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    Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Orlando?

    A lot of people wonder whether you can sue for a dog bite after an incident involving a dog.

    In Orlando, the laws exist to protect people from aggressive dogs and hold the owners accountable for any injuries and other damages.

    While dog bites often aren’t as serious as a car accident or some other type of personal injury, they can leave someone seriously hurt and cause significant mental anguish. And there are dog bites and mauling incidents that can kill or maim, especially when children are involved.

    Most people associate dogs with loving animals that form close bonds with humans. When you see a dog on a walk or in a park, the first inclination is to say hello and to suppose that they’re perfectly friendly animals.

    If a dog runs up to you, you may be thinking it’s coming for some pets, but if it jumps out and bites you, then you might be going to the hospital for some stitches.

    When dogs bite children, it often causes physical and mental scars for life. They become afraid of all dogs and experience anxiety whenever they are around other peoples’ pets.

    If a dog bites you or someone you know, you should get a lawyer to help win you justice for what happened. For people wondering, “Can you sue for a dog bite?” The answer is yes. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you know what to do and what to say after a dog bite.

    How Dog Bites Happen

    Dogs are very popular pets, and more and more people every year adopt or buy dogs. During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was an enormous rush to adopt dogs because so many people wanted that close connection.

    Not all of these people know how to handle them properly, and very few dogs are well-trained. Most of the time, your safety and the safety of the people around you depend on the dog owner’s ability to control their leash.

    You’ve probably seen it often enough. Maybe you’re walking on the sidewalk with your dog or sitting on a park bench. A person walks by with their dog on a leash. Once they see you or your dog, their dog lunges and starts barking. You don’t know whether they are friends or foe.

    The other owner starts yanking on the leash and trying to get in front of their dog. The situation is tenuous for a few moments, and then the owner is finally successful in dragging their dog further down the road until they come across the next target.

    But what happens when an owner loses control or the dog manages to get off the leash? Dogs rush into people and other dogs and start biting because they’re poorly trained or afraid. It may not be entirely the dog’s fault, but the responsibility rests on the dog’s owner’s shoulders.

    The Impact of Dog Bites/Can You Sue for a Dog Bite?

    After dog bites, people often experience the following hardships:

    • Visits to the emergency room for stitches & bandaging
    • Surgery for serious bites and mauling, including plastic and reconstructive surgery
    • Loss of movement in parts of the body that are bitten, especially if nerves are damaged
    • Medical costs from the ER visits and subsequent checkups
    • Lost income from time away from work
    • Pain & suffering associated with the incident
    • Long-term trauma from the dog bite
    • Infection from the bite: dogs have bacteria that is introduced into a wound that causes infection and scarring

    These are just some of the things people have to deal with after a dog bite. Depending on the severity of the attack, the impact can easily climb to thousands of dollars. For many people, a dog bite injury quickly becomes a financial hardship.

    Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury?

    In Florida and most other places, dog owners have a duty of care when it comes to their dogs. They are responsible for any harm their dogs inflict on other people or animals. Under Florida law, owners of dogs are strictly liable for the injuries they case. That means that you don’t necessarily have to prove the owner was even negligent.  If their dog causes you harm, they are liable.  This includes instances where dogs chase people and someone running away falls and is injured.

    What is a duty of care? It’s a legal term that refers to an obligation not to cause harm to other people or animals.

    Dog owners must take measures to prevent any harm to others. That includes:

    • Keeping the dog on a leash
    • Putting on a muzzle if necessary
    • Making sure the dog can’t escape from their property
    • Intervening when the dog becomes aggressive
    • Providing adequate behavioral training

    Pro Legal Tip:- Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. That means that they are usually liable for a dog bite even if they weren’t aware their dog was aggressive. In some places, dogs and dog owners get a pass for the first bite. That’s not typically the case in Florida.

    In some communities, certain breeds are banned (for example, pit bulls).  To house those breeds is in itself a violation of the law and may even give rise to criminal charges should the dog injure someone.

    Can You Sue for a Dog Bite? – Determining Negligence & Liability

    A dog bite is often traumatizing. When it first happens, people go into shock and don’t know what to think. Pursuing a personal injury case isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind.

    Perhaps it should be, though, because soon enough you or someone you love is dealing with medical costs and increased anxiety around dogs that are hard to treat.

    Hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer in Florida should be high on your list after a damaging dog bite.

    An expert personal injury lawyer will:

    Determine Negligence

    Was the dog owner aware their dog was aggressive? Did they take proper measures to prevent the bite? If an owner refuses to put their dog on a leash in a public area and the animal bites someone, that is negligence. Your lawyer will examine the details of what happened and find negligence if it’s there.

    Assign Liability

    To win compensation for your pain and suffering, you must prove that the dog owner is liable for what happened. Establishing negligence is the first step in assigning liability in your case. Liability is a legal term for responsibility. Saying that the dog owner is liable means they should pay for your recovery.

    Seeking Justice After a Dog Bite Injury

    If you’re a dog lover, you may want to brush off a dog bite at first. It’s often an instinct to reassure dog owners after their dog acts out. After all, it’s just a dog.

    What you don’t know is what is happening behind the scenes. That dog owner could be negligent and even an abusive dog owner. Perhaps the dog acting out is a symptom of poor living conditions or mistreatment.

    You also don’t know what the long-term impact of the dog bite will be. Maybe you’ll have long-term nerve damage that will stop you from typing on a keyboard or driving a car well. Serious injuries are a high price to pay for being nice to a dog owner you don’t know well.

    People are often surprised at how much compensation they can win in a dog bite personal injury case. At the very least, the negligent dog owner should pay for any of your medical bills after the bite.

    Stopping Aggressive Dog Behavior

    Dogs don’t usually hurt people. Most dogs are wonderful, friendly animals. When they bite people, the dog owner is breaching their duty of care as a pet owner.

    Dog bites certainly happen in random places, but they typically happen in places close to home. They happen in parks near our houses or when dogs escape from their yards.

    In many cases, injured people know the dog and the dog owner. They’ve seen them before, and odds are they know the dog is aggressive.

    Pursuing a personal injury case against a negligent dog owner can stop the dog’s aggressive behavior. If the owner doesn’t make changes, they will lose the dog. Holding them accountable can prevent other people from getting hurt.

    Finding the Best Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in Florida

    The lawyer you work with matters a lot.

    The best thing you can do is find a personal injury lawyer with experience successfully representing dog bite victims.

    With the right lawyer, you won’t have to do much. They’ll manage all of your correspondence. They’ll also work with insurance companies and the dog owner’s lawyer on a resolution that gets you the compensation that you deserve.

    Done right, you’ll get the financial help you need to treat your injuries and overcome and lasting effects of the injury.

    Find a lawyer that offers a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your case. An expert lawyer can quickly tell when you can sue for a dog bite and if your situation meets the legal threshold.

    The team at Leighton Law has years of experience fighting for dog bite victims. We know your rights and will represent you to get the compensation you deserve via a settlement or in court. Contact us today and tell us what happened. We’ll tell you what you need to do next to hold the dog owner accountable. One of our attorneys will work with you on the best next steps.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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