dog can react poorly in a given situation. Thus, it’s important to understand why dog bites happen and what you can do to avoid them:

  • Poor training or lack of socialization – Dogs that haven’t been properly trained or aren’t familiar with being around people might become aggressive or defensive when facing new situations or encountering new people.
  • Negligence or carelessness – Some dog owners might not adequately supervise or manage their dogs, allowing them to engage in behaviors that could be hazardous.
  • Not leashing the dog – Dogs that aren’t securely confined or leashed might escape or have a higher likelihood of displaying aggressive behavior.
  • Aggressive nature – Specific dogs might exhibit aggressive or defensive behavior due to their breed, personality, or past experiences.
  • Feeling provoked or disturbed – At times, incidents of people being bitten by dogs might stem from them provoking or bothering the dog, such as teasing or irritating it.
  • Unfamiliarity or fear – Dogs that aren’t familiar with certain people or situations, or that have fears related to certain individuals (like children), might have an increased tendency to bite.

Although it’s challenging to completely prevent dog bites, especially in these circumstances, it’s vital to attempt to minimize the risk. You can do this by:

  • Learning about dog behavior and warning signs
  • Avoiding unfamiliar dogs
  • Reporting dangerous dogs to the appropriate authorities

Numerous factors can contribute to dog bite accidents, and understanding how Florida laws address these situations is equally important. That said, most dog bites frequently cause different types of injuries that you’ll need to take care of right away.

FORT LAUDERDALE DOG BITE INJURIES

Each dog bite incident in Fort Lauderdale is unique, with different causes and outcomes. Among the various problems that arise from dog bites, injuries stand out as the most immediate concern. When a dog bites, injuries are likely, ranging from minor to serious. Some frequently encountered dog bite injuries are:

  • Bite wounds – Dogs have sharp teeth that can pierce the skin, leading to deep wounds that might get infected.
  • Infections – Dog bites can introduce bacteria, causing infections like cellulitis, sepsis, and tetanus.
  • Scars and disfigurement – Even minor dog bites can result in permanent scars, particularly if they occur on visible areas like the face.
  • Emotional distress – Being bitten by a dog can be very distressing, especially for kids. Victims might feel fear, anxiety, and other emotional reactions after the attack.
  • Nerve damage – Some dog bites can damage nerves, resulting in numbness, weakness, and other nerve-related symptoms.
  • Broken bones – If a dog bite is forceful enough, it can break bones, especially in areas like the hands, arms, and legs.
  • Loss of limbs or fatal injuries – Although rare, severe dog bites can lead to limb amputation or even death.

After a dog bite, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical help. You should also inform local authorities about the incident and consider discussing your legal rights and choices with our team of experienced dog-bite lawyers.

OPTIONS AFTER A FORT LAUDERDALE DOG BITE INCIDENT

Even with strict liability laws in place, insurance companies often try to minimize their exposure and devalue Fort Lauderdale dog bite claims. They might question any actions or mistakes you made after the bite. While strict liability places responsibility on the dog owner and is on your side legally, follow these steps after a dog bite in Fort Lauderdale to make sure your claim remains viable:

  • Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Take pictures or videos of the bite wound.
  • Document incident details like location and whether the dog was properly leashed.
  • Follow the doctor’s wound-cleaning instructions.
  • Report the dog bite to local animal control.
  • Identify any witnesses.

These steps will help your claim stay strong. Still, it’s equally important to remember that the claim process can be lengthy and challenging, especially when dealing with insurance companies. Working with our skilled Fullerton dog bite lawyers can make this process smoother.

WHAT DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE IN A FORT LAUDERDALE DOG BITE CLAIM?

Dog bites are often serious due to the nature of the bites and the risk of infection from the dog’s saliva. These events also cause emotional and psychological harm beyond physical injuries. Damages available in a Fort Lauderdale dog bite claim include:

  • Medical expenses and ongoing care, like therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income or loss of earning potential
  • Property damage related to the incident
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or companionship
  • Punitive damages if the dog owner’s behavior was especially negligent.

Despite strict liability, each dog bite case varies, and a favorable result isn’t guaranteed. However, our experienced dog bite lawyers at Cowen Edwards can ease the burden on you and your family during this challenging period. We’ll handle day-to-day claim responsibilities so you can focus on your physical and mental recovery.

F.A.Q.

Can I make a claim if I was bitten while on the dog owner’s property?

Yes, you can still make a claim if you were bitten while lawfully on the dog owner’s property. However, trespassing might affect your claim.

What if the dog is a service animal?

While service animals are usually well-trained, if a service dog bites you unprovoked, the owner can still be held liable for damages.

How can Cowen Edwards help with my dog bite case?

Our experienced lawyers can help gather evidence, assess your damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your best interests in court if necessary.

COMMITTED FORT LAUDERDALE DOG BITE LAWYERS CAN HELP YOU

Dealing with injuries and the emotional fallout from a dog bite can be really difficult. But our experienced team of Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers who focus on dog bite cases can make a big difference. We understand these situations well and will protect your rights, helping you get the support and compensation you deserve.

Don’t hesitate. Contact us now for a free consultation to get started.

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