Dog ownership is on the rise, and in 2019 the pet industry was worth more than 75 billion dollars, with 35% of households owning a dog. Thankfully, most of these dogs are well cared for and loved. But sometimes, dogs can become vicious and bite people, usually because they have been mistreated. Shockingly, there are over four million dog attacks every year in the United States.
In the aftermath of a dog bite attack, emotions run high and stress levels sky-rocket. You may be dealing with pain and medical bills, as well as the emotional trauma caused by the attack.
Depending on the exact circumstances, you could be entitled to seek compensation for your damages. The laws can be hard to navigate, however, so we highly recommend speaking to a skilled Fort Myers dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite in Fort Myers
Dog bites are traumatic, and your initial reaction may be to get away as soon as possible. However, taking the right steps will massively help you in the long run.
Identify the dog owner
We highly recommend that you identify the dog owner immediately. Obtain their name and contact information and ask for proof of a rabies vaccination. You may need to undergo a series of shots, which you will need as soon as possible following a bite.
Seek Medical Care
If your injuries require immediate medical attention, then contact first responders (9-1-1). If not, you should still have someone drive you to receive emergency care. You will need a medical professional to see you as soon as possible in order to avoid infection or further complications.
File a Dog Bite Report
You will also need to file a report to your local police, this will help your case, but it will also draw attention to a potentially dangerous dog. It is essential that if a dog is dangerous that it is dealt with properly by the right people.
Photograph Your Injuries
Take photos of your injures as soon as possible, even if they are minor. Your lawyer will use these photos to help your case. You may also need to keep photographing the injury as it changes, especially if it becomes infected. If this involves removing bandages, then speak to your doctor about the safest way to do this.
Begin a Journal
Begin a journey right away, detailing how the bite is affecting you both mentally and physically. Your case could take some time to complete, and your attorney will be able to use this information to support your case and prove your right to compensation.
You should also keep a note of all your expenses relating to your injury, including medical bills and transport to and from appointments.
Speak to a Law Firm
Contact The Law Place as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that the right measures are put in place from the beginning.
The sooner, the better as they will be better able to speak to witnesses and gather CCTV. They will also investigate whether the dog was mistreated and whether it had bitten someone before.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Fort Myers, call 941-444-4444
Common Injuries as a Result of a Fort Myers Dog Attack
Fort Myers’ dog bite injuries range from a puncture wound or simple laceration to something more serious. Usually, while the initial wound may require stitches, or may leave a long-lasting scar, the long-term possibility of infections and further complications are more serious.
A dog bite can lead to viruses and diseases, the most serious of which being rabies, which has a high mortality rate and serious side effects.
More commonly, bacteria can infect a dog bite, such as Pasteurella and Staphylococcal. These bacterias are not usually life-threatening but can make a person very poorly and require medical attention.
Dog bite injuries go beyond physical symptoms. Another common result of a Fort Myers dog bite is emotional trauma. Victims may go on to suffer from a life-long fear of dogs as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially when the victim is a child.
Fort Myers Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Florida Dog Bite Law
In the majority of dog bite attack cases, the owner of any dog who attacks an individual is usually liable for the damages and injuries of the victim. Depending on whether the dog has already been named a dangerous animal, the owner may also be facing a misdemeanor. To be more specific, dog bite attacks are usually categorized into the following legal theories:
Statutory Strict Liability
Florida does not follow the “one bite” rule that many other states adhere to. This rule allows leniency to owners who have a dog that has never bitten before.
In Fort Myers, in accordance with Florida Statute 767.04, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries caused when their dog bites someone in a public place or if they are bitten whilst on a private property lawfully. This means that you are liable if your dog bites someone and causes personal injury, even if the dog has never before shown any aggressive behavior.
The only situation where the owner can defend their liability is if the victim deliberately provoked the dog or trespassed on land (came onto property unlawfully), where there is a sign that informs people of a “Bad Dog.”
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Negligence and Dog Bites in Florida
As well as Strict Liability, you can also be found liable if you are found to be acting negligently. Under Florida Statute 768.81, you can be found liable if you violate your duty of care to others.
Following a dog bite incident in Clearwater, your personal injury lawyer will assess if the owner can be found negligent. They ower everyone a duty of care to keep people safe from their dog, and must act as any reasonable person would and take steps to keep people safe.
A common example of this is if a dog owner lets their pet off their lead where they shouldn’t be.
Time Limits on Filing Suits
Victims of a dog bite in Fort Myers and Florida have four years to file a claim. However, the sooner, the better as the evidence will be stronger closer to the time of the incident. Your law firm will get to work right away, speaking to witnesses, gathering police and hospital reports, and ensuring that everything is being dealt with correctly.
Don’t worry if you are still unsure of what to do; our free consultation involves no-strings-attached advice so that you can make an informed decision on your next steps.
The Law Place
Here at The Law Place, we have a skilled team of dedicated personal injury lawyers with over 75 years of combined experience in Florida law. Unlike other law firms, we will review your case as a team and come up with a strategy so that you can benefit from our combined experience.
If you decide to continue with representation, following a free consultation, a personal injury lawyer, most suited to your case, will become your advocate. They will collect evidence, and investigate your case, in order to ensure that you are offered the compensation you deserve.
We understand how traumatic a dog bite in Fort Myers can be, and we will take away some of the pressure so that you can focus on your recovery.
Contact our Florida law firm today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.