orange line orange line

Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawyer

dog

Injured By a Dog Bite? Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

At Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale dog bite injury lawyers are compassionate, experienced, and results-driven advocates for justice. We go above and beyond to ensure that injured victims receive the highest level of personalized legal representation. If you or your loved one was bitten and injured by a dog, we are here to help. For a free case review with a top Florida dog bite attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us at our Fort Lauderdale law office today.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that dogs bite a collective 4.5 million people nationwide each year—and nearly 20% of those injuries require professional medical attention from a licensed physician. Why does this happen so frequently? There are many different reasons. Some of the leading causes of dog bites include:

  • Fear: A dog might bite if it feels threatened or cornered, particularly if it cannot escape the situation.
  • Territorial Behavior: Dogs may bite to defend their territory, home, or family members.
  • Resource Guarding: Biting can occur when a dog is protecting its food, toys, or other valued items.
  • Maternal Instincts: A mother dog may bite to protect her puppies.
  • Predatory Instincts: Some dogs may bite due to their innate prey drive, particularly if they perceive fast movement or small animals.
  • Poor Socialization: Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized may have difficulty interpreting and responding to human behavior, which can lead to biting.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Dogs experiencing stress or anxiety may bite as a coping mechanism.
  • Overstimulation: A dog that is overly excited or aroused may bite unintentionally.


practice-pages-image

What Injuries Can a Dog Bite Cause?

All dog bite injuries that puncture the skin require professional medical attention. While the severity of dog bite injuries can vary dramatically—from minor issues to life-threatening attacks—dog bites carry a risk of complications, including serious infections. Some of the leading injuries that can be caused by dog bites are as follows:

  • Puncture Wounds: Sharp teeth can puncture the skin, leading to deep wounds and potential damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
  • Lacerations: Dog bites can cause cuts or tears in the skin, which may require stitches or other medical interventions.
  • Infections: Bacteria from a dog’s mouth can cause infections in bite wounds, sometimes leading to serious complications if not treated promptly.
  • Nerve Damage: Bites can cause nerve damage, leading to loss of sensation, movement, or function in the affected area.
  • Fractures: In severe cases, a dog bite can result in broken bones.
  • Psychological Trauma: Dog bite victims may experience psychological distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.

The Steps to Take After a Dog Bite in Florida

Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog in Florida? Our state has complicated dog bite liability laws in place. A proactive approach is essential to protecting your health, well-being, and legal rights. Here is an overview of the most important steps to take after a serious dog bite in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Seek Professional Medical Attention: Medical needs come first. Prioritize your health and well-being. You need to see a doctor to be able to bring a dog bite injury claim in Florida.
  • Obtain the Dog Owner’s Information: Get the dog owner’s name, contact information, and details about the dog, including breed and vaccination history.
  • Document the Incident: Take photos of the injury, the dog, and the location where the bite occurred. Write down a detailed account of the event.
  • Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Speak with an attorney experienced in dog bite cases to understand your legal rights and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Serious Infections From Dog Bites

As stated previously, infection risk is a very serious concern with dog bites. Whenever a person’s skin is punctured by a dog’s mouth, there is a possibility of a severe infection. Here are three of the most common and most dangerous types of dog bite-related infections:

  • Tetanus: Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, which can enter the body through puncture wounds or deep cuts, such as those from dog bites. Tetanus affects the nervous system, leading to muscle stiffness, spasms, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • Pasteurella: Pasteurella is a common bacteria found in the mouths of dogs and can cause infection when introduced into a bite wound. Symptoms of a Pasteurella infection may include redness, swelling, pain, and pus discharge at the site of the wound. In some cases, it can lead to more severe complications.
  • Capnocytophaga: Capnocytophaga bacteria can be transmitted through dog bites and cause severe infections, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems or pre-existing health conditions. Symptoms may include fever, chills, redness, swelling around the bite site, joint pain, and fatigue.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today.

An Overview of Florida’s Dog Bite Laws

Under Florida law (Florida Statute § 767.04), our state imposes strict liability on dog owners. In effect, this means that the owner of a dog is responsible for any damages or injuries caused by their pet, regardless of whether the dog had a prior history of aggression or not.

The victim does not have to prove the dog owner’s negligence to hold them liable. Under Florida law, a dog owner can be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog if the victim was lawfully on the property where the attack occurred or if the victim was in a public place, such as a park or sidewalk.

A third party may also be held legally responsible for a dog bite in Florida. However, these are negligence-based cases. For example, an apartment building that negligently failed to remove a dangerous dog from its premises may be legally liable if that dog bites a tenant or visitor.

