Vicious dog with mouth open and ready to bite.

Why You Need a Miami Dog Bite Lawyer

Miami dog bites are  traumatic experiences. These cases may require a Miami dog bite lawyer. Miami dog bite cases happen out of the blue and they may cause significant emotional shock or distress. They may also cause infected injuries making them tragic in some cases.

Statistics

Miami dog bites happen more often than you may think. In Florida, up to 600 people are hospitalized every year due to dog bites. These bites can result in serious injury and even death. Statistics indicate about 2 people die each year from Florida dog bites.

Owner liability

A dog owner may be liable if their dog bites and injures someone without provocation. Any person injured by the dog or dangerous animal can file a claim for compensation. This claim may be filed against the dog owner or even against the owners insurance. In these cases it may be wise to consult a Miami dog bite lawyer.

Speak with a Miami dog bite lawyer

Generally, you should consider Miami dog bite lawyer. Our team at PereGonza Law Group is ready to help. Our attorneys have experience in personal injury cases.

Our team understands Miami dog bite laws and the statutes that  guide your claim for compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Statistics on Miami dog bites

According to statistics, there are more than 89 million dogs in the entire country. That is an average of 1.7 million dogs per state. Florida is especially something of a dog lovers’ paradise, with many homes owning a dog.

Unfortunately, this large number of dogs and their close proximity results in a high number of Florida dog bite incidents. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that up to 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites every year. These bites result in at least 800,000 emergency room visits per year and up to 16 deaths.

Miami dog bites and children

More troubling is the fact that many victims of dog bites are children. This makes up to half of the total number of ER visits per year. The occurrence rate is particularly high amongst children aged 5 to 9 years.

Statistics show that dog bite incidents happen too often. Many victims do not understand their rights under Florida law. Many do not know that they have a right to compensation. So many end up bearing the responsibility for medical bills and loss that is not their fault. This is why it is best to consult with a Miami dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.

Miami’s ‘Dog Bite’ Law

The law in Miami is that a dog owner is responsible for keeping their dog on a leash. Dog owners must ensure that their animals do not create injury to others.

Owners liability in Miami dog bites

Under Title XLV, Chapter 767.04, the owner of a dog may be responsible if their dog bites a person. It doesn’t matter if the bite occurred in a public place or on private property. Even if the bite occurred on the dog owner’s property. The owner may still be held liable as long as the victim was lawfully on the property.

The dog owner may be sued for compensation relating to the injuries caused by the dog bite. This would include the cost of medical treatment and physical or psychological therapy that resulted.

What if there are multiple dog bites ?

If a dog has been declared dangerous because it has severely injured a person, the owner can face criminal charges if another attack occurs. This may be because the owner is now on notice of its dangerous dog.

Under Title XLV, Chapter 767.13, an unprovoked attack by a dangerous dog may expose the owner to misdemeanor in the first degree. If the attack leads to death or severe injury, the owner may face a charge of felony in the third degree. This may even mean jail time. In some cases, the dog may also be quarantined and may even be destroyed.

Miami’s liability system for animal bites

In some states, dog bite victims are required to show that the dog owner was careless or negligent. The victim may have to prove that the owner knew that the dog had dangerous tendencies and they were ignored.

One bite rule

In some states, the ‘one bite’ rule operates. This means that if a dog has never attacked or bitten anybody before, the owner would have no liability for its first bite. It would be deemed that the incident was an anomaly and the owner would not be held responsible. Miami is not like that.

Liability

Miami operates a strict liability system instead. Strict liability means that a person will be held liable for wrongful conduct even if they never intended it or had knowledge that it would happen.

Based on this principle, a Florida dog owner may be held liable if their dog bites or injures someone even if the dog has never bitten anyone. Even if the owner never had prior knowledge of violent tendencies by the dog, they can be held responsible for the injury.

Bite + injury

As such, you don’t have to prove that a lack of reasonable care caused the bite. You would however need to prove that you were injured or bitten in an unprovoked attack by the dog. You should consult with a Miami dog bite lawyer to understand your rights clearly.

What if the animal injures you but not through a bite?

