When it comes to dog bites in Miami, personal injury lawyers commonly see serious injuries, requiring compensation to the victims. Dog owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not bite people and the expectation is that someone can walk in a public space and not be threatened by a bite from a domesticated animal. But dog bites still happen, and they happen all over Miami. When dogs bite people, the injuries can be quite severe, and there are many cases where a person has lost a limb, been unable to work, or had their life affected in some other adverse way. When dog bites happen, contacting a Miami dog bite attorney is essential.
The Seriousness of Dog Bite Incidents
The prevalence of dog bites is staggering. Many owners see their dogs as protectors of their person and property, sometimes going as far as training them to attack when they encounter strangers. Even if that isn’t the case, dog bites still happen. In fact, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by a dog or attacked by one every year. The problem is, dog bites can be extremely serious. In fact, a dog bite can cost someone hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and in severe cases, their life. Dog bites cause over $500 million in damage each year in the United States.
That is why dog bites are so serious. When you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, it can have a serious impact on your finances and your life. It can change your daily routine and lower your quality of life drastically. You might have to visit the hospital or a doctor’s office several times because of a dog bite. You might have to pay for expensive medication – in some cases, for the rest of your life – and you might be disfigured or seriously injured. It is easy to see how a serious dog bite can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in doctor visits, physical therapy, conventional and cosmetic surgery, and much more.
The Law & Dog Bites
So, what does the law say about dog bites? There are a lot of details when it comes to the law, and our Miami personal injury lawyer can tell you a lot more after you share the story of your injury, but we will go over a few things here that will help you understand how the law works when it comes to dog bites. The first thing you should know is that a victim of a dog bite has the responsibility of proving they are entitled to compensation as a result of the bite. That’s why a Miami dog bite lawyer is so important. There are several different legal arguments that may be used, and a dog bite attorney in Miami is the best equipped to explain them.
According to Florida Statutes, Section 767.04, owners are legally responsible for the actions of their dogs when they injure another person. Here is the actual text of the law:
“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 owner’s’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
What most people do not realize is that dog owners often know their dogs are prone to biting. These dogs previously exhibited aggressive behavior that would lead a reasonable person to believe the dog might bite. The owner should have known from this prior behavior that their dog is dangerous, and the owner should have taken every precaution possible to ensure that their dog would not bite anyone. Many owners do not do this, which is why they are held responsible when their dog bites someone. Especially with larger dog breeds, an aggressive dog is like a lion at the zoo. Can you imagine what would happen if the zoo allowed the lion to walk free among the visitors?
Responsibility for Dog Bites
When it comes down to who is responsible for a dog bite, the owner is the person that is usually named in any litigation. However, this is not always the case. For example, if a rental property is the location of a serious dog bite injury, it could be the owner of the property that is liable. Depending on the circumstances, our Miami personal injury lawyer may help you take action against both the property owner and the owner of the dog, providing you with a greater chance of getting the compensation that you deserve.
Comparative Negligence & Dog Bites
One area of personal injury law that can be difficult to understand is something called comparative negligence. This is a rule that must be taken into account when it comes to any dog bite case. Your personal injury lawyer in Miami will discuss comparative negligence as part of your consult because it relates to your financial compensation. What it comes down to is this: while the dog owner may have the responsibility to ensure that their dog does not bite anyone, victims who exhibit behaviors that contribute to the dog biting and injuring them will be held accountable for their actions. In simple terms, if you tease a dog and they bite you as a result, your compensation may be reduced drastically.
Worker’s Compensation & Dog Bites
Another topic you’ll want to discuss with your Miami personal injury lawyer is worker’s compensation as it relates to dog bites. Worker’s compensation applies to people who are on the job when they are bitten. For example, mail carriers, service people, delivery personnel and others may be entitled to compensation if they are required to walk on private property as part of their job, and they are bitten as a result. Worker’s compensation insurance provides employees who are injured on the job with wage replacement and medical benefits, but the employee may also have a claim against the dog’s owner. You should talk to a Miami personal injury attorney to find out if your case fits.
Homeowner’s Insurance & Dog Bite Compensation
Homeowner’s insurance plays a big role is many dog bite cases because the owner’s policy typically covers damages from a dog bite. Even if the owner does not have specific coverage that protects against a dog bite injury, homeowner’s insurance may still allow for dog bite compensation in certain circumstances. The injured person or party can bring claims against the owner of the dog if they were injured, and your injury attorney will be able to sort out whether or not homeowner’s insurance plays a part in that.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that dog bite injuries can be extremely serious and can cost you big money in medical bills and related expenses. You may have to take time off from work, which results in lost wages. All of the factors discussed above mean you should talk to a personal injury attorney in Miami as soon as possible after being bitten by a dog.