More and more people across the country own dogs than ever before. Of course, dogs are known as man’s best friend. No matter how long a dog has lived in a safe and welcoming home, however, some breeds are prone to acts of aggression. Then, there are the dogs who don’t live in nurturing, caring homes, who can also become aggressive due to mistreatment. You just never know with a dog you aren’t familiar with, and that means it’s best to be cautious. For those who have experienced a dog attack, you know there’s nothing funny about being the victim of a vicious act of canine violence.
What Constitutes a Dog Attack?
Florida dog bite law clearly define who is considered liable during an attack. In almost every case of a violent dog attack in Florida, the owner of the dog is held responsible. If the victim of the attack is injured, it is understood that the costs of treatment are the responsibility of the dog’s owner.
However, there are a few terms to keep in mind when it comes to dog attacks. The first is the concept of strict liability.
Strict liability is a way in which to place responsibility no matter the confounding factors of a situation. In this case, a dog owner who has no knowledge of violent or aggressive behavior in their dog does is not protected from being responsible for damages.
What Might Reduce your Compensation as a Dog Bite Victim?
It’s likely that the owner of a dog that bites you may try to reduce their responsibility. In this case, they’ll likely hire an attorney to attempt to decrease blame and financial reparations. The dog owner might attempt to make the case with their attorney that you provoked the dog. Provocation or negligence can possibly reduce the compensation you are due in a dog attack. For example, a dog’s owner can argue that taunting or teasing provoked the dog unfairly. The thinking goes that dogs are animals and cannot reason with things like taunting in a logical way like humans.
Likewise, a dog owner may hire an attorney to argue that you were illegally approaching the dog. For example, if a dog attacks you while you are on private property and you had no legal reason to be there, a case can be made that the dog’s owner is not responsible. Compensation can be completely eliminated for a victim of a dog attack in this case.
Lastly, if you’re allowed on the property but get attacked by a dog, the owner is not responsible in some cases when a “Beware of Dog” or similarly phrased sign is present. This is not the case for attack victims under 6 years old, though.
What to Do When Attacked by a Dog
If you’re attacked by a dog, there are a few things you can do to try and fend off the animal. That being said, you do have more options before the attack begins. Aggression in dogs is easy to spot, and in some cases, hear. Growling, the showing of teeth, and the squaring of the dog’s body to yours while approaching cautiously can show signs of a pending attack. If this begins to occur, be sure to try a few of these protective, preventive acts:
- Avoid eye contact—this often provokes an aggressive dog further.
- Turn your body away to the side, not directly facing a dog can show submission, fending the chance of an attack.
- Be still, then cautiously walk away. don’t run, this can tell a dog to chase you. Slowly wait for the dog to stop moving while trying the first two acts, then slowly walk away.
It’s also important not to communicate with the dog. When provoked, a dog can interpret communication as a sign of a challenge to its safety or as a heightened sign of danger.
If the dog attempts to lunge at you, try to get distance and objects between you and the dog. If you cannot distance yourself, try to stay quiet and cover the dog with a shirt or article of clothing to block its vision. If you have no way to defend yourself and the dog is beginning to maul you, curl into a ball, protecting your face and call for help. Try not to hit the dog back, as this will likely increase its sense of danger and further provoke it.
What Should You Do After a Dog Attack?
The first thing to do after an attack is to identify the dog and its owner. This way, you have the information necessary for alerting the police and a lawyer. If the attack was severe enough, seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to take time once it’s safe to photograph your injuries and get all the necessary paperwork from your doctors. Once you’ve been checked out by a medical professional, be sure to file a dog attack report with the police or applicable city/county authority.
At this point, it’s crucial to find out more information about the owner and the dog. For example, a dog license and registration are required in Florida. The legal information needed to secure your compensation for a dog attack can be tricky to obtain, which is why this is the point many would recommend you contact a dog attack attorney. Luckily, Burnett Law is knowledgeable and experienced in Florida dog attack laws and regulations to help get you the compensation you deserve.
Victim of a Dog Bite in Florida? Contact Burnett Law Right Away
Burnett Law is prepared to help you with all the necessary steps that you must take after a dog attack.
After seeking medical help and filing paperwork for the attack, your next call should be to Burnett Law to find out what you need to do to get compensation. As mentioned, some dog owners will try and argue you are at fault, or maybe that you were trespassing on their property. Hiring a knowledgeable dog attack attorney is the best way to combat these attempts to reduce liability or financial responsibility.
Contact us immediately at (813) 221-5000 for a free consultation in the event of any and all dog attacks, bites, and injuries caused by someone else’s pet.