According to the U.S. Humane Society, over 83 million people own dogs as pets. Many dog owners consider these animals as family members. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year. Even more unfortunate is that half of these victims are children.
Some dog bites incidents occur from household pets; however, a large majority of dog bite victims are bitten by neighborhood dogs. Serious injuries, including lacerations, punctures, and other wounds, can result from a dog attack. In some cases, death may even occur.
Mounting Medical and Other Expenses
The medical expenses can mount quickly, especially when there is a need for surgery to prevent substantial scarring and disfigurement. Depending on the seriousness of the dog bite, a victim may experience lost wages or even temporary or permanent disability. Does a victim have any recourse to recoup such expenses and losses?
Is Compensation Possible?
The answer is yes. In Florida, a dog's owner can be held strictly liable for injuries suffered due to a dog bite. In other words, the owner does not have to be aware that the dog could or would attack. The dog must have caused an injury to someone who was legally where the dog attack occurred.
Some people are hesitant to seek compensation for a dog bite from the animal's owner. The owner, however, has the responsibility to keep his or her dog from injuring other people. In some cases, a homeowner's insurance company may cover damages. In other instances, there may not be an insurance company to deal with, so a civil lawsuit must be filed against the dog's owner.
What Damages May Be Sought?
A victim may seek compensation for a variety of claims, including medical expenses, lost wages, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and more. An experienced dog bite lawyer such as John D. Mooney P.A. can provide more information on possible damages.
What Other Information Is Needed?
It is always best to seek medical care for a dog bite. Not only will that provide a medical record of the injury, it will also provide a record of what treatment was received. A police report should be filed, as this will provide a copy of the incident, as well as the owner's name and other information. Any witnesses to the attack should be identified. If possible, photograph the injuries before and after medical treatment.