Dog Bite Lawyer in Pembroke Pines
Dogs and humans have coexisted for thousands of years, usually without much issue. But even after domestication, dogs frequently attack and bite unsuspecting victims. According to the Insurance Information Institute , Florida ranks second in the number of animal attacks in 2018 with over 1,200 insurance claims for injuries sustained from a bite. The average cost of each claim was over $43,000, costing Florida’s insurance companies over $56 million annually.
If you were attacked and bitten by someone’s pet, a Pembroke Pines dog bite injury lawyer in Florida can help. We understand how an animal bite can affect a victim, and fight hard to ensure that our clients are properly compensated following an attack. Call Schlacter Law today for a consultation.
Animal Attack Statistics
Americans love their pets. The American Pet Products Association estimates that the U.S. alone has almost 90 million pet canines. However, with these large numbers of household pets, come a large number of animal attacks. The Centers for Disease Control’s most recent study found that there were almost 4.5 million dog bite victims in the U.S. each year, sending over 300,000 victims to emergency rooms.
Since the 1980s the severity of domesticated animal attacks has steadily increased. From 1986 to 1994 the need for medical attention following a dog bite increased by 36%, and between 1993 and 2008, hospitalization following a canine bite increased an alarming 86%. Additionally, fatal canine attacks increased by 82% from 1980 to 2012.
Clearly, the number of dog bites continues to increase and the likelihood of an animal attack is greater than it ever was. If you were bitten by a dog in Pembroke Pines, be sure to contact a dog bite lawyer in Florida as soon as possible to see if compensation is available following an attack.
Animal Attack Legislation
Due to the ever-increasing number of canine attacks, Florida enacted laws to help establish a pet owner’s liability for damages following an attack. Florida Statutes, §767.04, states that “The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of 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.”
However, the law also states that if the victim contributed to the bite, the liability of the pet owner is reduced “by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.” This is known as contributory negligence and can reduce any award for compensation.
There are requirements under this law that make a property owner liable when their animal attacks someone who is carrying out a duty that requires them onto the owner’s land, such as a postal worker. However, unless there is a child under the age of 6 or the owner of the property created a danger by a negligent act, then the “owner is not liable if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog”.”
This legislation is designed to assign liability to a property owner when their pet bites someone. However, it is not always clear if or when a victim contributed to the attack. Sorting through these issues requires the assistance of an experienced Pembroke Pines dog bite victim in Florida for guidance.
What to do following an attack in Pembroke Pines
A dog bite can create serious medical complications if left untreated. It is crucial to know the medical history of an animal that bit someone. Were vaccines administered? Are these vaccines up to date? If possible, locate the owner and be sure to get as much medical information as possible. In cases where the owner is unknown, ask any witnesses to the attack if they know who owns the animal. If you are able to identify the animal’s license number, be sure to write it down.
Of course, following an animal bite, be sure to administer any first aid. This would include washing any cuts or lacerations and applying pressure to stop any bleeding. In cases where the skin isn’t broken, be sure to clean the area of the bite with soap and water.
Infections are of serious concern following a dog bite. A dog’s mouth can contain large amounts of bacteria, and these bacteria can be transferred to a victim’s skin following a bite. If a wound appears red, the skin is tender or warm, or swells up, visit a doctor immediately. Some severe complications could include infections for:
These types of infections can create serious medical problems that need to be addressed by a medical professional as soon as possible. Rabies, for example, is potentially fatal if left untreated, but is completely preventable with immediate medical care. This care may include a rabies vaccination which requires four injections over the course of several weeks.
After seeking the proper medical care, consulting a dog bite lawyer in Pembroke Pines is recommended. With the experience necessary to evaluate a dog bite claim, a dog bite lawyer with the know-how to evaluate the circumstances in your case can help you receive the most compensation available
How to File a Claim with a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy in Pembroke Pines
Generally, a homeowner’s insurance policy would cover a property owner in the event that their pet bites someone on their property. According to the Insurance Information Institute >, insurance claims paid out over $675 million in 2018 for dog-related liability claims.
The first step in receiving compensation following an attack is to file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance. The insurance company will either accept the claim and make a payment for the amount of damages or deny the claim altogether. Not hiring a lawyer may significantly reduce your overall compensation.
When an insurance company denies a claim, further negotiations may be needed, or a lawsuit may need to be filed to seek compensation. Additionally, there are cases where a homeowner’s insurance company will deny responsibility claiming the homeowner did not have coverage in the event their pet attacks someone. Some insurance companies require additional premiums for dog breeds known to be dangerous, or if a specific dog is known to have bitten someone in the past. Under these circumstances, a victim would then be required to file a lawsuit against the homeowner directly to receive compensation.
When agreeing to a sum for compensation, insurance carriers will typically pay out as little as possible, and with little regard to the long-term consequences of an attack. Under these circumstances, the assistance of a dog bite lawyer is essential. Understanding how insurance payments work, combined with experience negotiating with these companies to get the best compensation possible, makes a Pembroke Pines dog bite lawyer essential in receiving adequate compensation following a dog bite.
When a pet attacks a victim and the owner is found to be responsible, there are several types of compensation available. Failing to protect someone from an animal would be considered negligence, and a successful negligence case awards compensation for any injuries sustained as a result of a bite.
The first type of compensation is economic compensation, and these are the costs that are most easily calculated. For example:
- Lost wages as a result of the attack
- Hospital costs that resulted from the attack
- Medical bills associated with the attack
- Long-term medical assistance required following immediate medical care
- Future medical care following the attack
- Lost earning capacity that resulted from the attack
These types of costs are generally easy to calculate, although some, such as future medical costs, requires an understanding of the types of medical care required after such an attack.
An additional type of compensation available would be non-economic compensation. This could include:
- Any pain and suffering
- Lost limbs or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
These types of compensation are not easily calculated and would require a deeper look at the long-term consequences following a dog attack, requiring an assessment by a dog attack lawyer.
Lastly, punitive damages are available in certain cases. Punitive damages are used to punish a dog owner for malicious or reckless behavior. In the case of a dog bite, in situations where a homeowner flagrantly disregarded Florida’s dog bite statute, a court may award compensation above and beyond economic and non-economic damages.
Understanding the types of compensation available following a dog bite can be difficult. Choosing Schlacter Law can help. Our dog bite lawyers have the know-how to help determine the degree of your injuries and the experience to know how to get the best compensation under the circumstances.
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
The amount of compensation available would vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack. There are usually three types of compensation an animal attack lawyer can secure for a victim. This includes economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are the known costs from the injury, and non-economic damages are the damages that are difficult to calculate, including pain and suffering and mental distress. Punitive damages are rarely provided and are usually used to punish a defendant for reckless behavior. Be sure to talk with Schlacter Law’s lawyers for dog bites today for a consultation.
While a dog bite personal injury lawyer is not required, an experienced attorney will have the required knowledge necessary to ensure that a settlement will adequately cover the costs associated with an animal attack. Understanding the long and short-term costs can make the difference between a large settlement and one that fails to take into consideration all the costs involved in getting the proper care.
What if I was bitten while on someone’s property in Pembroke Pines when they gave me permission to be there?
Florida Statutes, §767.04, would apply in cases where someone was permitted on private property but a dog bit them anyway. Under these circumstances, the dog owner would still be liable to compensate the victim for any injuries. Call a dog bite accident lawyer today to help determine how much compensation could be awarded in a lawsuit or insurance settlement.