Dog Bite Lawyer in Miami
Miami Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites and animal attacks can result in serious personal injuries that should be reviewed by our Miami dog bite lawyer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog will require medical attention . This is a high figure considering that it is estimated that there are over 4.7 million bites each year in the United States . As a result, homeowners insurance companies pay out an estimated $675 million in liability claims for bites each year . Florida is the second-highest state for animal bites and the average cost per bite hospitalization claim is $44,700 which is higher than the national average of $39,017 . This makes Florida one of the most dangerous and costly states for canine bites and animal attacks.
Here at Schlacter Law, our experienced dog bite lawyer understands how to investigate an animal attack claim to establish liability against an owner or handler. This includes working with local law enforcement and witnesses to uncover what happened, as well as asking the correct questions of the handler or owner at a deposition. Our compassionate law firm will also work with your medical providers to gather your medical records and determine what future care you may need. As an experienced Miami lawyer, we will work hard to negotiate with the defendant’s homeowners insurance company and, if negotiations fail, our lawyer will protect your rights in a courtroom.
Common Dog Bite Injuries Our Lawyer May Handle
Animal attacks can result in horrific and painful injuries, even if a victim is just bitten by a small dog. The risk of infection is also high for any animal bite, especially deep puncture bites and other wounds that open up. Some of the most common dog bite injuries that our lawyer may handle for victims who are injured in an animal attack include the following:
- Broken bones or fractured bones
- Infections including sepsis
- Significant lacerations and disfigurement
- Rabies if a canine is not properly vaccinated, wild, or if the owner is negligent
- Puncture wounds
- Permanent tissue damage
- Knee injuries, MCL, LCL, ACL, PCL, or meniscus tears
- Shoulder injuries such as torn rotator cuffs, SLAP tears, or labrum tears
- Organ injuries if knocked down and viciously attacked or from a serious infection
- Permanent damage to the nose
- Loss of eyesight
- Nerve injuries, especially in the arm or hand
- Amputation of fingers or a hand or foot, especially due to infections
- Surgery or drainage from fluid buildup (edema)
- Wrongful death in serious attacks
- Other personal injuries to consult with a Miami lawyer
Florida Law on Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
The law is simple when it comes to a dog bite or animal attack . The animal owner is responsible when an animal bites an individual in a public place or any individual lawfully on private property, including the private property of the owner. If the dog is being handled by another individual when the attack occurs, the handler may also be partially liable for a victim’s personal injuries. The main liability is usually on the owner.
Prior Viciousness Does Not Matter
Some states require a canine to have known vicious propensities prior to a dog bite or animal attack to impose liability on an owner. However, in Florida the former viciousness of an animal does not matter. An animal owner may be liable for a dog bite even if a dog does not have any prior viciousness. This means that even a peaceful and passive dog that snaps and bites a person may result in the owner being held liable for the resulting personal injuries.
Prior Knowledge Does Not Matter
Unlike other states, prior knowledge of a dog’s viciousness does not matter in Florida either. Even if an owner does not know whether a dog has bitten or attacked someone before, that owner may still be liable if a dog that bites a person. This is important because an owner cannot claim that he or she did not know about the animal’s vicious propensities or viciousness, and it is also something less for a victim to have to investigate and prove. Even though Florida law is more victim-focused, it is still important to have a Miami personal injury lawyer protect a victim’s rights.
