Although many people love dogs, there is no question that they can be dangerous. Even a dog that is friendly may attack if something is bothering it. Whether you were bitten by a dog while visiting a friend’s house or attacked by a dog while walking around your neighborhood, you may be able to take legal action against the pet’s owner.
The injuries and damages that may follow a dog attack can be severe, which is why you need a skilled personal injury attorney on your side throughout the case. Our Wesley Chapel dig bite lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and seek justice after your accident.
Dog Bite Laws in Wesley Chapel
Florida Statute § 767.04 imposes strict liability on dog owners if their pet bites someone on public property. Owners are also strictly liable if the injured party was legally on private property at the time the bite occurred. This includes the property where the dog and pet owner live. Strict liability means you do not need to prove the dog owner was negligent to hold them liable for your injuries.
Does Strict Liability Apply to Other Dog Attack Injuries?
Florida’s dog bite statute applies only to bite injuries. If an animal injured you by knocking you over or scratching you, you must show that the animal’s owner was negligent in order to collect damages.
What if the Dog had Never Bitten Someone Before?
Some states require plaintiffs to prove the dog that attacked them had a history of aggression. However, this is not the case in Florida. You may hold a pet owner liable even if it is the first time their dog has bitten someone.
Can Trespassers Seek Compensation?
Anyone who does not have permission to be on private property is a trespasser. The law does not protect trespassers from injuries they might receive while on private property illegally. A dog owner will not be strictly liable for a bite you suffered while trespassing on another person’s property. Our seasoned lawyers will be able to explain to you the dog bite laws in your area.
Proving Fault in a Dog Bite Case
Proving negligence requires you to show that the dog owner breached the duty of care they owed to you. You must also prove that your injury occurred because of the breach, and the injury caused you to suffer actual losses.
Failing to exercise reasonable caution can constitute negligence. Although Pasco County does not have a leash law, our local attorneys can investigate the circumstances of a dog bite and identify potentially negligent behavior by the pet owner.
Does a “Beware of Dog” Sign Protect an Owner?
If a bite happens on a premise marked by a sign that warns “Beware of Dog” or “Bad Dog,” the owner may not be held liable in some circumstances. The sign must be posted in a prominent place and be easy to read to offer protection to the owner.
However, a bad dog sign offers no protection if the dog attacks a child who is under six years of age or is too young to read the sign. Additionally, if you can prove that the owner was negligent, the bad dog sign may not protect the owner from liability. Our experienced dog bite attorneys can analyze the specific circumstances and advise whether a sign may protect the pet owner from being held liable in your case.
Evidence in Animal Attack Cases
Whether you suffered a dog bite or other attack injuries, it is crucial to gather evidence immediately. Pictures or witness statements establishing that a specific dog caused the plaintiff’s injuries will be critical. Our Wesley Chapel lawyers can help you gather the evidence you will need to successfully prove your dog attack case.
If you need to prove negligence in your case, a legal professional can investigate municipal records to determine whether the animal or the animal’s owner had been the subject of complaints in the past. They also could investigate the specific circumstances of the attack and determine whether the dog’s owner was following all applicable laws.
In cases where strict liability applies, an attorney can help you establish your damages. Proof of damages could include:
- Medical expenses
- Receipts for medication and other medical devices
- Past paystubs or W-2s
- Other documents showing lost time at work or use of employment benefits
- Witness statements that establish the emotional impact the attack had on you
Gathering all this evidence can be time-consuming, so it can be helpful to work with a reputable law firm like Hancock Injury Attorneys.
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case
Many people may not understand the importance of hiring a lawyer in a personal injury case. The legal system is complex, and it can be especially difficult to navigate while you are recovering from severe injuries.
Attorney Mike Hancock has over 30 years of legal experience, including experience working in insurance defense. He understands the common strategies insurance companies use against injured parties. Our lawyers have the skill and resources necessary to help you succeed in a dog bite case.
Get a Wesley Chapel Dog Bite Attorney On Your Side
Although the laws around dog bite liability might seem straightforward, in application, the laws can get overly complicated. Working with our knowledgeable advocates can ease the process and lead to more favorable results.
If you have suffered an animal attack, contact our Wesley Chapel dog bite lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys as soon as possible. You will be glad to have experienced professionals fighting for you. Schedule your free consultation today.