Dog Bites & Animal Attacks


Florida Dog Bite Attorney

Dog bites are both a physically painful and psychologically traumatic experience. With many pet owners, Florida sees its fair share of animal attacks and dog bites. Consulting with dog bite lawyers or attorneys can prove instrumental in handling these issues efficiently and effectively. When victims need legal guidance, Luhrsen Goldberg is who they turn to for a Florida dog bite attorney because of our experience, knowledge, and successful track record.

Exploring the Spectrum of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can result in various injuries that span the spectrum from minor to severe and debilitating. The damage often extends beyond immediate physical harm, ushering in a long road to recovery with various treatment requirements. Each type of injury brings its own set of complications and healing challenges.

Lacerations: A Cut Deeper Than Skin

Lacerations, or deep cuts caused by a dog’s sharp teeth, are a common consequence of dog bites. These injuries can lead to significant blood loss and potentially damage underlying tissues, muscles, or even bones. The force exerted by a biting dog can cause lacerations to be quite severe, sometimes necessitating reconstructive surgery to repair the damage.

The healing process for lacerations can be extended, requiring stitches, bandages, and possibly physical therapy to regain full functionality of the affected area. One of the more significant impacts of such injuries is the possibility of permanent scars, serving as a lasting, visible reminder of the traumatic event.

Puncture Wounds: Hidden Dangers Below the Surface

Unlike lacerations, puncture wounds may appear minor on the surface. These are wounds caused by the dog’s teeth penetrating the skin. However, their seemingly insignificant appearance belies the high risk they carry for deep tissue infection due to bacteria driven deep into the body by the biting action.

Such wounds necessitate thorough cleaning under medical supervision and often require antibiotic treatment to prevent or control infection. Left unchecked, these infections can lead to significant health complications.

Nerve Damage: A Lingering Pain

Dog bites can be particularly aggressive, with enough force to cause nerve damage. This type of injury can result in chronic pain, impaired sensation, or even complete loss of function in the affected area.

Recovery from nerve damage can be a lengthy process, requiring a combination of medication management, physiotherapy, and potentially surgical intervention. It is not uncommon for victims with nerve damage to experience long-term or even permanent changes in sensation or motor function.

Fractures: The Heavy Toll of Powerful Jaws

Attacks by large, strong dogs or incidents involving vulnerable victims such as children or the elderly can result in fractures. The powerful jaws of some dog breeds can exert enough pressure to break bones, especially in the hands or arms, as victims naturally try to protect themselves from the attack.

Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, treatment might involve surgical intervention, casting, and a significant period of rest to allow for healing. Physical therapy is often needed to restore strength and function after the bone has healed.

Infections: The Silent Threat

One of the serious risks associated with dog bites is the threat of infections such as rabies or tetanus. Dogs, especially those not vaccinated, can transmit these diseases through saliva. These diseases can have severe, sometimes fatal, consequences if not treated promptly. Prompt medical attention following a dog bite can ensure that appropriate prophylactic treatments are given.

Psychological Trauma: The Invisible Wounds

Not all injuries resulting from a dog bite are physical. A significant dog attack can leave a victim with profound psychological trauma, resulting in conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute anxiety, and severe phobias, particularly cynophobia – the fear of dogs.

The effect of these psychological injuries can be as debilitating as physical ones, impacting daily life, social interactions, and overall mental well-being. These conditions might require long-term therapy and mental health support. It is essential to recognize and address these invisible wounds to ensure a holistic approach to recovery from a dog bite incident.

The spectrum of dog bite injuries is vast, encompassing physical and psychological domains. Each type of injury demands its specific approach to treatment and has unique implications for the recovery journey of the victim. Therefore, understanding these different injuries can provide a foundation for informed decision-making following a dog bite incident, allowing for effective medical interventions and appropriate legal action.

An Insight into Victim’s Rights in Florida

Florida’s legal framework aims to protect victims of dog bites effectively. This protection is primarily afforded through the “strict liability” doctrine that forms a cornerstone of the state’s dog bite laws. This principle stipulates that the owner of a dog is held accountable for any injuries the dog inflicts, regardless of whether or not the dog has previously demonstrated aggressive behavior. This doctrine ensures that dog owners cannot evade responsibility for a dog bite incident merely because the dog has never shown signs of aggression.

