Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawyer

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Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyerDespite being viewed as man’s best friend, dogs are animals and can be unpredictable. They can attack anyone in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, without provocation, especially if they’re not properly trained or supervised by their owners.

An experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer can help you hold negligent dog owners liable and ensure you are compensated for you injuries.

Imagine your child is bitten by a dog whose owner did not have a leash outside Rock Island Elementary.

Or picture yourself as a delivery driver for Bayview Pizza Grill, and on a routine delivery at a Fort Lauderdale residence, you knock on the door and a German shepherd pushes past the owner and attacks you, leaving you in need of 25 stitches.

As horrifying as these situations sound, they’re not uncommon. If you or your loved one was bitten by a dog in Fort Lauderdale, you may be able to hold the owner responsible.

A dog bite attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys can protect your legal rights and help you recover maximum compensation for all the economic and non-economic damages you might have incurred. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Who Are Most Likely to Be Victims of Dog Bite Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the injury rate from dog bites is the highest for children between the ages of 5 and 9. This is because children do not always understand that dogs can be dangerous. Young children do not realize that dogs do not like being taunted with food or having their tails pulled. Plus, children may be unable to defend themselves or get away from dogs quickly during an attack.

The small size of children under 10 puts them at risk of getting bitten on the head or neck more than any other age group. According to the CDC, most dog bites involving children under 6 years are from dogs known to the family, and more than half occur in their homes. Across all age groups, the most common causes of dog bites are inappropriate behavior management and protective behavior.

To learn more about your rights after an animal attack or dog bite injury contact a Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys today.

How Often Do Dog Bite Incidents Occur in Fort Lauderdale,?

According to another study by the CDC, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States, with nearly 1 out of 5 victims requiring medical attention. A significant percentage of these dog bites involve children and older people.

A recent study also shows that about 1,000 Americans require emergency care treatment for serious dog bite injuries every day. Nearly 27,000 people underwent constructive surgery due to dog bites in 2018, and dog attack victims lose over $1 billion every year.

In addition to children, postal service employees are also at a greater risk of suffering dog attacks. Across the country, more than 5,300 postal service employees were attacked by dogs while delivering mail in 2022. As per the U.S. Postal Service’s dog attack national rankings, Florida ranks #7 on the list of states with top dog attack incidents.

To help keep USPS employees safe, the organization has started educating dog owners on how they can help ensure safe mail delivery as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign. This year’s campaign’s theme is “Even good dogs have bad days.”

For immediate legal assistance from an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney, contact our legal team today. We offer free case evaluations and can help you understand your rights.

How Are These Dog Bite Injuries in Fort Lauderdale Happening?

Most of the time, dogs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, attack people in response to stressful situations. Unlike humans, dogs cannot voice their differences, express anger, or defend themselves. The language most dogs use when they feel threatened, afraid, or in pain is snarling, growling, and biting. The chances a dog will bite you mainly depend on the dog, how they’ve been trained, and the situation at hand.

Here are various factors that may provoke dogs to bite:

  • Pain — Even the friendliest or best-trained dog can bite if it’s feeling pain or discomfort due to an illness, injury, or something as minor as a bug bite.
  • Feeling threatened — This usually happens when someone approaches a dog quickly, attempts to pet it without permission, or even wakes it suddenly. Sometimes, female dogs may also bite to protect their puppies.
  • Dog fights — It’s not unheard of for dogs to bite when someone tries to separate them in the middle of a fight.
  • Lack of training — Poorly trained or socialized dogs can bite out of fear or aggression.
  • Play sessions — Sometimes, dogs can lose self-control during play sessions and bite you.

Since dogs do not give warnings before attacking someone, you need to look out for various signs of aggression or anxiety in your dog to avoid being bitten. These signs include:

  • Licking lips
  • Grouching
  • Barking
  • Snarling
  • A hard stare
  • Growling
  • Flattened ears
  • Tail between the legs
  • Raised hackles
  • Standing stiff
  • Baring teeth

For immediate legal assistance or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer, contact Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys. We are never too busy to answer your questions.

Understanding Negligence and Shared Liability in Florida Dog Bite Claims

In some states, victims of dog attacks have to prove that the dog had a history of viciousness and that the owner knew about it. However, Florida is a strict liability state. Under the strict liability laws, a dog owner can be held liable for a dog attack even if they didn’t have prior knowledge of their dog’s aggressive nature.

This means that victims do not have to prove that their dog bite injuries resulted from the owner’s negligence.

