Insurance companies are carving out exceptions and exclusions to dodge responsibility in dog bite or dog attack cases. In fact, only approximately 16,000 dog bite victims receive such insurance payments per year even though about 5 million Americans are bitten according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of that, about 885,000 need emergency room treatment for their injuries. Children are especially at risk. We have taken cases other firms have turned down and recovered for our clients.
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Florida’s dog bite statute imposes strict liability upon dog owners for a bite that causes injury to a human being. Section 767.04 states as follows:
The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness. Florida also has a statute that makes an animal owner liable for “any damage” to a person or domestic animal, meaning a non-bite injury. Section 767.01 provides as follows:
Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by s. 585.01. Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatizing event and you need the animal attorney or dog lawyers that know and understand the dog bite statue to help you with your case.
If the negligence of another party can be proved, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from the party at fault. And oftentimes, insurance covers the loss.
You may be able to recover:
Diminution of Value of Property
Past Medical Expenses
Future Medical Expenses
Money Spent on Care and Treatment
Money Lost because of Injury
Compensation for Pain
Compensation for Disability
Compensation for Loss of Capacity for Enjoyment of Life
Compensation for Physical Impairment and Loss of Use
Compensation for Scarring or Disfigurement
Loss of Earnings / Wage Loss
Loss of Capacity to Earn
Damages to Spouse
Damages to Children
Get to a doctor and document your injuries. Not only does being proactive help your health, but insurance carriers and their lawyers always look to use evidence against you- how long you took to get to a doctor, what you complained about or didn’t complain about and they will comb through your records in painful detail. Go to the doctor, be honest and detailed.
Fill out any available accident reports and police reports. Ask for a copy. Then, call your insurance carrier and make a claim. Be careful what you say. All too often, injury victims will say they are “fine” or “not that bad” or otherwise be polite and that will haunt then if their injuries take a turn for the worse. The ER will only really tell you if you have broken bones or major issues, but go and be honest. Hospital emergency rooms tend to leave the bulging discs, herniated discs, shoulder tears and the like to later treating doctors.
Many of our clients are hurting, struggling and hoping they get better, but aren’t. You get one shot at recovery. Lawyers must make sure the insurance companies are acting fairly. John worked for eight years defending these claims for these companies and big businesses and could write a book about ways they use your desire to be fair and reasonable against you. He now solely works for injury victims like you.
While all lawyers are allowed to advertise and anyone can basically handle a personal injury case, only Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers are allowed to identify themselves as an “expert” or as “specialist” in this area. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the area by the Supreme Court of Florida. It also means the lawyer is known for trials- pushing beyond low offers by defendants, passed a peer review and passed a tough exam. Most cases do not get that far, but it is good to have a lawyer with all of the tools in their arsenal.
Insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to their Board of Directors. Attorneys matter. Defendants and their carriers change their game plan when an experienced lawyer is involved. For that reason – and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should select lawyers carefully. Also, make sure it is the lawyer who shows up to meet with you and not a mere investigator. You are haring a lawyer and deserve their time. Also, ask for sample closing costs. Some lawyers charge for faxes, phone calls, scanning, postage, “in house courier” charges and even interest in these charges.
Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law requires knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck or a fall) far greater and more specific than you’d think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim.
We invite you to review our verdicts, our accolades and awards and what clients have to say about us and give us a call for a free consultation where our lawyers will sit down with you personally. John represents clients in Florida, Georgia and Alabama with passion and compassion. He can be emailed at [email protected] or call us at (904) 444-4444.