Bad Sparky! Getting Compensation After A Dog Attack

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Suffering a dog attack can be a traumatic and life-changing experience. If you've been injured by a dog, you may be facing medical bills, lost wages, and even serious disability. Your best bet to receive compensation for these losses is to consult with a legal professional from a firm like Schiller, Kessler & Gomez, PLC and familiarize yourself with local dog bite laws.

Injuries Covered Under Florida Law

Since dog bite laws vary by state, you'll need to focus on Florida's policies in order to build the strongest possible case.

According to Florida law, you can pursue damages after a dog bite if:

  • You are somewhere you have a legal right to be when the bite occurs. Public spaces are of course included in this, but so is private property if you have been invited or if there are not prominent "No Tresspassing" signs posted.
  • The person you ask for compensation is the owner of the dog that bit or attacked you.
  • You were attacked in some way and a demonstrable injury occured.

Some states also limit the types of injury that qualify for a case against the dog owner to just bites, but Florida allows you to seek recompense for anything a dog does to you. When you calculate your damages, you can include any of the following potential expenses in your estimation:

  • Hospital and medical bills resulting from the attack, including bites, injuries sustained after being knocked down by the dog, etc. 
  • Lost wages during your recovery period after the attack and estimated future lost wages if a permanent disability is sustained.
  • Pain and suffering, including the attack itself and diminished quality of life after the attack. Persisting trauma or disability may contribute to this.

The Bad Dog Exception

In Florida, "Bad Dog" signs are for more than just show. Dog owners can protect themselves from bite liability by posting such signs in a conspicuous place on their property, making your case more difficult if the bite occurred there. If the bite victim is over age 6, the owner is generally absolved of responsibility using such a sign.

Fortunately, you can still win a dog attack case against a person with such a sign on their property. You'll just need to prove that the bite occurred elsewhere, that the sign was not conspicuously placed, or that you could not read the sign.

Pursuing Your Case

Before you contact the dog owner, it's a good idea to secure the services of a lawyer who specializes in dog attack cases. While the likelihood is that the case will never reach court, a lawyer will help you draft your settlement and ensure that you don't agree to disadvantageous offers the other party might put forward.

If your case does end up going to court, having a lawyer who already worked on it with you should strengthen it significantly. As long as you meet the above mentioned criteria, a skilled lawyer should be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Evidence You'll Need To Present

If your case does go to court, your lawyer will help you collect evidence to show the court. Depending on the extent of your injuries and the situation of the case, you may require the following to demonstrate why you deserve compensation:

  • Photographs and medical testimony from your doctor as to the extent of your injuries.
  • Witness testimony or other evidence that you did not in any way provoke the dog to attack you.
  • If the attack occurred on private property, proof that you were invited by the owner.
  • Character witnesses to attest to your honesty.
  • Photos or video of the dog itself.

Other evidence may be required specific to your case, but your lawyer will consult with you about any further case requirements.

Don't feel hopeless or intimidated after you suffer a dog attack. With the right lawyer working on your case, you'll be able to get the compensation you need to put your life back on track.

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6 January 2015

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.