Exceptions to Strict Liability in Florida

The Legal Information Institute defines strict liability as legal responsibility that is imposed regardless of negligence. It is not an automatic liability, though. Notably, there are two major exceptions to Florida’s strict liability rules for dog owners in dog bite cases. A dog owner is not strictly liable for a dog bite if:

  • The victim was trespassing at the time of the attack; and
  • The victim provoked the dog to attack.

Understanding the Compensation You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Injury Claims

A serious dog bite injury can dramatically disrupt your life. Following an attack, it is imperative that victims and families are able to secure the maximum financial recovery. You may have a lot of questions and concerns, such as if you can sue for pain and suffering or how to value your personal injury case. In Florida, dog bite victims have the right to seek financial compensation for economic losses and intangible damages. A settlement or verdict may include monetary damages for:

  • Emergency room care;
  • Hospital bills;
  • Other healthcare costs;
  • Medications;
  • Medical devices;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of earning power;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Permanent scarring;
  • Long-term disability; and
  • Wrongful death of a family member.

Determining the Value of Your Dog Bite Injury Case

The value of a dog bite injury claim in South Florida is highly fact specific. It will likely depend on liability, the extent of your damages, and the insurance coverage held by the dog owner. You do not have to figure out the value of your dog bite injury claim alone. An experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney will be able to review your claim and help you determine the proper value.

How Long Will It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Claim?

It depends. You should comply with the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuitsUnder Florida law (Florida Statutes § 95.11), a dog bite injury claim is subject to a two-year statute of limitations—but do not wait that long to get started with your case. Consult with a Florida dog bite lawyer right away. Settling a claim can take a few months to over a year.

Can I Find Out if a Dog Was Properly Vaccinated Against Rabies After a Bite?

Yes. You have a right to this information. The dog owner should provide it. If they refuse to do so, consult with a Fort Lauderdale dog bite injury attorney right away.

Dog Bite Claims in Florida: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I was bitten by a property owner’s dog while I was doing work at his or her house. Do I have a claim?

You may be wondering if you can sue for personal injury if you were attacked by a dog while doing work on someone’s property. In Florida, you most likely have a claim. Dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dogs cause, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior. However, your claim may be affected if you were negligent or provoking the dog. Be sure to consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney.

If my dog bite injury gets infected, will the at-fault party be responsible for compensating me for treatment?

Yes—at least in most cases. Infections are a serious issue. If your dog bite injury becomes infected, the at-fault party is most likely responsible for compensating you for the necessary treatment. In Florida, dog owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog’s bite, including medical expenses and any complications arising from the injury. An experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Can dog owners get an insurance policy to protect themselves from liability?

Yes, dog owners can obtain an insurance policy to protect themselves from liability related to dog bites. Many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies include coverage for dog bite claims. However, the specific circumstances always matter. For example, there are certain types of insurance carriers that may exclude coverage for specific breeds.

I was bitten by my friend’s dog. Would it be wrong for me to file a dog bite injury claim against a friend?

Filing a dog bite injury claim against a friend might feel uncomfortable, but it is not wrong. Your friend’s homeowners or renters insurance will likely cover the claim, meaning the insurance company, rather than your friend, would compensate you for your injuries. You should prioritize your health, safety, and financial stability.

Why Choose BK Law for a Dog Bite Injury Claim in Fort Lauderdale?

Dog bite injury claims are complicated. Remember, strict liability is not automatic liability. Most dog bite injury claims are defended by insurance companies that are focused on protecting their own bottom line—not on doing what is right for you and your family. You do not have to take on a dog bite injury claim alone. At Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyers advocated tirelessly to get real justice and real results for victims and families. If you or your loved one was bitten by a dangerous dog, our legal team is more than ready to help. Contact us now for a free review of your case. We handle dog bite injury claims in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, and throughout the surrounding region in South Florida.
orange line orange line

Latest Articles

Image for Update: Navy Unveils New Process for Camp Lejeune Act Claims post

calender September 22, 2023

Update: Navy Unveils New Process for Camp Lejeune Act Claims

The water at Camp Lejeune—the massive military base in Jacksonville, North Carolina—was contaminated with carcinogens ...

Image for Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale post

calender August 29, 2023

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Hurt in an accident? You are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ...

Image for Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable? post

calender August 28, 2023

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?

Hurt in a serious accident caused by another party’s negligence? You need financial compensation to ...

Civil Trial Badge
American Board of Trial Advocates Badge
National Board trial Advocacy Badge
AV Badge
Super Lawyer Badge
Million Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
National Trial Lawyers Badge
Florida Justice Badge
American Association for Justice Badge
Massachusetts Bar Association Badge