Victims Can Seek Compensation in Dog Bite Cases

This means that victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries from the dog’s owner, even if the incident was the dog’s first act of aggression. This law is particularly critical as it ensures that victims are not left without recourse due to a lack of prior incidents indicating the dog’s propensity to bite.   There are, however, certain exceptions that may limit a dog bite victim’s rights.  

An Attorney’s Knowledge and Experience is Vital for Success

However, understanding and leveraging these rights can pose significant challenges for those unfamiliar with legal processes and terminologies. This is where the expertise of a qualified Florida dog bite attorney becomes crucial. Such an attorney, equipped with in-depth knowledge of the state’s dog bite laws, can guide victims through the legal intricacies. They can interpret and explain the law’s provisions in understandable terms, help victims understand the legal process, and advocate vigorously to ensure their rights are protected and upheld.

Unpacking the Types of Recoverable Damages

The aftermath of a dog bite incident is often marked by physical pain, emotional turmoil, and significant financial expenditure for the victims. Recognizing this, Florida law enables victims to seek compensation for their losses from the incident. These losses, also referred to as damages, can be classified into two main categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

These damages encompass the direct and quantifiable financial costs of the injury. The costs incurred for immediate medical attention, such as emergency room visits, medication, and treatments, are recoverable under economic damages. But the compensation doesn’t stop there. Future medical expenses relating to the injury are also considered. These can include costs for ongoing treatments, rehabilitation services, physical therapy, and any required surgeries after the incident.

Economic damages also account for financial losses due to an inability to work during recovery or a reduced capacity to work because of long-term or permanent physical limitations resulting from the injury. These might include lost wages and decreased earning potential.

Non-Economic Damages

While economic damages cover tangible costs, non-economic damages compensate for the intangible or non-quantifiable impacts endured by the victim. These damages can include compensation for the physical pain and suffering experienced by the victim as a direct result of the injury.

Non-economic damages also account for the emotional distress caused by the incident. Dog bite incidents can result in significant psychological trauma, leading to conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The costs associated with treatment for these conditions and the distress itself can be recovered.

Lastly, non-economic damages consider the loss of enjoyment of life due to physical limitations or psychological trauma resulting from the injury. This refers to the reduced ability to engage in and enjoy activities and life experiences that the victim previously enjoyed.

Accurately calculating these damages is a nuanced and complex task. It requires a thorough consideration of all the victim’s losses and the potential future impacts of the injury. An experienced dog bite lawyer can prove invaluable in this process. They can bring their knowledge and expertise to bear, ensuring that all immediate and future costs are factored in, and the victim seeks comprehensive and fair compensation.

Understanding and Proving Liability in Florida

In Florida, strict liability laws simplify establishing liability for dog bite injuries. By removing the need for the injured party to demonstrate that the owner was negligent or aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, Florida’s laws simplify the pursuit of justice for dog bite victims. The mere fact that a bite occurred is typically sufficient to establish liability.

Be Aware of Exceptions

However, while this simplification serves justice in most cases, there can be exceptions. When a dog causes harm without biting, such as knocking someone over, chasing a person into traffic, or causing a bicycle accident, establishing liability may not be as straightforward. In these scenarios, the injured party may need to provide evidence that the owner was aware of, or reasonably should have been aware of, the dog’s dangerous propensities.

In addition, exceptions prevent or limit a dog bite victim’s ability to recover.  Among them are these:

  • The injured person was a trespasser on the dog owner’s property
  • Except as to child victims under age six, the dog owner has prominently posted on his property warning signs that include the words “Bad Dog”
  • A victim who provoked the bite or who’s negligence contributed to the biting incident, may find his right to recover proportionately reduced by his own fault. 

Witness Testimony, Proper Precautions, & Prior Behavior

These cases necessitate a deeper examination of the dog’s past behavior, potentially involving witnesses who have seen the dog behaving aggressively before or expert testimony to establish that the dog’s breed tends to be aggressive. It may also involve evaluating whether the owner had appropriately secured the dog or if there were prior complaints about the dog’s behavior.

A Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

Given the added complexities in such cases, engaging a competent dog bite attorney becomes even more crucial. An experienced attorney can navigate these complexities, gathering the necessary evidence, calling upon expert witnesses, and presenting a compelling case that accurately reflects all relevant facts and establishes the owner’s liability.

The Process of Navigating Denied Insurance Claims

Handling insurance claims following a dog bite injury can be daunting, particularly if your insurance claim is denied. In these instances, promptly consulting with a dog bite lawyer is crucial. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide much-needed clarity by assessing your case, reviewing your insurance policy, and examining the reasons for the denial.

