Pets are a source of comfort and security for many West Palm Beach families. It’s not uncommon to greet a neighbor’s dog while out on a walk or invite guests to play with the family cat. Unfortunately, household pets may become aggressive when sick, tired, or scared, leading them to bite or claw someone.
Animal bites and scratches may become infected or permanently scar victims. If you or a loved one have been severely injured by a dog or other pet, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of your damages in a dog/animal bite lawsuit. The laws surrounding dog bite claims have criteria that can affect your ability to recover your losses, so having a seasoned dog bite lawyer on your side can make all the difference in securing a settlement.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Dog/Animal Bite Claim
After being seriously injured by a dog or other pet, you may be unsure about what damages you can collect to cover costs like medical bills and lost wages. The lawyers of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have over thirty years of combined experience advocating for West Palm Beach residents who have found themselves painfully injured or even disfigured by dog bites.
At KMW Legal, we know that it can be just as meaningful for dog bite victims to be compensated for the trauma of the experience and the lasting emotional impact of scars or other injuries. Our attorneys have spent years honing our craft to recover the maximum compensation that acknowledges the true extent of your damages.
In most cases, insurance companies will only offer the absolute minimum they are obligated to payout, but our West Palm Beach team is prepared to hold out for a fair settlement, even if that means going to trial. Contact our West Palm Beach team today to take advantage of a complimentary strategy session to learn more about the services we offer.
Dog Bites Can Cause Extensive Injuries
Dog/animal bite injuries may only need a few stitches to close a cut, or they may permanently disfigure the person who was attacked. With animal bites, there is the risk of diseases being transmitted through puncture wounds or deep scratches.
Victims of animal attacks are also prone to incurring injuries, such as head trauma or broken bones, while trying to ward off an attack or when being knocked to the ground by an aggressive animal. KMW Legal has seen many cases where victims will try to break their fall with their arms, only to sustain severe fractures or hit their head on the ground.
Examples of Common Dog Bite-Related Injuries
- Severe lacerations and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
Beyond the physical trauma of an animal attack, many dog bite victims also experience serious emotional distress. This may look like post-traumatic stress triggered in the presence of animals, humiliation surrounding disfiguring scars, or depression resulting from a lengthy recovery process. A skilled personal injury lawyer will work to ensure that these costs are accounted for in the value of your settlement.
Pet Owners Can Be Considered Liable Under Florida’s Strict Liability Statutes
The state of Florida regards pet owners as responsible for the behavior of their pets when another party is injured. Unlike in most other areas of personal injury law, the injured party does not have to provide evidence of negligence in order to recover the cost of damages in a dog bite lawsuit.
Your dog bite accident lawsuit can be dismissed or your settlement reduced if you were injured in a dog bite incident that involved one of the following circumstances:
- the incident involved a dog carrying out its role as a military or police animal
- you attempted to provoke or torment the animal into reacting
- you trespassed onto private property without an invitation from the owner
- there was a clearly displayed sign warning of the dog’s behavior, unless the injured party was under 6 at the time of the incident or the owner was negligent in the control of their pet
Negligent Pet Owners Can Be Held Responsible for Damages
Pet owners have an obligation to their friends, neighbors, and the public to observe laws surrounding pet ownership and mitigate the risk of their animal injuring someone else. For example, this involves abiding by Palm Beach County’s leash laws and keeping pets vaccinated against harmful diseases like rabies.
The standard pet owners are held to is understood as a duty of care in the personal injury world. When it comes to dog/animal bite cases, pet owners can be found at fault if they fail to act with the same level of responsibility and caution that most pet owners in their position would have shown. If they are deemed liable for the injuries caused by their pet, a pet owner will typically have to rely on their homeowner’s insurance to compensate for the cost of the injured party’s damages like medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish.
Dog Owners Who Perpetrate Intentional Torts Are Responsible for Damages
Not all pet owners can be trusted to protect others from their pets. In some cases, this goes beyond simple negligence, like forgoing a leash, and enters into the territory of an intentional tort. Some pet owners will deliberately agitate or direct their animals to attack others in an attempt to intimidate, distress, or distract them. Other pet owners have been known to use their animals in the aid of committing a crime and will encourage them to assault a victim.
When a pet owner purposefully attempts to cause another person harm by using their dog, the injured party will likely be able to recover a settlement for their damages. A personal injury lawyer who has experience navigating the nuances of dog/animal bite claims is the most suitable person to discern which intentional tort allegations apply.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Claim?