Florida Chapter 767 Section 04 states the following:

  • A dog owner can be held responsible for injuries inflicted by their dog if the victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property.
  • Neither the dog’s viciousness nor the owner’s lack of awareness about it is a factor in determining whether the victim will recover compensation or not.
  • Negligence on the part of the dog attack victim will reduce the dog owner’s liability by whatever the percentage of the victim’s negligence in the attack is. This means that if the victim is 30% negligent of the dog attack, the dog owner will be 70% liable for the damages incurred.
  • Dog owners can be held liable for dog bites inflicted on persons lawfully on private property to perform a duty imposed by the state or federal government. Such personnel include law enforcement officers, Child Protective Services (CPS), and USPS employees.
  • Dog owners will not be held liable for dog bite injuries inflicted on anyone on their property unlawfully. They also won’t be held liable if they had a sign on their property with warnings such as “bad dog.” Children under the age of 6 are an exception to this law. This is because young children cannot fully appreciate the likelihood of impending consequences of their actions.

Florida animal attack laws can be complicated, for this reason it is wise to consider partnering with a skilled and experienced dog bite attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who can help you understand your legal options following an accident.

What to Do After You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Understandably, most people are usually shaken after being bitten or attacked by a dog. Once you’ve gotten away from the dog or someone else has hauled it off, there are several steps you can take to protect your health and legal rights. These include the following:

  • Call 911 and request emergency medical services for your dog bite injuries.
  • Note down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the witnesses present at the scene when the dog bit you.
  • Note down the name, contact information, address, and homeowner’s insurance details of the dog owner or the person who had custody of the dog when it bit you.
  • Once the officers from the Fort Lauderdale police department arrive at the scene, file a report with them so that you can have a record of the dog attack.
  • Do not engage or argue with the dog owner if they start defending their dog or blaming you for the attack.
  • Do not accept any payments from the dog owner or permit yourself to be tape-recorded without your lawyer present.
  • Take pictures of your wounds.
  • Follow the procedures of initial wound management before seeing a doctor. If your wounds are not bleeding, try cleaning them with tap water or normal saline. Afterward, hold your wounds under running water for several minutes and take antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection.
  • Seek medical attention immediately after leaving the accident scene. Failure to do so may cause the dog owner and the insurance company to argue that your dog bite injuries were not severe. Your wounds may also become infected, especially if the dog is not vaccinated.
  • Head to the nearest animal control office to report the dog attack and cooperate with the investigating officers assigned to your case.
  • Call a Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options and begin the settlement negotiation process.

What Is the Average Dog Bite Settlement Amount?

Every dog bite case is different. Although the valuation of these cases is complicated, you have the right to be made ‘whole’ again by the liable party. The average dog bite settlement in Fort Lauderdale is between $30,000-$50,000. However, you should expect a lower settlement offer if your dog bite injuries are relatively minor.

Dog bite cases often end in settlements because the defendants do not want to go through a trial. They may prefer to pay you as much as $30,000 if it means that they won’t have to go to court. Whether or not a dog owner will offer you a huge settlement depends on several factors.

They include:

Visible Injuries

Deep scars resulting from a dog attack will likely make a strong impression on the defendant and their insurer and increase your chances of getting a large settlement. However, you or your dog bite lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can always file a personal injury lawsuit if the dog owner insists on offering you a low settlement. Taking your case to court may help you get more substantial compensation for your injuries.

Disabling Injuries

Some dog bite injuries can be severe, resulting in permanent disability. This is usually the case for head and back injuries. In such a situation, you can take the dog owner to court since you have a stronger case. Since the impact of the attack cannot be denied, they will be forced to compensate you for all damages you’ve incurred, including medical expenses, lost wages, and diminished quality of life.

Long-Term Effects of Your Injuries

The long-term effects of your dog bite injuries can also affect the settlement amount you receive from the dog owner. If you need ongoing medical treatment for many months, your Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney can demand compensation for future medical expenses.

Your Share of Responsibility

During settlement negotiations, the defendant may claim that you were partially responsible for the dog attack because you were teasing or abusing the dog. If you were somewhat at fault for the dog attack, the settlement amount you receive might be lower.

To learn more about factors which affect settlement amounts in dog bite injury claims, reach out to our skilled Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyers.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

As a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, here are some resources for dealing with potential dog attack accidents:

  • Broward Medical Urgent Care — A local health and eye center you can visit for urgent medical treatment if you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog
  • MD Now Urgent Care — An affordable and efficient urgent medical care provider for all sorts of illnesses and injuries
  • Dog Bite Prevention — A guide that explores various ways dog owners, adults, and children can prevent dog bites. It also contains helpful information on what to do if a dog has bitten you.
  • American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA) — A resource that contains helpful tips on preventing dog attacks, recognizing risky situations, reading dog body language, and responding to a dog bite

Knowledgeable Dog Bite Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you may hold the dog owner liable for your injuries and other damages. The experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorneys at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys have the necessary resources and expertise to protect your legal rights and maximize your compensation in a dog bite case.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us navigate your dog bite case together.