South Florida Dog Bite Attorneys
People love their pets. So much so that the American Pet Products Association reports that people across the country own about 78.2 million dogs.
There are over 150 breeds registered with the American Kennel club. These canines are usually categorized by the functional type from which the breed was developed. These types can include:
- Companion dogs (Labrador and Golden Retriever)
- Guard dogs (German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Pit-bull, Mastiff)
- Hunting dogs (Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter)
- Herding dogs (Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie)
- Working dogs/Service dogs/Therapy dogs (Retrievers, German Shepherd, Dalmatian)
While most dogs are friendly and behave, according the American Humane Society of America, there are an estimated 4.7 million dog bite incidents in the U.S. each year. Nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical attention. More than 50% of all dog bites involve children under 12 years old and 70% of dog bite fatalities are with children.
Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons, including dominance aggression, defensive or fear aggression, protective/territorial aggression, predatory aggression, pain-elicited aggression, or redirected aggression.
It is important to remember that any breed of dog can bite. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that nearly $479 million in dog bite claims were paid by all insurance companies in 2011. Florida had 146 claims for a total of $5.6 million.
Florida law makes a dog owner liable for damages to a person bitten:
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, 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. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, 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.’ The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
A dog will often bite a person in the face, neck, head, hand, arm, leg, and foot. Dog bites can result in one or more of the following injuries:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Other Resources for Dog Bite Information:
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I was bitten by a dog that belongs to a family member or friend?
Suing a family member or friend is never an easy situation. However, homeowner’s insurance usually covers dog bite claims if the incident occurred in a family member or friend’s home.
Is the dog put down after an attack?
In most cases, the dog will not be put down. However, the dog owner will have to report the bite or attack to the local police department and to the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. After the report, the dog will be added to a list that contains dogs who are considered dangerous or potentially dangerous.
Should I speak with the dog owner if he or she wants to talk to me about my injuries?
We advise against speaking with anyone other than your attorney when it comes to your medical treatment and injuries. Most importantly, do not sign anything that the dog owner may give you, and do not put anything in writing to the owner either.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries from a dog attack and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact Zimmerman & Frachtman by calling (954) 509-1900 to schedule a meeting with a South Florida dog bite attorney. We offer free consultations and charge you only if we win your case.