A dog attack is a frightening experience. It can also lead to severe injuries, long-term issues, and financial stress. While the vast majority of dogs are incredibly friendly, dog bites can and do happen. Usually, dog bites occur in a few different scenarios, namely when they get out of their yard, when they are not on a leash, or when their owner lets an aggressive dog get too close to another person. When this happens, the owner of the dog can typically be held liable and the victim may be able to recover financial compensation for their losses.
The Jupiter dog bite attorneys at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh are here to help if you or someone you love has been injured due to a dog attack caused by the negligence of their owner.
Dog Bite Statistics in Florida
According to estimates, Floridians submitted 1,325 claims for bites and other dog-related injuries in 2016, and 1,345 in 2017. That number went down to 1,281 in 2018. When adjusted for population, about six of every 100,000 Florida residents filed a claim in 2018. That’s about the same as California (5.5/100,000) but almost twice as much as Texas (3.2/100,000).
The average cost per dog injury claim in Florida is about $45,000. But that can vary greatly based on the facts of the case. For example, a person would puncture wounds will end up with far fewer medical bills than someone who has their face disfigured and needs multiple plastic surgeries. Dog bites are extremely unpredicatbale.
Each year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by one of the 78 million dogs living in U.S. homes.
This equates to about 1 bite victim for every 17 dogs.
Children are also most at risk. Kids between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of dog bite injuries, according to the CDC. Additionally, more than half of dog bite injuries happen at home with dogs familiar to their victims. But this also means that half of all dog bites are by strangers.
Common Injuries Associated with Dog Bites
A dog’s jaws are very strong, and their teeth are very sharp. As a result, a bite can lead to serious injuries. These include the following:
- Lacerations and cuts
- Permanent scarring
- Infections and other complications
- Fractures or broken bones
- Soft tissue and nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Disabilities that can be either temporary or permanent
How Do Dog Attacks Occur?
Most dog bites occur on or near the owner’s property. Victims may be coming to visit, or a dog could run through an opening in a fence and attack someone walking by. There are times when a neighbor or family member may bring their dog over when visiting, and an attack will take place on the victim’s property.
A dog can bite someone when they feel threatened for some reason, or they’re sick and don’t want to be petted or held. Common signs that a dog is agitated and may bite include the following:
- The tail is held high and stiff, and quickly moving back and forth.
- The dog looks at you out of the corner of its eye.
- The nose is wrinkled due to being pulled back.
- The lips are moved back in a snarling position, with the teeth visible.
- The fur along the spine and neck is raised.
- The body gets tensed.
- The dog starts to growl.
What to do After You’re Bitten by a Dog
Any sort of dog bite needs to be taken seriously. Even a supposedly minor bite needs medical attention. It could lead to an infection, and that could obviously lead to severe complications. If a severe bite occurs, immediate action will be necessary.
Call for an ambulance or have someone take you to the emergency room if possible. Call the police so they can get in touch with animal control and document the situation. If you don’t know the owner, write down their address and get any other information if possible, like their phone number.
And in case you were wondering, you will not be guaranteeing the dog’s death if you report the incident. That is a misunderstanding. In order to be euthanized, a dog usually has to bite multiple people or have been trained to attack or something similar.
Do You Need to Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?
After you are bitten by a dog, you should consider hiring a Jupiter dog bite attorney as soon as you can. You may have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit against the dog owner’s insurance company.
A lot of dog bite victims are hesitant to take any kind of legal action because the owner is either a friend, a neighbor, or a family member. But it’s extremely important to note that you won’t be suing the dog owner—you’ll be suing their insurer if legal action should become necessary.
If it does, you’ll need an experienced attorney working on your behalf in order to have the best chance of winning your case.
This can be a very complex legal matter. While you won’t have to prove that the owner knew the dog was likely to attack, the matter of comparative negligence may come into play. This is a legal principle that Florida law applies to this kind of case. In a nutshell, it means that both you and the dog’s owner could share fault.
There’s a very good chance the owner’s insurance company will claim that you share at least some responsibility. It may argue, for example, that you somehow incited the attack. It may claim you taunted the dog, or provoked them into biting you in some other manner. If the insurance company wins, that will substantially reduce the amount of compensation you may be able to obtain.
That’s why you’re going to need the help of a skilled lawyer. An attorney will work to gather the evidence needed to prove you were in no way accountable, and, as a result, you deserve to receive full compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Recovering Damages for your Dog Bite Injury
The term “damages” is legal speak for monetary losses that occur due to an accident caused by negligence. You’ve probably already received some medical bills for the treatment you needed.
You might have also lost money because you’ve had to stay home and can’t work. These medical expenses and lost wages are examples of damages.
There are other kinds of damages that are more subjective, such as emotional trauma.
You may have been so traumatized by the event that you can no longer be around any kind of animal without being frightened. You might not even want to walk around the neighborhood, due to being afraid of another attack.
These are examples of so-called “non-economic” damages that could provide added compensation.
Why You Should Hire KMW for your Dog Bite Injury?
If you were injured by another person’s dog, you can request and receive compensation for all the money you lost because of the attack. This might include current and future medical bills, lost wages from missed time off work, and compensation for pain and suffering. The lawyers at Keller Melchiorre & Walsh are experts at recovering this compensation and they can help you too.
The lawyers at KMW have spent years fine-tuning our understanding of Florida dog bite law and the merits of various cases and arguments. We also have the resources needed to handle these types of cases. We have the staff, financial backing, and access to experts that is necessary to put together a proper, successful case. Let us put our knowledge and resources to work for you.
We have handled thousands of cases and recovered over 50 million dollars for clients. Let us help you too.
Contact a Jupiter Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Call now and schedule a free meeting with a Jupiter dog bite lawyer at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh. If we can, we’ll do everything possible to help you get the money you deserve.