Dog bites are more common than you might think. An incident can occur despite being careful around animals in the neighborhood or someone’s home. Unfortunately, some of these incidents could cause injury requiring medical attention but less than one percent receive the proper compensation. 

Florida is a “strict liability” state concerning dog bites. This means the dog owner can be held liable for injuries if the dog bites someone, regardless of the dog’s past behavior. The injured does not need to prove that a lack of reasonable care caused the dog a bite. Usually, homeowner’s insurance policies cover the costs for medical bills associated with a dog bite, but not necessarily the pain and suffering associated with the incident. 

If you or a family member has been bitten and injured by a dog, here are the actions you should take. 

  • Seek medical attention. Even if the bite appears minor, it is always wise to get the injury evaluated by a medical professional. Keep a record of all visits with your doctors as well as corresponding notes, x-rays, etc. 
  • Document the incident. In addition to medical records, document your version of the incident and take pictures of your injuries should evidence is needed. 
  • Contact the dog’s owner. Many victims of a dog bite are hesitant to contact the dog’s owner, especially if it is a friend, family member, or neighbor. However, it is essential to obtain basic information about the dog’s history including vaccination records, previous aggressive behavior, and bite incidents (if applicable). Should you consider filing a personal injury claim, this information is needed. 
  • Contact the local authorities. This is necessary if you do not know the owner, or if the owner of the dog is being uncooperative. 
  • Contact an attorney. A lawyer skilled in the area of dog bites can help you receive compensation for medical and rehab bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In most cases, an attorney can obtain three times the compensation versus attempting to resolve the issue on your own. Retaining a lawyer also eases the legal burden so you can focus on recovery from your injuries. Additionally, an attorney acts as a non-biased third party, allowing you to preserve your relationship with the dog’s owner. 

Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a dog bite injury. If you miss the deadline your case will likely be thrown out; do your due diligence to file before the deadline so your case is heard. 

When it’s all said and done, you want peace of mind when selecting a legal team. If you or a family member have been injured or attacked by a dog, time is of the essence. Contact Hudgins Law Firm at 800-950-5534 or on our website as soon as possible so we can discuss your rights.

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