Dog Bite Injury
A dog bite can be a terrifying and shocking experience. We all recognize that dogs are animals, but we’ve been conditioned to view them through the prism of, “man’s best friend.” We regularly view canine behaviors and activity through a lens of human interaction, forgetting that they are, in fact, animals and that their reactions and behaviors are often instinctual – and distinctly their own.
Although dogs are very popular household pets in the U.S. and most breeds are bred to be docile, millions of people are still bitten every year. Of those, 1 in 6 will require medical attention and dozens will die.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur in the U.S. every single year. A significant number of these involve children, and nearly 400,000 require emergency medical treatment. Some 31,000 people required reconstructive surgery as a result, and hospital costs for these injuries are estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million every year.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale dog bite injury attorneys recognize that attacks and maulings by dogs can cause terrible injuries – and even death. These incidents are both painful and traumatic and we will fight to ensure victims are adequately compensated for their injuries.
Types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Eye injuries
- Facial scarring
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Emotional trauma
While some dogs involved in dog attack or dog bite injury lawsuits have a history of aggression toward people, it is not necessary to prove this fact in Florida to be successful with your claim. In fact, it’s not even necessary to prove you were bitten. If you were hurt after being knocked down or while running away from an unleashed dog that was behaving aggressively, you may be entitled to damages.Are Some Breeds More Dangerous?
There is evidence to suggest that certain dog breeds are overrepresented in dog bite cases. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) reported in a peer-reviewed summary of scientific literature on the issue that the breeds highly represented in biting incidents in the U.S. are:
- German Shepherd dogs
- Mixed breed dogs
- Pit bull type dogs
- Rottweiler dogs
- Jack Russell Terrier dogs
- Others (Chow Chow, Spaniel, Collie, Saint Bernard and Labrador Retriever)
In considering the much smaller number of cases that involved very severe injuries or fatalities, pit bull type dogs were the most commonly identified. The AVMA indicated this could have less to do with the inherent aggressiveness of the breed than the fact that they may be more likely to poorly treated or trained to be aggressive by their owners. There may also be some reporting biases (i.e., people may be more likely to report an attack by a pit bull dog versus one by a Collie).
Still, we caution people from assuming that these are the ONLY breeds that can cause damage. Even smaller breeds can cause serious injuries, particularly if they attack young children or attack a person’s face.Liability for Dog Attacks
In some states, persons who are injured in dog attacks have to prove the dog had some history of viciousness and that the owner knew about it. Not so in Florida, which adheres to a philosophy of strict liability.
F.S. 767.04 spells out dog owner liability for damages to persons bitten. The law says that:
- The owner of any dog that bites a person who is either in a public place or lawfully in a private place – including at the home of the dog’s owner – is liable for damages suffered by the bite victim.
- Neither the dog’s lack of prior viciousness – nor the owner’s lack of knowledge about it – is not a factor in whether a person can recover damages.
- Negligence on the part of the person who was bitten that may have played a causal role in in the biting will reduce the liability of the dog owner by whatever that percentage of the victim’s negligence that contributed to it. However, it’s not going to prohibit the victim from filing a claim.
- Dog owners can be liable for injuries caused to persons who are lawfully on private property to perform duty imposed on him by state or federal laws (i.e., law enforcement, U.S. Postal workers, etc.).
- Dog owners will not be liable – except to persons under the age of 6, or unless the injury was due to some negligent act or omission by the owner – for injuries to anyone on their property if they had a sign displaying the words, “Bad Dog.”
If you have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale dog bite or attack, our skilled injury lawyers can help you learn more about your rights and the viability of a claim for damages.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.