Dog bite attacks can cause substantial harm. Injuries from a dog bite include nerve damage, disfigurement, scarring, lacerations, or death. Millions are victims of dog bites every year, and many of these are children. Most people do not have enough saved up in case of unexpected serious injuries. If you or a loved one were the victim of an animal attack, the skillful Ocala dog bite attorneys of the Dean Law Firm may be able to help.Liability for Dog Bites
If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog, you should be aware that there is a statute of limitations restricting the period of time within which you can sue for damages. You must file a personal injury lawsuit within four years of the date you were bitten, or you will be barred from bringing a claim. To make sure your lawsuit is heard, it is advisable to consult an attorney as soon as possible after getting injured.
Under Florida Statutes section 767.04, you can hold a dog owner accountable for dog bite injuries if: (1) you were bitten by someone else’s dog and (2) you were in a public place or legally in a private place. For example, if your neighbor’s dog broke out of the yard and rushed up to you in the street and bit you, you’d be able to hold the neighbor accountable under section 767.04. You would not need to show that there was a lack of reasonable care by the neighbor. However, if you were knocked over in the street, you’d show liability by proving negligence.Defenses You May Encounter
If you bring a dog bite lawsuit, there are different defenses the dog’s owner may raise. One is trespassing. If you were trespassing on private property when you were bitten by a dog, you are not considered “lawfully” there and you wouldn’t be able to recover damages. Another possible defense that the dog’s owner might raise is your comparative negligence. If you are bitten partially due to your own negligence, the damages will be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of blame the jury assigns to you. For example, if you are at a dinner party and try to move a dog sleeping in front of your friend’s refrigerator and the dog bites your leg, the jury may find you are 50% responsible for provoking the dog. If the damages are $20,000, you would only be able to recover $10,000. A seasoned dog bite lawyer in Ocala can help you respond to arguments of this nature.Damages
Victims of dog bites may have substantial medical bills and may need to take time off work to rest and recover. Often dog bites are accompanied by significant emotional trauma. There may be scarring and disfigurement that require corrective surgeries. The costs can go beyond six figures. If you are able to successfully establish liability, compensatory damages may be recovered. These are damages meant to put you back in the position you would have been in had you not been bitten. They can include economic losses such as medical bills, replacement services, wage loss, therapy bills, surgery costs, and alterations to your house that would be necessary if you are permanently disabled as a result of a dog bite. They can also include noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. The severity of the injuries will dictate the value of the damages award. Choosing an experienced Ocala dog bite attorney can affect the amount of noneconomic damages you recover, particularly if he or she is able to present strong arguments regarding the intangible losses associated with your injuries and tells the story of those losses to an insurance adjustor or jury.Consult an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Ocala
Dog bites can be painful. If you suffered dog bite injuries in Ocala and were bitten by someone else’s dog, you may be able to recover damages. The Dean Law Firm represent patients and family members throughout Florida, including in The Villages and Crystal River, as well as Lake, Sumter, Citrus, Sumter, Marion, and Levy Counties. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us through our online form.