Dogs are loveable pets and companions for many people, and sometimes dog owners assume if their dog is friendly to them, they will be friendly to everyone, but this is not always the case. Even the gentlest of dogs can bite someone for various reasons, such as if someone or something scares or startles them, even unintentionally.
A dog bite injury can be more serious than many people think. The bites can be painful and result in major medical costs from hospital stays, doctor appointments, physical therapy or surgery. Some medical bites can even cause disfigurement or disability, such as nerve damage. All these things can lead to lost wages from time missed from work, as well as mental and emotional distress.
Florida is a strict liability state with dog bite law. This means if you are bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner is automatically responsible for compensating you for your injuries, provided you were not trespassing on the owner’s property. This law is helpful for dog bite victims, since Florida had the second highest number of dog bite claims in the country in 2019.
Document the injury and seek medical help
Even with the strict liability law, there are several things you should do after a dog bite if you would like to file a personal injury claim. Pictures are very important. Take pictures of any injuries as soon as possible after the incident. Obtain the contact information of the dog owner and anyone who witnessed the dog bite.
Getting the appropriate medical treatment is the next step. If the bite appears major, an ambulance may need to be called, but if you feel you don’t need an ambulance, it is still best to be treated by a doctor as soon as you can.
Even what appear to be minor dog bites can quickly intensify and result in serious problems and significant pain. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney to review your legal options.