Common Defenses for Bite Injuries
While Florida law is friendlier to victims than some other states, our lawyer knows that these cases can still be difficult to prove even with the strongest set of facts. This is because there are some common defenses built into the statute which may bar or limit a victim’s claim. For instance, some of the potential defenses for animal owners that a defense lawyer will typically try to use include the following:
- Warning Signs: If a bite occurs on private property and the owner has a warning sign posted about the canine which has at least the words “bad dog” on the sign (5), an owner may not be liable for a bite unless the victim was under six years old or the owner’s negligence caused the bite (i.e., leaving an aggressive animal alone with a stranger or frightening a canine that lashes out)
- Trespassing/criminal acts: If a bite occurs on private property and the victim did not have permission to be on the private property, the owner may not be liable for the bite. This is particularly true if the dog owner had a warning sign up that said “bad dog.” However, some individuals have implied permission to be on private property which includes post office workers, delivery workers, law enforcement, and sometimes even neighbors
- Fault of the Victim: If a victim provokes the animal attack by harassing, hurting, or attacking the dog, the owner may not be liable for the victim’s injuries
Comparative Fault of the Victim
Even if the victim did not entirely provoke or attack the canine resulting in the bite, a victim’s comparative fault may still be considered by the court or the jury. This includes if a victim accidentally stepped on a dog’s tail and was bitten in a quick reaction. Florida is a comparative fault state which means that the percentage of fault that a victim has will proportionally reduce his or her award.
An example would be if a victim is awarded $100,000 for a dog bite claim, but is found to be 30% at fault. This means the victim’s award may be reduced to $70,000. A defense lawyer will try to argue that a victim is largely at fault, whereas a Miami personal injury lawyer will try to argue that a victim is not a fault or barely at fault. This is why it is important to always have a strong personal injury lawyer to represent your interests as a victim to ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation that you deserve.
What Compensation May I Be Entitled To After a Dog Bite?
Under Florida law, a lawyer may be able to recover a victim “damages” after an animal attack such as a dog bite. In personal injury cases, “damages” are typically monetary compensation. The most common monetary compensation that a victim may be entitled to with the help of our lawyer at Schlacter Law include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings if unable to work in the same career or job title
- Property damage
- Emotional damages
- Loss of consortium
- Burial costs and funeral expenses for a wrongful death
- Many other common forms of compensation
There is No Risk to Have Our Miami Dog Bite Lawyer Represent You
If you or a loved one were injured in an animal attack, ask our experienced lawyer at Schlacter Law how we can help protect your rights to compensation. We know how frightening, confusing, and painful an animal attack can be. Our compassionate team can immediately begin to help you and ensure your rights are protected. Call today for a FREE consultation by dialing our animal attack law firm at (305) 999-1111.
- https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/dogs.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Ffeatures%2Fdog-bite-prevention%2Findex.html#preventing-bites ↩
- https://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/2001-nonfatal-dog-bite-related-injuries-treated-e-departments.pdf ↩
- https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-quick-statistics.php ↩
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-bz-florida-dog-bites-insurance-claims-20190405-story.html ↩
- http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0767/Sections/0767.04.html ↩
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
How long do I have to file a claim?
Four years from the date of the dog bite where you were injured. There may be extensions or tolls to this time period, but it is always best practice to consult with a lawyer as soon as you can do so. Our experienced Miami lawyer can immediately help guide you in the proper direction after an animal attack.
Are dog bite cases covered under homeowners insurance?
Yes, generally most animal attacks from canines are covered under homeowners insurance policies. However, there are exceptions or exclusions to homeowners’ insurance policies, including if the dog was not reported to the homeowners insurance policy prior to the attack or if the dog is of a certain breed. Insurance companies and their lawyer will frequently try to hide behind exceptions and exclusions to deny your claim or minimize your recovery. This is why it is imperative to always have an experienced Miami lawyer like ours at Schlacter Law. In addition to homeowners insurance, if the animal attack occurred in a motor vehicle the pet owner’s auto insurance may also apply or alternatively a commercial general liability policy may cover an animal attack on a commercial property.
If I was bitten while at work, may I recover compensation for my injuries through workers’ compensation?
Yes, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were acting within the scope of employment when you were bitten. However, this can quickly become complicated and there are some instances where you may want to only pursue your claim against the owner and the owner’s insurance rather than rely on workers’ compensation insurance. If you were bitten during the scope of your employment, ask our lawyer how you should proceed.
How much does a Miami dog bite lawyer cost?
Our lawyer does not cost any money upfront. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis which means that we only get paid once we recover compensation for you in a settlement or court award. This allows victims and their families to keep the money they need now to pay for bills and lost wages while we fight for a victim’s rights against a negligent dog owner or insurance company.