Insurance policies can be complex documents filled with legal jargon and caveats. A dog bite attorney, familiar with such language, can decipher your policy, ensuring you understand your coverage and the obligations of your insurance company. They can also ensure that the insurance company acts in good faith and honors its contractual obligations.

Increasingly, another barrier to recovery relates to whether the applicable homeowner’s or renter’ insurance policy excludes coverage for dog bites.  Some policies exclude coverage for certain dog breeds or may limit coverage if the dog bite occurs off the property. Therefore reviewing and understanding the policy terms and coverages is important. 

Legal Pitfalls to Avoid in the Aftermath of a Dog Bite

Following a dog bite incident, embarking on the legal journey can be a minefield of potential pitfalls. Unfamiliarity with the process can lead to mistakes that may jeopardize your case or limit the compensation you can recover.

Don’t Accept Early Settlements

One of the most common mistakes is rushing into accepting settlements offered by insurance companies. These initial offers may seem substantial, particularly when facing mounting medical bills and financial stress. However, these offers are often lower than the victim is entitled to and may not cover all economic and non-economic damages. An attorney can provide valuable advice in this regard, helping you understand the full value of your claim and ensuring you do not settle for less than you deserve.

Don’t Provide Recorded Statements to Insurance Adjusters Without Legal Representation

Another common misstep is providing recorded statements to insurance adjusters without your attorney present. Insurance adjusters are skilled professionals who limit the insurer’s payout. They can ask leading questions designed to get you to say something that could be used against you, potentially reducing your claim’s worth.

To avoid these and other potential pitfalls, it’s crucial to consult with experienced Florida dog bite attorneys. These legal professionals can guide you through each step of the legal process, ensuring that your rights are upheld and you receive the compensation you deserve.

The Importance of Building a Strong Case

Ensuring fair compensation for a dog bite incident requires the construction of a strong case. This construction involves careful and comprehensive documentation of all facets of the incident. Here are some key elements to consider:

  • Medical Records: These records should detail the extent of injuries, the treatments required, and the potential for future medical needs related to the injury. It’s also beneficial to document any psychological treatments, such as therapy or counseling, resulting from the trauma of the incident.
  • Witness Testimonies: Witnesses can provide an unbiased account of the incident, adding credibility to your case. This could include anyone who saw the event unfold or medical professionals who treated you following the bite.
  • Photographic Evidence: Pictures can be a powerful tool in supporting your case. Photos of your injuries, the location of the incident, and the dog involved can all contribute to a clearer understanding of the event.
  • Dog’s Past Behavior: If the dog has displayed aggressive behavior, it’s critical to document this. Previous victims, neighbors, or animal control records can all provide valuable insights into the dog’s past behavior.

Working with a knowledgeable Florida dog bite lawyer can significantly enhance this process. They can guide you on the necessary evidence, how to gather it, and how to present it effectively, strengthening your case significantly.

Emphasizing the Vital Role of a Dog Bite Attorney

In Florida, dog bite attorneys play an instrumental role in ensuring victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve. They perform several crucial functions, from educating victims on their rights to calculating a fair amount for compensation, negotiating with insurance companies, and providing representation in court, if necessary.

Navigating the complex maze of legal procedures, regulations, and documentation can be overwhelming for someone already dealing with a dog bite’s physical and emotional trauma. By simplifying these complexities, dog bite attorneys can reduce the burden on victims, allowing them to focus on their recovery. They bring their expertise to bear on the process, ensuring that it’s handled efficiently, professionally, and in a manner that upholds the victim’s rights.

In conclusion, while a dog bite injury is a traumatic and life-altering experience, remember that a competent Florida dog bite attorney or a team of dog bite lawyers can provide the necessary guidance, support, and legal expertise. They are equipped to ensure that your rights are upheld throughout the process and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Their assistance can make a significant difference in your journey toward healing and recovery.

Contact Luhrsen Goldberg for a Florida Dog Bite Attorney

Animal attacks and dog bites are physically and emotionally traumatic events that can change us forever. Victims need to be aware of their rights and understand that there is a path forward with the help of a Florida dog bite attorney from Luhrsen Goldberg. Our talented legal team is here to give you the strength you need during this difficult time. Contact us today to understand why our Law Powered by Women® legal assistance is the perfect fit for you and your case.