Dog Bite Lawsuits in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

dog bite lawsuit

Filing a dog bite lawsuit involves several essential steps, including reporting the bite, identifying liable parties, negotiating with insurance companies, and filing a complaint if no settlement is reached. Having an experienced dog bite lawyer to guide you through the process can make all the difference.

Here, we’ll walk through the key phases of pursuing compensation after a dog attack so you can understand what to expect. With the right legal help, you can hold negligent parties accountable and receive the maximum recovery.

Seeking Medical Care After a Dog

After any dog bite, the first priority is to take care of your injuries. Go to the emergency room or visit your doctor right away. Tell the medical staff that you’ve suffered a dog bite so they can clean and treat the wounds properly.

Getting timely medical care serves two important purposes: protecting your health and establishing evidence for your claim. The medical records will document the severity of the bite and show the need for treatment. Photograph any wounds or scarring as further proof.

Reporting the Dog Bite to Animal Control

You’ll also want to report the bite to animal control and/or the police immediately. Provide details like when and where the incident occurred, the dog’s description, and the owner’s identity. This creates an official record and can help track down the animal. The owner may face fines or criminal charges.

Identifying Liable Parties Under Premises Liability Law

In any dog bite case, the first party to target is the animal’s legal owner. However, other individuals or entities may share liability depending on the circumstances.

For example:

  • A landlord could be negligent if they allowed a vicious dog on their rental property.
  • A dog walker or pet sitter may be liable if the bite occurred in their care.
  • If the bite happened at work, an employer may be responsible.

An experienced attorney can help identify all potentially liable parties in your case. They will also determine if those parties have applicable insurance policies (homeowners, renters, business, etc.) to pursue.

Consulting an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney

Dog bite laws can be complex. Having a personal injury lawyer on your side levels the playing field. Your attorney will handle the legal complexities while you focus on recovery.

Key attorney responsibilities include:

  • Gathering evidence like veterinary records, witness statements, bills, etc.
  • Investigating all circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Identifying all forms of insurance coverage applicable to your claim
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters and demanding fair compensation
  • Filing paperwork, documents, motions, etc. properly and on time
  • Taking the case to court if a satisfactory settlement isn’t reached

Having an aggressive dog bite lawyer sends the message that you are serious about pursuing your legal rights. The attorney understands how to build leverage, apply pressure, and maximize your recovery.

Sending a Demand Letter and Negotiating Compensation

Once your attorney has gathered evidence and determined the full scope of your damages, they will send a demand letter to the appropriate insurance companies. This letter outlines:

  • The circumstances of the dog attack
  • The negligent parties involved
  • The medical evidence proving your injuries and treatment
  • A calculation of the compensation you are demanding

This begins the negotiation process. The insurance company may accept your demand, make a counteroffer, or reject it completely. Your lawyer handles these negotiations and fights for fair compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages.

Unfortunately, there’s no real “average” settlement amount, as case values vary significantly based on the specific details and severity of injuries involved. Insurers also typically keep past settlement figures confidential.

What you can count on is insurance companies aiming to minimize payouts as much as possible. That’s why you can’t afford to simply accept their first offer or rejection. With perseverance and the right attorney, you can fight for an appropriate settlement that accounts for all your damages and losses.

Filing a Lawsuit If No Settlement Reached

If the insurance company refuses to offer a just settlement, then your attorney can file a dog-bite lawsuit. This initiates the litigation process. Key steps include:

  • Drafting and filing the complaint alleging negligence
  • Gathering further evidence through depositions and discovery
  • Proving your case in court before a judge or jury
  • Trying to win a favorable verdict awarding you damages

In Florida, you have two years after the date of the injury to file a lawsuit for a dog bite. Your injury lawyers can help keep your claim on track from filing all the way through trial if needed.

How We Can Help if You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog

At Purely Legal, our attorneys have decades of combined experience helping dog bite victims recover compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. We handle every aspect of the claims process for you so that you can focus on healing.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact us for a free consultation. Call or complete our online form. Our dog bite lawyers will evaluate your case at no charge and advise you of your legal options. With our help, you can seek the maximum compensation you deserve.

Author Bio

Orlando Sheppard

Orlando Sheppard is a Co-Founder and Partner of Purely Legal, a multi-state personal injury law firm serving clients in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. He handles a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, bike accidents, dog bites, premise liability, slip and falls, and wrongful death.

Orlando received his Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar, the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association.

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