Largo Dog Bite Attorney
Most serious injury dog bite claims involve large Mastiff breed animals, like rottweilers or doberman pinschers, and vulnerable victims, like young children or older adults. These victims often sustain physical and emotional injuries. The physical injuries are often gruesome. They also have a very high infection rate. Emotional injuries usually include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms include anger, depression, and an unnatural fear of all dogs.
To avoid paying fair compensation for these and other injuries, insurance company lawyers often use legal loopholes to shift blame for an animal attack onto the victim. The provocation doctrine is a standard tool. However, in this context, “provocation” has a very narrow meaning that’s almost like “torturing.” Aggressive teasing isn’t enough. Instead, the insurance company must prove the victim inflicted so much physical pain on the animal that it had to respond violently in self-defense.
In contrast, the diligent Largo dog bite attorneys at The Reep Law Firm look for ways to obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries. As outlined below, dog bite victims in Florida have several legal options. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, we customize each claim to fit the facts in the case as well as your needs and desires. In other words, although we look before we leap, once we make that leap, we are all-in for you.
Your Legal Options
Most states have very complex dog bite laws which try to balance the interests of pet owners with the interests of dog bite victims. Florida is no exception. Therefore, the state’s dog bite laws are something of a hodgepodge.
- Strict Liability: Even if the owner didn’t know the dog was dangerous, the owner could still be liable for bite damages. This law is so broad that many pet owners, and there are almost certainly some pet owners on the jury, consider it to be an unfair penalty.
- Scienter (Knowledge): Compensation is also available if the owner knew the animal was dangerous and failed to take proper precautions. Evidence of knowledge usually includes aggressive barking and other pre-bite behavior. Prior attacks against people or animals may be relevant as well. The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish knowledge, and such evidence isn’t always available.
- Negligence Per Se: Speaking of proper precautions, both state and local laws include requirements like fence laws, leash laws, and other animal restraint laws. If an owner violates such a law and that violation causes injury, the owner is presumptively liable for damages.
- Ordinary Negligence: Basically, negligence is a lack of care. For example, a schoolteacher could be negligent if he allows children to play near a strange dog, and one of those children is hurt.
In that last example, the school district is financially responsible for damages. According to the respondeat superior doctrine, employers are legally responsible if their employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment.
Resolving Your Claim for Damages
Almost all personal injury claims settle out of court. If all the issues are perfectly clear, a Largo dog & animal bite attorney may be able to settle the matter without filing legal paperwork.
However, since there’s so much money at stake and since dog bite claims have so many moving parts, victims must normally file suit to jumpstart negotiations.
If the case remains unresolved as the trial date approaches, most Pinellas County judges will refer it to mediation. A third party mediator ensures that both sides negotiate in good faith. Mostly because of this court supervision element, mediation is about 90 percent successful in civil cases.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Pinellas County Dog & Animal Bite Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced dog & animal bite attorney in Largo, contact Reep, Coleman & Stubbendorff. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.