Anyone who has ever been bitten by a dog knows that the experience can be traumatic. Dog bites can leave individuals with not only psychological scars, but also a variety of medical issues. Fortunately for bite victims, dog owners can be held legally responsible under Florida law if their dogs bite individuals while out in public or while those individuals are legally on the owners' property.
More specifically, Fort Myers personal injury lawyers will tell you that, under a legal theory known as "strict liability," the owner of a dog can, in most cases, be held responsible for the actions of the dog regardless of fault or intent. What that means for a dog bite victim, according to attorney Randall Spivey, is that he or she will not necessarily have to demonstrate that the dog owner was negligent in any way to recover for injuries suffered. Additionally, even if a dog does not have a history of biting individuals, the owner can still be held responsible. That said, anyone who has been bitten by a dog and sustained injuries is encouraged to contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about potential legal options.
The Laws Pertaining to Dangerous Dogs
What is a dangerous dog? According to Florida law, a dangerous dog is one that "has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or inflicted a severe injury on a human." Further, a dangerous dog is one that has "severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off an owner's premises." Dogs used for fighting or those that are trained to fight, as well as dogs that have chased or approached an individual in a threatening way are also considered to be dangerous dogs.
The Seriousness of Dog Bites
Depending on the severity of the bite, dog bite victims might experience substantial injuries. Dog bites can leave individuals with not only numerous scratches and bite wounds, but also substantial scarring, nerve damage and/or infection from the dog bite and even disfigurement and the need for reconstructive surgery.
What Should You Do if You're Bitten by a Dog?
Individuals who receive dog bite wounds that are not too serious or deep may be able to care for their injuries on their own at home by washing the wounds with a mild soap and water as soon as possible. This is very important because dog bites can result in infections; therefore, washing the wound with soap and water right away, as well as rinsing it with antiseptic, can help defend against possible infection. More severe injuries and bites might require the assistance of a doctor, particularly if the dog was a stray or if the bite victim has certain medical conditions at the time.
Individuals who have suffered injuries, regardless of whether they are psychological or physical injuries, may be entitled to damages that will cover things such as lost wages and medical costs. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, let one of the Fort Myers personal injury lawyers at The Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., handle your case. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation