A dog bite can cause serious physical harm, as well as emotional trauma. A victim can hold the animal’s owner accountable for the damages caused by their pet. At Frankl & Kominsky, our injury lawyers can provide the representation and counseling you need to assert your rights against a dog owner in the West Palm Beach area. We can aggressively pursue the compensation that you deserve if you were attacked and hurt by an animal.Dog Bites
Millions of adults and children are bitten by dogs each year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that, every year, an estimated 4.5 million individuals in the United States suffer this type of injury. Children account for half of this figure. Those between the ages of five and nine have the highest rate of dog bite injuries.
Approximately 20 percent of these victims need medical attention, according to the CDC. In some cases, a person bitten by a dog may require reconstructive surgery to repair physical damage. A dog bite victim may also suffer permanent scars.Florida Animal Bite Laws and Liability
Several states let a dog get away with its “first bite.” In other words, a dog owner is not liable for a dog bite unless he or she knew, or had reason to know, that the animal would act in this way. The first bite puts the owner on notice that his or her pet could potentially harm others. While the owner may not be liable for the first bite, he or she is liable for any subsequent injuries.
Florida does not follow the one-bite rule. Instead, the law in this state holds owners liable for any harm caused by their pets, irrespective of whether their vicious propensities were previously known. This means that if you are bitten by a dog, you may hold its owner strictly liable for your injuries. Any negligence of your own may reduce the amount of your damage award, but it will not bar you from recovering damages from the owner in proportion to his or her percentage of fault.
To hold a dog owner strictly liable, you must show that you were in a public space, or lawfully in a private place, when you were bitten. For instance, if you were bitten on the owner’s property, you have to demonstrate that you were there because he or she invited you. However, a West Palm Beach resident may shield himself or herself from absolute liability by placing a conspicuous and readable sign on the property that indicates the presence of a vicious dog. The words “bad dog” may be enough to satisfy this requirement. A dog owner cannot escape liability, however, if the victim is a child under age six.Leash Law
Even if you cannot hold a dog owner strictly liable for the bite, you may still have an ordinary negligence claim. There is no state leash law, but several Florida counties have implemented these rules. They can impose a duty on a dog owner to restrain his or her pet when it is off the owner’s property. They may also prohibit the owner from tethering the animal in a way that gives it access to public property or someone else’s private property. If a dog owner violates a leash law, and the dog bites a person as a result, the owner may be liable.
You may be able to recover a wide range of economic and non-economic damages for your injuries. By proving your claim, you can seek compensation for any related medical bills, loss in income, pain and suffering, and more. There is a four-year statute of limitations on most injury lawsuits in Florida. You can secure your claim in time by seeking the advice of an experienced lawyer.Discuss Your Case With a West Palm Beach Accident Attorney
At Frankl & Kominsky, we provide diligent representation to dog bite and animal attack victims in West Palm Beach and the surrounding area. Our accident attorneys are tenacious advocates for the injured. We will pursue your claim against a dog owner whose carelessness harmed you. Our clients come from cities throughout Palm Beach County, such as Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, and Delray Beach. Call our office today at (855) 800-8000 or complete our online form to arrange a free initial consultation. Our staff is fluent in Spanish and Creole.