A dog attacking a child or an adult can be a horrific experience that can cause serious injuries, disfigurement, and a lifelong fear of man’s best friend. Anyone who is bitten by a dog without provocation should promptly call an experienced Delray Beach dog bite lawyer to arrange for a free, no obligation consultation.
At that meeting, the attorney can evaluate the strength of the case and recommend the best course of action.
The injured party, or the parent or guardian, can hire an experienced injury attorney on a contingency basis. Under that arrangement, the attorney’s fee is paid from the monetary damages that are awarded. If the case does not result in damages, the lawyer does not charge a fee.
Florida’s Dog Bite Law
Florida uses the “strict liability” standard in dog bite cases. This standard holds the dog’s owner liable for any injuries, even though the owner did not act carelessly or negligently, and even if the dog was leashed or behind a fence. It does not matter where the incident took place.
The dog owner is also automatically liable if a child younger than six years old is bitten.
However, Florida does not hold the dog’s owner liable if the owner was not negligent and served warning to others by installing a sign reading “bad dog.” By placing the sign in a conspicuous place, the dog’s owner is transferring risk to other people, thereby establishing an assumption of risk defense. Talk to a Delray Beach dog bite lawyer for more on the dog bite law in Florida.
Negligence Law Regarding Dog Bite Attacks
The person suffering from a dog bite may employ Florida’s comparative negligence standard, which holds everyone who attributes to a dog bite to share financial responsibility. To prevail, these elements of the law must be proven:
- The dog owner had a duty of care not to cause injury to another person
- The dog owner acted in a manner that breached that duty of care
- But for the breach, the dog bite would not have happened
- A particular and foreseeable result occurred
- The person bitten incurred a financial loss
If a person of any age is severely injured by a dog bite, Florida law allows the dog to be declared “dangerous.”
An investigation is conducted while the dog is impounded and, if need be, quarantined at the owner’s expense. Other than that, the dog can be confined in a secure and fenced property, presumably at home. A dog cannot be dangerous under the law if the seriously injured person was a trespasser or someone who was “tormenting, abusing, or assaulting” the dog, its owner, or members of the family.
Statute of Limitations
Florida requires that a dog bite lawsuit be filed with the court within two years from the date of the dog bite incident or else it cannot be filed.
Taking Legal Action with a Delray Beach Dog Bite Attorney
The Delray Beach dog bite lawyer will begin by gathering facts, such as the testimonies of witnesses and the parties and documenting the medical and other expenses involved.
Next, a demand letter stating the case will be sent to the dog’s owner. If that is rejected, a civil lawsuit is prepared and an amount of damages is calculated and documented.
Many civil cases are settled out of court. In that event, the defendant’s insurance carrier will, in acting in its own best interests, try to reduce the amount of damages. The Delray Beach dog bite lawyer, who is well-versed in this area of law, will try to fight for the person’s best interest and try to achieve a fair settlement.