There are instances where you may be injured due to a dog attack that may not involve a bite. This may seem like a problem since Miami’s dog bite law only  mentions that the dog owner will be liable for a dog bite.

However, it may be possible for you to recover compensation for your injuries. You may be able to do this by showing that the owner was negligent or failed to use reasonable care in preventing their dog from hurting others.

For example, if you are being chased by an aggressive dog and sustain injuries in a fall, you may be able to recover damages for the injuries. You may be able to do this by showing that the owner was careless in failing to keep their dog properly leashed or otherwise negligent.

This can often be tricky to prove because several facts will be involved in the lead up to the attack and injuries you suffered. A skilled Miami dog bite lawyer may help you emphasize those facts that will help you show the negligence of the dog owner.

What happens if you were partially at fault for the injury?

Miami dog bite law provides remedy to a victim of a dog bite if they were lawfully in the place where the it occurred. A person that is trespassing on private property is not lawfully on the place. If  that person is injured, the dog owner can argue that they should not be entitled to compensation since they were trespassing.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t recover any damages for your injuries. Sometimes, even if you provoked the dog  or entered into private property with a ‘bad dog’ sign without supervision, you may still receive compensation. It is important to consult with a Miami dog bite lawyer to understand what liability and compensation may be viable.

Comparative negligence

Miami operates a comparative negligence system. In determining who is to blame for an incident, the court may see how much fault each party has relative to the other. Damages may be awarded proportionate to the percentage of fault on the part of each party.

For example, suppose that are walking in the park and accidentally step on a dog’s tail and the dog bites you. Obviously, the dog only bit you because it was provoked. In essence, there may be some fault on your part. Miami’s strict liability law also means that there will be some fault on the part of the dog owner.

How does it work?

Under the comparative negligence system, if the jury finds that you were 30% at fault for the incident, your recoverable compensation will reduce by 30%. This means that if an award of $10,000 may be made as compensation, you will only be able to recover $7,000.

Fault

On the flip side, it also means that even if you were substantially at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation. Technically, even if you are 90% at fault, you can still recover 10% of any amount awarded.

Regardless of whether you think you were at fault or not, it is important that you contact a Miami dog bite lawyer. Especially before you assume responsibility. Many times, things are not always what they seem. There may be other factors that contributed to the incident which you didn’t know about.

A Miami dog  bite lawyer may conduct an investigation into the incident to try and understand its root causes. This way, they can tell how the incident happened and where the fault properly lies.

Can you defend yourself against a Miami dog bite?

You are entitled to protect yourself from a Miami dog bite. In some cases, even if your defense results in the death of the dog, you may be justified.

Reasonable force

You are only allowed to use reasonable force in defending yourself. If you use more force necessary to reasonably defend yourself, the dog owner may be legally entitled to file a lawsuit against you.

How do you know what is reasonable? If the means and intensity of your defense is at the same level as the threat, then your defense will most likely be seen as reasonable.

How to recover compensation for your injury?

Depending on your injury, you may  be looking at a long period of medical treatment. It is possible that you may need to get rabies shots or other shots to be safe. Always see a medical professional as soon as possible.

Medical Care

Sometimes, you may require care from physical and psychological health therapists. These professional may help you through the trauma of the incident. This can lead to major expenses. That’s without taking into account the wages or income you lost because of the dog bite.

Possible Damages

  • Medical treatment
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent scarring
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of limbs
  • Pain and suffering

Recovering  damages is not always easy. It may require specific proof of the expenses you incurred. Also, expenses you are likely to incur in the course of treating the injuries. Further, may require proof of the damage or loss done to you through the injury.

When there is permanent or severe injury you may need experts such as medical specialists or consultants. These experts  help the court understand how much you have suffered and why you are entitled to compensation.

Understand how we can help you

A Miami dog bite lawyer may be able to help with you through this unfortunate experience. You may be able to rely on the resources available to the law firm to establish your claim.

Contact us at PereGonza Law Group to learn more about how we can help you in your Miami dog bite claim. Call us on (786)650-0202 or fill our client intake form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.