West Palm Beach Dog Bite Accident Lawyer
In an average year, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog throughout the United States with over 800,000 of those victims requiring medical attention, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A dog bit can cause physical injury and pain as well as permanent scarring and lasting emotional trauma. When the victim of a dog bite is a child, the psychological impact of the attack can last well into adulthood. In most cases, Florida law holds the owner of a dog responsible for injuries suffered in a dog bite without the need to prove negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the owner. As such, you may be entitled to compensation if you or your child were injured in a West Palm Beach dog bite accident.
A dog bite frequently leads to the need for costly medical care and psychological counseling. The financial impact of a dog bite can also be significant, especially when the attack leaves the victim with the need for ongoing and/or future medical care. If you or your child suffered an injury in a dog bite accident, or a loved one was fatally injured in one, you need a West Palm Beach dog bite accident lawyer at Demand the Limits on your side to ensure that your rights are protected. Your West Palm Beach accident lawyer can help identify the at-fault party and will aggressively advocate and litigate on your behalf to secure the maximum compensation possible. Let us use our extensive resources and exceptional skills to make sure you are fully and fairly compensated for all your injuries. Contact us today by calling (561) 600-3555 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.
What Are Some Common Dog Bite Accident Injuries?
Injuries sustained in a dog bite accident can cause serious permanent physical damage and lasting emotional trauma. The severity of the injuries caused by a dog bite will depend on several factors, but some common dog bite injuries include:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Rabies and other communicable diseases
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Soft tissue injury
- Loss of limb
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
When analyzing a dog bite, animal behaviorists use the “Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale” to categorize the severity level of a dog bite. The Dog Bite Scale has six levels, explained as follows:
- Level 1. Obnoxious or aggressive behavior but no skin contact by teeth.
- Level 2. Skin contact by teeth but no skin puncture. May be skin nicks (less than one-tenth of an inch deep) and slight bleeding caused by forward or lateral movement of teeth against the skin, but no vertical punctures.
- Level 3. One to four punctures from a single bite with no puncture wound deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. May be lacerations in a single direction, caused by the victim pulling the hand away, the owner pulling the dog away, or gravity.
- Level 4. One to four punctures from a single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. May also have deep bruising around the wound or lacerations in both directions.
- Level 5. Multiple bite incidents with at least two Level 4 bites or multiple attack incidents with at least one Level 4 bite in each.
- Level 6. Death of the victim.
Florida Dog Bite Accident Laws
Florida has a strict liability dog bite law which means that the owner of a dog can be held legally liable for injuries if their dog bites someone while on public property or while the victim is lawfully on the owner’s property without the victim having to prove wrongdoing or negligence on the part of the dog owner. Florida’s strict liability dog bite law does not require a showing of any prior vicious behavior on the dog’s part, nor does it require the owner to be aware of any propensity toward aggression on the dog’s part. In short, a victim need not prove anything beyond the fact that he/she suffered an injury because of a dog bite for Florida law to hold the owner of a dog responsible for those injuries.
One important caveat to Florida’s strict liability dog bite law is that an owner can escape liability for injuries to a dog bite victim over the age of six if, at the time of any such injury, the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog.”
Finally, if the victim’s own negligence caused or contributed to the dog bite, the owner may be able to avoid liability in whole or in part for injuries sustained by the victim. For example, if the victim provoked the dog, the owner could argue that the victim’s own wrongful or negligent conduct caused or contributed to the dog’s aggressive behavior. Because dog bites are a strict liability tort (personal injury) in Florida, the burden is on the dog owner to prove contributory negligence on the part of the victim to avoid or decrease the owner’s liability.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My West Palm Beach Dog Bite Accident?
While any type of personal injury accident can leave the victim with a permanent injury, a dog bite attack often leaves the victim with lifelong trauma and fear of dogs. This is particularly true when the victim is a young child. For both the child and the parent, a dog bite accident can cause lasting trauma.
If you were injured in a West Palm Beach dog bite accident or are the parent of a child who suffered injuries because of a dog bite, you could be eligible for compensation because of the physical and psychological injuries sustained in the accident. Economic damages cover things such as hospital and doctor bills, lost income, and rehabilitative therapy. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the subjective injuries suffered because of the dog bite, such as emotional trauma, permanent scarring, and disfigurement.
When a West Palm Beach dog bite accident causes fatal injuries to the victim, a surviving parent or child may also be entitled to compensation as a claimant in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit.
Get Help from an Experienced West Palm Beach Dog Bite Accident Lawyer
If you are the victim, parent of a victim, or surviving family member of a fatally injured victim in a West Palm Beach dog bite accident, compensation may be available for your physical injuries and emotional trauma or for the loss you suffered because of the dog bite. Consulting with a West Palm Beach dog bite accident lawyer at Demand the Limits is the key to making sure the responsible party is held accountable and you and your family are fully compensated for the injuries and hardship you have experienced. A West Palm Beach dog bite accident lawyer can help you in a multitude of ways, including:
- Making sure you receive appropriate medical care.
- Investigating the accident and identifying the dog and owner.
- Documenting your injuries and evaluating damages.
- Negotiating for the maximum compensation possible.
- Pursuing a lawsuit and advocating for you in court.
At Demand the Limits, our experienced West Palm Beach dog bite accident lawyers have extensive experience with dog bite accident cases. We fight hard to defend the legal rights of all West Palm Beach injury victims. Call (561) 600-3555 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. Don’t delay – the sooner you have an attorney fighting for you, the better protected your legal rights will be.