Were you bitten by someone else’s dog in Lakeland, FL? You could have a valid personal injury case against the dog’s owner. An experienced Lakeland dog bite lawyer at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, can help you fight to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
Our lawyers have been fighting to protect injured clients from profit-driven insurance companies since we opened our doors in 2001.
Between us, we have over 119 years of experience helping people recover fair compensation when they’re injured due to someone else’s acts. We’ll help you with any case related to Lakeland motorcycle accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents in Lakeland, product liability claims, and any other personal injury matter.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Dog Bite Claim in Lakeland
Dog owners are responsible for controlling their animals in Florida. That said, the dog owner won’t quickly accept responsibility after you’re bitten by a dog. You’ll probably have to deal with an insurance company to recover compensation. To make sure your compensation award is fair, it’s important to have an experienced Lakeland personal injury lawyer in your corner.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, our lawyers have helped countless clients like you stand up for their legal rights. We have the experience to help you prove your case and recover the maximum compensation available.
Hiring us gives you a lawyer who can:
- Gather evidence to support your case
- Determine which legal theories are relevant to your case
- Calculate the value of your personal injury claim
- Protect you if the dog’s owner accuses you of provoking the dog
- Negotiating with the insurance companies for a fair settlement deal
When insurance companies don’t play fair, our Lakeland personal injury attorneys aren’t afraid to fight for our clients in court. We’re here to protect your best interests, whatever that entails. To learn more, call to schedule a free consultation today.
How Often Do Dogs Bite in Florida?
According to CDC estimates, dogs bite about 4.5 million people in the U.S. each year. About 800,000 of these dog bite injuries require medical care.
In Florida alone, the Department of Health estimates that about 600 dog bite victims are hospitalized for their injuries each year. Unfortunately, children under the age of six and young boys between the ages of six and 14 are at the greatest risk of being bitten by a dog in Florida.
How Valuable Is My Lakeland Dog Bite Case?
There is no standard settlement amount in Florida dog bite cases. The value of your personal injury case will ultimately depend on the unique aspects of your injury.
Important considerations when assessing the value of your dog bite case include:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical treatment and other expenses
- Your age at the time of the animal attack
- How the attack and injury impact your emotional wellbeing
- Your prognosis for making a full physical and mental recovery
- How the dog bite impacts your ability to work and earn a living, now and in the future
As a general rule of thumb, personal injury claims involving more severe injuries tend to be worth the most.
In all cases, however, the best way to understand your case value is by calling an experienced attorney. Without legal advice, you risk settling for less money than you deserve.
Our Lakeland dog bite attorneys at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can give you more information in a free case review. Just call our personal injury law firm to schedule your free case evaluation today.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Victims of Dog Bites?
You can seek compensation for economic damages and non-economic damages under Florida personal injury laws. That’s true whether you file a claim with the owner’s homeowner’s insurance company or sue for damages in civil court.
Examples of the types of damages you may receive include:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical expenses, including reconstructive surgeries and rehab
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Psychological counseling
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Anxiety disorders
- Fear of animals
- Loss of consortium
Fatal dog bites are rare. However, if you lost a loved one due to catastrophic dog bite injuries, our experienced dog bite attorneys in Lakeland will help you fight to recover compensation for wrongful death.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for Provoking a Dog Bite Under Florida Dog Bite Laws?
A modified comparative fault applies in Florida personal injury cases. Each party is assigned a percentage of fault. The injured party is then responsible for their own percentage of fault when it comes to awarding damages. However, if you are more than 50% responsible, you cannot recover any money in a lawsuit.
Similar concepts apply in dog bite cases. Dog owners can be liable for damages without proof of negligence. However, if the dog bite victim was negligent or provoked the dog, those actions reduce the dog owner’s liability.
Our Lawyers Will Work To Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs can behave in unexpected ways. When animals attack, they can cause shockingly severe injuries. After all, dogs have powerful teeth and jaws and the ability to knock people to the ground. The injuries can be especially serious in young children.
Some common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds and torn skin
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Facial injuries
- Nerve damage
- Torn muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Amputations and loss of limbs caused by infection
- Sepsis and organ damage
If you were bitten by a dog, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. These and other injuries can become more serious if you wait to see a doctor. Once you have been treated, contact our lawyers in Lakeland to learn more about your legal options.
How Do I Prove I’m Entitled to Compensation After a Dog Bite in Florida?
When it comes to dog bite cases, Florida follows a strict liability law. You will not have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent to recover compensation. Similarly, you won’t have to prove that the dog owner knew about the dog’s vicious tendencies to recover damages. In other words, Florida does not follow a “one bite law” that essentially gives each dog one “free” bite.
Instead, under Florida dog bite laws, you must prove:
- Someone else’s dog bit you
- You were on public property or lawfully on private property at time time
As long as you weren’t trespassing, you can seek compensation from the dog owner even if you were on the dog owner’s property at the time of the bite.
That said, Florida’s strict liability law does not apply in every case. The dog owner may be able to avoid responsibility or pay a reduced settlement if any of the following are true:
- The owner displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent location, and the victim was at least six years old
- You provoked the dog in some way
- You were trespassing when the dog bit you
Further, strict liability laws will not apply if the dog attacked you but did not actually bite you.
Can Negligence Theories Help Me Prove My Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite cases aren’t always simple. Sometimes, you will have to establish negligence to recover fair compensation for your losses.
Negligence means that the dog’s owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling their dog to prevent your dog bite injuries.
Evidence that can help you prove negligence may include:
- The owner allowed the dog to wander off their property freely
- The owner violated Polk County leash laws
- A dog classified as a “dangerous dog” under Florida law was not properly confined
- The dog’s owner encouraged the dog to attack or behave in an aggressive way
It’s also important to remember that someone other than the dog’s owner may be liable for your damages. Business owners, landlords, dog walkers and other parties may also be held legally accountable for negligence. For example, if you were bitten by a dog while visiting a restaurant that allows dogs to roam freely, the business owner may be liable for those dangerous property conditions.
Our lawyers can help you establish liability after a dog bite injury. All you have to do is call for a free initial consultation to get started.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit After I Was Bitten by a Dog in Florida?
Most of the time, you have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. You may have up to four years if your claim is based on strict liability. The statute of limitations starts to run on the date the dog bites you. After the deadline, you’ll forfeit your right to sue for damages.
Contact a Lakeland Dog Bite Attorney for a Free Case Review Today
If you or your child were bitten by a dog, our lawyers at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help you hold the dog owner accountable. For more information, contact an experienced Lakeland dog bite attorney for a free consultation today.
Our personal injury law firm in Lakeland, FL, also provides:
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- Lakeland Construction Accident Attorney
- Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Lakeland, FL
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorneys in Lakeland, FL
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- Lakeland Product Liability Lawyer
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