Dog bite injury claims to insurers totaled $882 million in 2021, underlining the financial impact that an animal-related injury can have on a person’s life. When you’ve been severely injured by someone’s pet, you shouldn’t be saddled with charges like the cost of reconstructive surgery or therapy to deal with the trauma of the incident. You may have also accumulated invisible costs that are nonetheless legitimate claims.
For example, you may face social rejection after being mauled to the point of disfigurement or struggle with self-confidence issues. Your self-confidence can impact your relationships and even your work performance, which goes to show that the consequences of a dog bite injury aren’t necessarily expressed by a couple of hospital bills and a few weeks’ worth of lost wages.
Examples of Dog/Animal Bite Damages:
- Medical bills
- Lab Tests
- Ambulance Rides
- Transportation to Appointments
- Surgeries, Reconstruction
- Hospital Stays
- Mobility Aids
- Home Healthcare Services
- Home Modifications
- Physical or Occupational Therapy
- Job-Related Losses
- Lost wages
- Lost Earning Potential
- Costs of Job Retraining
- Missed Promotions
- Inability to Continue Career
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
- Funeral and Burial Costs
- Loss of Consortium or Parental Guidance
- Lost Income Contribution
We believe that our clients shouldn’t have to struggle to make ends meet due to the burden of medical debt or face an uncertain future with no acknowledgment of their non-economic losses. To protect your right to reclaim compensation, seek out a trusted authority like KMW Legal to calculate the value of damages in your dog/animal bite lawsuit.
How Can a Dog/Animal Bite Lawyer Help Me?
Over 90 million American families own at least one pet. Even when you think you know an animal’s temperament, you are still at risk of being bitten or scratched if the animal feels scared or threatened. If you have been severely injured in a dog/animal bite incident, you may have the right to recover your losses in a dog/animal bite lawsuit.
Recuperating your damages may prove more difficult than you anticipated. In dog bite cases, we often see pet owners attempt to make excuses for their pet’s behavior or downplay the incident, which can hurt your chances of recovering a fair settlement.
Insurance companies want to avoid paying costs wherever they can, so they will likely try to use the pet owner’s testimony to discredit your account of the incident. Seeking out a respected dog bite lawyer with an eye for detail can help protect your settlement.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Dog Bite Lawsuit
A diligent dog bite lawyer will thoroughly review the evidence and help you establish a claim that reflects the events that transpired. At KMW Legal, we have over a decade of experience defending the integrity of our client’s claims. Our efforts have even been noted by our fellow lawyers, who have repeatedly named our partners as Rising Stars.
Our comprehensive services include acting as your voice when insurance companies call with settlement offers or debt collectors inquire about payment. KMW Legal’s team will work with you to develop a clear picture of the expenses you will likely incur as a result of your injuries, decode insurance policies and paperwork, and be your best advocate in any negotiation situation we encounter. Not only KMW Legal protect your rights, but we’ll also protect your future.
KMW Legal is Proud to Serve Dog/Animal Bite Victims in West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is a growing community of 117,415 people located along the coast of Palm Beach County. It has an established arts scene with access to sandy beaches and a variety of entertainment options. KMW Legal has built relationships throughout the West Palm Beach community during our decade representing injured dog bite victims.
Our trial experience distinguishes us from other personal injury law firms, which is one of the many reasons we are able to serve our clients so effectively. If you are in need of a dog bite lawyer who will tenaciously pursue a settlement that incorporates the full extent of your losses, KMW Legal is the best choice.
Contact a West Palm Beach Dog/Animal Bite Lawyer Today
Many people assume that dog bite attacks usually involve a stranger’s pet, but in most cases, the animal is known to the victim. Too often, this familiarity results in a false sense of security that can end with a serious injury.
KMW Legal has supported many clients who were looking at a lifetime of disfiguring scars, staggering medical bills, or financial uncertainty due to lost wages. At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we will make you a priority while we leverage our legal insight to secure you the compensation you deserve in a dog bite lawsuit.
As our former clients will attest, we leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a fair settlement. We won’t be intimidated by powerful insurance companies or the prospect of taking a complex claim to trial. Reach out to our West Palm Beach office today to schedule a free strategy session. Our team will provide you with the expert counsel and resources you need to rebuild your life.