Dog bites can happen in surprising places. Whether it is the governor’s mansion, or the dog-friendly stretch of Lincoln Road, dogs sometimes lash out at others, unprovoked. Recently, a waitress was mauled by a dog while attempting to serve the dog water. The dog ripped into her lip, requiring 300 stitches and seven hours of surgery. Even though police were called to the scene, no charges were filed and the dog was allowed to remain with the owner.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, contact Florida dog bite attorneys today to see whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Florida expects dog owners to be responsible owners. While a dog does not have to be deemed dangerous for a dog-owner to be held liable, a dog can be determined to be dangerous if it has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property; has either severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner’s property; is used for dog fighting; or attacked or chased someone down the street, unprovoked, in a way meant for an attack (which would have to be verified in an official investigation and with a sworn statement by one or more individuals).
Occasionally, a dog-bite victim may find they have to defend themselves against claims of comparative negligence. Florida law allows a jury to consider whether the victim of an injury in any way caused his or her own injury. If they consider the victim to be negligent, and that this negligence contributed to the injury, then the liability of the other party who contributed to the harm could be reduced.
The CDC estimates that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Approximately 20% of those people had to seek medical attention, including serious procedures like reconstructive surgery. In Florida alone, more than 500 victims of dog bites require hospitalization. Dog bites can lead to a life-threatening rabies infection, which is known to be prevalent in Florida. In 2006 over 300 individuals were recommended post-exposure prophylaxis due to dog bites. As medical costs continue to grow, one cannot afford to be found partially liable.
Dog bites do not only leave physical scars, they also have long-lasting psychological impacts. People who sustain dog bites will often have acute stress disorder or post traumatic stress disorder. Various intensive therapies may be required to make the victim feel safe again.
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