Dog bites are serious injuries. Due to the risk of infection, in many cases, they should be treated as potential medical emergencies. If you or your child has been bitten by someone else’s dog, you should seek medical treatment right away.
Each year, millions of people suffer dog bites, and roughly half of all dog bite victims are children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in five dog bites “results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention.” And on an annual basis, tens of thousands of dog bite victims are forced to undergo reconstructive surgery. Many of these victims develop permanent scars, and much more suffer from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress, and physical limitations as a result of their injuries.
In Florida, dog bite victims are entitled to financial compensation. This is a bright-line rule with only very limited exceptions. Many people are not even aware that homeowners’ insurance policies cover most types of dog bite claims. As a result, if you or your child has been bitten by a friend’s or neighbor’s dog, your case will probably involve a claim directly against his or her insurance company.
Your Local Attorneys for Dog Bite Claims in Volusia and Flagler Counties
Our firm has been representing residents of Volusia and Flagler Counties and the Orlando area for more than 40 years. Due to the potential long-term physical, emotional, and financial consequences of a dog bite, if you or your child has been bitten, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your legal rights. At Rue & Ziffra Law Offices, we offer free consultations and compassionate representation. We can help make sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
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Florida Law for Dog Bite Claims
Unlike other states, Florida does not have a “one free bite” rule that protects dog owners. In Florida, a dog owner can be held liable the first time their dog attacks, and proof that the dog had a “vicious propensity” is not required. This is clear under Section 767.04 of the Florida Statutes:
“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.”
What this means is simple: If you or your child has been bitten by someone else’s dog, you are entitled to seek just compensation. You do not need to prove that the owner was at fault for allowing the attack to occur. And generally, the owner can only dispute your claim if:
- you were trespassing at the time of the attack;
- you or your child provoked the attack; or,
- the owner was not negligent and had a “Bad Dog” sign prominently displayed on his or her property.
However, even in these scenarios, you may still be entitled to partial compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of your (or your child’s) injuries.
5 Reasons to Choose Rue & Ziffra Law Offices for Your Dog Bite Claim
When you look online, you will find no shortage of law firms claiming to represent dog bite victims in Volusia and Flagler Counties. So, why should you choose Rue & Ziffra Law Offices for your dog bite claim?
1. We Are Local
We are “Your Local Attorneys” for dog bite claims in Volusia and Flagler Counties. With nine convenient office locations and 24/7 accessibility, we are there when and where you need us.
2. We Are Experienced
We have been representing clients in Volusia and Flagler Counties since 1976, and our nine attorneys have over 180 years of combined legal experience.
3. We Put Our Clients First
When we represent you, we put your interests first. We will not play “hide the ball,” and we will not ask you to settle for less than you deserve.
4. We Put a Team of Attorneys on Your Side
With our team approach, you truly have 180-plus years of legal experience on your side. Unlike other firms, we do not assign cases to paralegals or individual attorneys.
5. We Take Pride in Serving Our Community
We are proud to serve the members of the communities where we live and work. From sponsoring local events to helping local residents recover just compensation, we believe in doing our part to make our community a better – and safer – place for everyone.
At Rue & Ziffra Law Offices, every case starts with a free consultation, and we do not charge any fees or costs unless we win just compensation. As a result, you truly have nothing to lose by speaking with our team of experienced attorneys.
Q: What does it mean if a dog has been classified as a “dangerous dog” in Florida?
Under Florida law, there are circumstances in which a dog may be classified as a “dangerous dog.” The most common scenario is where a dog has previously bitten or otherwise severely injured a human being. If a dog that has been classified as a “dangerous dog” attacks you, in addition to facing liability in your civil case, the owner can also face criminal penalties.
Owners of “dangerous dogs” have an obligation to take certain affirmative steps to prevent harmful attacks. These include:
- Keeping the dog in a proper enclosure
- Using proper restraints when walking or relocating the dog
- Notifying others of the dog’s dangerous propensities before leaving the dog in their care
- Notifying the authorities if the dog escapes
Q: What types of dog bite injuries are eligible for financial compensation?
All serious injuries from a dog bite are eligible for financial compensation. This includes injuries from the bite itself as well as injuries you sustained if you fell during the attack. The types of injuries for which financial compensation is available include:
- Bone fractures
- Puncture injuries
Q: Can I seek financial compensation for the emotional and psychological effects of my (or my child’s) dog attack?
Yes. Under Florida law, dog bite victims are entitled to seek financial compensation for all of their injury-related losses. This covers both physical and psychological effects of dog bite injuries. In addition to the physical injuries listed above, dog bite victims will often be entitled to additional compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma (including post-traumatic stress)
- Loss of society, companionship, and consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Q: What are my rights if I am unable to work due to chronic pain, scarring, or other physical limitations resulting from a dog bite?
In addition to seeking financial compensation for your medical bills and the traumatic effects of your injuries, if you are unable to work due to a dog bite, you can also seek financial compensation for your loss of income. This includes:
- Lost wages from the time you spend in the hospital or in recovery
- Loss of future earning capacity if you are unable to work (or must seek a lower-paying job) as a result of your injuries
Q: What do I need to do to protect my legal rights after a dog attack in Florida?
In order to protect your legal rights after a dog attack in Florida, there are some important steps you should try to take as soon as possible. These include:
- Seek prompt medical attention
- Notify the police and animal control
- Take photographs of your (or your child’s) injuries
- Avoid direct contact with the dog owner’s insurance company
- Seek legal representation from a law firm with prior experience in dog bite cases
Schedule a Free Dog Bite Injury Consultation
To learn more about your rights in a free and confidential consultation, please call (386) 788-7700 or contact us online. Let us use our decades of legal experience in Central Florida to help you win the compensation you and your family deserve.