When dogs bite, they usually bite hard. Because dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets from causing harm, a Lakeland dog bite attorney can help you hold the owner of the dog that bit you financially accountable.
Dog owners need to have control over their pets at all times. In an instant, a dog can go from sweet and loving to dangerous. The damage done by a canine attack can be serious, causing injured adults to need time off of work and children to be traumatized for the rest of their lives.
If you’re in need of a capable Lakeland dog bite lawyer who is well-versed in handling canine attack claims, reach out to our team at Lopez & Humphries, PA today.
Damage Done in a Canine Attack
Dog bite injuries can be quite severe. Left untreated, the lacerations caused by the dog’s teeth can become infected, leading to further health problems. Other common dog attack injuries could include damage to the spinal cord, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and disfigurement.
In particular, children who are victims of dog bites have been known to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and nightmares—and, in severe cases, even amputations—following an attack by a canine.
The extent of the damage can be hard to measure in the aftermath of the attack, but a dog bite lawyer in Lakeland can help you wrap your head around the details of your personal injury claim.
Strict Liability vs. the One-Bite Rule
Florida follows strict liability for dog attacks. This means the owner of the dog will always be held accountable for the behavior of his or her animal. It also does not matter whether the dog has demonstrated aggressive behavior in the past or whether the owner knew of any aggression. If a dog bites a victim in Lakeland, the owner will almost always be liable for the damages.
The one-bite rule is one that many owners try to use as a defense to their case, although it does not apply in Florida. This rule essentially gives the dog a free pass for the first time it bites someone.
Due to Florida’s comparative negligence law, you can expect that the dog owner and his or her lawyer will try to make it seem like you provoked the dog in some way or were perhaps trespassing on the dog owner’s property. If the other side is able to successfully establish this, your awarded amount will be reduced by the percentage of blame the court decides you carry.
In addition, dog owners can sometimes escape liability for bites that occur on their property—even for invited guests who’ve been bitten—as long as there is an obvious sign that states “Beware of Dog” or something similar. You can bet the other side will try everything to avoid compensating you, which is why many canine attack victims work with a dog bite attorney in Lakeland.
Calculating What Your Lakeland Dog Bite Claim Is Worth
When we start calculating the value of your Lakeland dog bite claim, we consider the damages you’ve incurred and the effects of your injuries both now and in the future. Medical costs take priority because they are usually significant and a direct result of the injury you suffered.
Medical expenses would include your prescription medications, copays, hospital bills, medical equipment, and any other costs that pertain to your canine attack injuries. Apart from your medical bills, you should also receive compensation for any wages you lost while you were out of work and for loss of future earnings if you will no longer be able to retain your current position due to your injuries.
Finally, the losses you’ve endured that are not financial in nature, also known as non-economic damages, will be considered. These often include areas like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and the effects of a disfiguring injury. These losses can often be even more impactful than those that impact your ability to financially provide for your family.
Call a Lakeland Dog Bite Attorney
A dog attack can have devastating consequences. You might have to deal with the effects of serious injuries that could take a significant amount of time to recover from, as well as the burdens of household expenses and other bills that can’t be paid while you are out of work. That’s on top of the emotional trauma you’re likely to face.
Don’t get stuck with the responsibility of these losses if you don’t have to.
Call a Lakeland dog bite lawyer at Lopez & Humphries, PA for help holding the dog owner accountable for your injuries. You can schedule a free, no-obligation claim evaluation by filling out the convenient contact form at the bottom of this page or calling our office at (863) 774-3573.