Dog Bite Lawyer in Hollywood
Dogs are some of the most popular pets in the U.S., ranked only behind cats and fish. With almost 80 million dogs in America, they are some of our most loved pets.  There are almost 340 different recognized breeds, each having served a different function in helping humans over the years.  Today, dogs have become man’s best friend, and we have been coexisting happily for thousands of years.
Unfortunately, not every interaction with a dog is a positive one. Many dogs are protective of their owners and can become aggressive when provoked. Some dogs by their very nature are aggressive even if there was no provocation. And some dogs bite for no apparent reason at all. There are almost 4.7 million bites each year in the United States with over 800,000 requiring medical care.  Florida is one of the most expensive states for insurance claims for bites, with an average claim of almost $44,000. 
If you were bitten by a dog, a Hollywood dog attack lawyer can help. Understanding the issues involved in an attack is important in recovering compensation for a victim. Schlacter Law’s lawyers for dog bites know what it takes to get you the compensation you need. Call our Hollywood dog bite accident lawyers today for a consultation, so we can help ensure that you’re made whole following an attack.
Florida is one of many states that has enacted laws to protect victims of dog attacks. Florida Statutes §767.04, outlines liability for damages. This statute states that when a dog bites any person in a public place or if they were bitten in a private place where they were lawfully allowed to be, “the owner of the dog is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
The statute goes on to outline circumstances when a person is lawfully allowed on private property. These circumstances include when a person is on the property for a duty imposed on them, such as a mailman delivering the mail, or if the person was invited onto the property by the owner.
The statute also outlines circumstances when a property owner would not be liable. If the owner places a sign on the premises that reads “bad dog” and the harm was not caused by a negligent act or omission, the property owner might not be found liable for a dog bite injury. However, even under these circumstances, victims under the age of 6 years old are given special care, and liability might not be waived if an injury occurs.
Lastly, the statute addresses issues of comparative negligence. Florida is one of several states adhering to the doctrine of comparative negligence. This would reduce an award for injuries based on the percentage of liability attributed to the victim. The specific language states that “any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.”
Interpreting and applying Florida’s statute requires a Hollywood dog bite injury attorney with experience dealing with these types of cases. From insurance claims to filing a lawsuit, the dog bite injury lawyers at Schlacter Law know how to get you the compensation you need. Call us today for a consultation.
Strict Liability and Negligence Per Se in Hollywood
Most personal injury lawsuits require a plaintiff to prove that a defendant was negligent and this negligence resulted in harm. Negligence would illustrate that a defendant failed to use a level of care that a reasonable person would have used under similar circumstances.
Often, dog bite cases use a different legal doctrine to award a plaintiff. Some states would hold an owner liable only if there was a history of a previous bite and a reasonable person would have acted differently to prevent the harm. In Florida however, the owner may still be liable for any injuries where a dog may not have shown any previous aggressive behavior or failed to bite anyone in the past. This is known as strict liability.
Another avenue for recovering compensation is negligence per se. This doctrine allows recovery when a dog owner violated a statute that was designed to prevent the kind of harm that occurred. A common example is when a pet owner fails to keep their pet on a leash when a local ordinance requires them to do so. Under these circumstances, the defendant is presumed to be negligent without having to prove all the required elements. Violation of the law or statute is sufficient to establish liability.
These different legal doctrines require an analysis from a dog bite personal injury attorney well versed in these types of cases. Lawyers specializing in dog bites understand the unique circumstances that led to an injury and know how to apply the correct legal doctrines under the circumstances. Be sure to call us today for a consultation so we can evaluate any potential claim.
Homeowners Insurance Claim
Following most dog attacks a Hollywood dog bite accident attorney would assist with filing a claim against the pet owner’s homeowner’s policy. Unfortunately, pet liability insurance varies significantly from policy to policy, and it is important to verify the type of coverage present at the time of the attack.
Some insurance carriers would cover injuries from pet attacks regardless of any history of prior attacks while other policies would limit recovery when a dog has a prior history of biting someone. Additionally, some insurance providers require pet owners to obtain additional coverage to pay for injuries following a dog attack while other policies would include coverage under a standard homeowners policy. An animal attack lawyer can help determine if limits of liability exist under a policy and can help determine other avenues for seeking compensation when an insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage at the time of the attack.
After an attack, the first step in seeking compensation is to contact the owner’s insurance company to file a claim and determine what limits exist under their policy. Often the insurance company will attempt to settle a claim to avoid further liability and a possible lawsuit. Agreeing to a settlement before talking with Schlacter Law’s dog injury lawyers is not recommended. Settlement offers are typically undervalued and fail to truly represent the actual costs of the harm. A lawyer for dog attacks has experience through prior cases to help estimate the true value of a claim and can assist in any settlement negotiation.
When a settlement fails to truly compensate a victim for their injuries a lawsuit may be required. A Hollywood dog bite lawyer is essential in filing a lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers specializing in dog bites have the prior experience necessary to help you get the proper compensation for your injuries. Call the animal attack lawyer at Schlacter Law today, so we can start the process of evaluating a claim.
There are three avenues for recovering damages in personal injury cases. These include:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages include the costs associated with an injury that are easiest to calculate. This includes known costs associated with the harm, such as:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance costs
- Doctor’s bills
- Lost wages
- Lost income
Economic damages would take all known costs and add them together to come up with a figure that represents their sum total. Non-economic damages are harder to determine since the value of these types of damages are usually hard to put a dollar value on. This might include the costs associated with:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring
- Long-term rehabilitation and medical costs
Determining the sum total of non-economic damages is not as simple as adding the dollar values associated with them since these values are highly variable based on each set of circumstances. Often, to estimate the cost of non-economic damages, a dog bite injury attorney will take the value of economic damages and multiply that number by something between 3-5.
Punitive damages are uncommon and are awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior was reckless and in complete disregard for the wellbeing of the victim. Punitive damages are used to punish the defendant in an attempt to prevent the same type of behavior in the future.
The types and amounts of compensation available following a dog bite attack will vary depending on the circumstances of the attack. To better help evaluate a potential claim, call Schlacter Law in Hollywood today. Our dog bite attorneys understand that compensation is important and we will help get you the money you need today. Call us for a consultation.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time limits do I need to be aware of?
There are several time limits to be aware of. First, following an attack, it is important to file a claim with a pet owner’s insurance company as soon as possible. Some insurance companies require that a claim be filed within 2-4 weeks following an injury, while other companies may require a claim to be filed within 7 days of an attack. It is important to determine how much time is available to file a claim. Additionally, in cases where a settlement agreement fails, a lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations. Be sure to contact a Hollywood dog bite lawyer as soon as possible following an attack to ensure that the statute of limitations is properly followed.
How do I pay for a lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer for dog bites would be paid through a contingency fee. This arrangement pays the attorney only when they successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Usually, this fee arrangement would pay the attorney between 33.33% and 40% of any recovered compensation, depending on how far into the process the money was recovered. This type of fee arrangement is beneficial to a Hollywood injury victim since it allows a claim to be initiated without having to pay any money upfront for legal representation.