Dog attacks are frightening, traumatic experiences that can leave victims with permanent reminders in the form of bite wounds, physical scars, disfigurements, and psychological damage. Children and the elderly are especially at risk of suffering serious and even fatal injuries in dog attacks. Contact Fischer Redavid PLLC if your or someone you know has had to go to the hospital because of a dog bite in the city of Gainesville, Florida. Our lawyers can help you bring a claim against the responsible pet owner in pursuit of financial recovery.
Florida’s dog bite law states that the dog’s owner will be strictly liable for damages a bitten victim suffers in an attack. “Strict liability” means that it does not matter whether the dog had shown vicious propensities in the past, the owner knew the dog might bite, or the owner was negligent. Regardless of the circumstances, the owner will have to pay for the victim’s damages as long as the victim was lawfully in a private place or in a public place at the time of the attack.
Florida’s law differs from the “one-bite” rule many states abide by, which says an owner is only liable if the dog had bitten someone or given another reason for the owner to believe it could be dangerous in the past. Florida’s dog bite law does, however, allow for the partial liability of the dog bite victim in some situations. If the victim provoked the dog in some way, the courts will reduce the owner’s liability by the victim’s percentage of negligence. This can result in smaller compensation awards for victims.
As the victim of a dog attack, you have four years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim with the Gainesville civil courts. Waiting too long, however, can mean losing important evidence and making the legal process more difficult. For example, the liable pet owner might have moved out of state, or eyewitnesses to the attack might have forgotten exactly what happened. Promptly calling a lawyer gives you your best chance at securing compensation.
A dog bite can happen in a split second, but its ramifications can last forever. The steps a victim takes after suffering serious injuries from a canine can make all the difference in the person’s future. First, seek medical treatment for your injuries immediately. Common dog-related injuries include puncture wounds, crush injuries, and lacerations. You may need to receive rabies shots depending on the situation. Prompt medical care is important for your health and can also show a judge that you took the initiative to treat your injuries.
Call the authorities if the attack was particularly gruesome, resulted in someone’s death, or involved someone breaking the law. Currently, Alachua County does not have any ordinances restricting certain dog breeds. There are leash laws, however, as well as rules for where a dog can and cannot be off-leash. Calling 911 can get an official report of the attack, as well as result in any necessary actions against the dog or its owner. Calling the police could prevent the dog from attacking others in the future.
Collect information from your incident if possible. This includes photographs of the location of the attack, any important evidence (such as a fence with a hole at the bottom), and your injuries. The more you know about your dog bite incident before calling an attorney, the better. Once you’re on the mend from your injuries, call Fischer Redavi PLLC to request a free legal consultation. We can examine your case, help your family know what to do next, and take care of the legal matters that follow. We can help you recover compensation from a liable dog owner in Gainesville. Call (954) 860-8434 today.