Florida Dog Bite Attorney
A dog bite is a traumatizing injury. Dangerous dogs and dogs that bite without provocation are a threat to the safety of people in Palm Coast and Ormond Beach.
Injuries from dog bites can cause serious infection, permanent scarring and emotional trauma and generate costly medical bills. Some dog bite victims need cosmetic surgery to address disfiguring scarring. In Florida, dog owners are liable for any harm done by their dogs.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to file a dog bite claim and seek compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Our attorneys at Chiumento Law have been helping injury victims in Flagler and Volusia counties for almost four decades. We can help you assess the proper steps to take and whether you are entitled to file a dog bite lawsuit. We can help you seek compensation from the dog owner’s insurance. If you or your loved one has been attacked by a dog, please contact Chiumento Law for a free discussion of the steps available to you to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
The injuries from dog bites occur most commonly on the hands and arms, feet and legs and head and neck, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dogs have powerful jaws with sharp teeth and the capability to tear and crush muscles and tissue. Any dog is capable of causing harm if it feels threatened.
People ages 15 and older are more likely to receive medical treatment for dog bite injuries to the arms and legs.
Meanwhile, young children are more likely to suffer head and neck injuries due to their short stature. Young children are attracted to furry animals. Children may not have developed the judgment to recognize the signs that a dog is feeling stress and ready to bite. A child may suffer a serious bite injury to the face or head while trying to pet the animal.
Dog bite injuries may be superficial or deep wounds involving muscle and nerve damage.
The common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds—Any bite that punctures the skin will introduce germs and may become infected. Dog bite puncture wounds have the highest incidence of infection, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most infections develop at the site of the puncture wound and in surrounding tissue.
- Lacerations—Dogs have sharp teeth and powerful jaws and often cause lacerations when they bite. A laceration is a jagged sort of wound caused by the tearing of soft tissue.
- Avulsion injuries—A dog may shake its head violently while biting and forcefully tear off skin, causing an avulsion injury. Avulsion injuries may go deep into muscle and bone, depending on the level of force.
- Facial trauma—A lunging dog may try to bite a child on the face and cause serious injuries including torn tissue, loss of tissue and bone fractures. A dog bite victim may have disfiguring facial scars and may require extensive reconstructive surgery.
- Broken bones—Dogs can exert enough force with their jaws to cause crush injuries and bone fractures. A leaping dog can also knock down a person, causing broken bones.
A bite wound from a large canine can cause multiple types of wounds including puncture wounds, lacerations, and avulsions.
If you or your loved one has suffered broken bones, lacerations or other bite injuries from a dog, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the dog owner’s insurance.
Homeowners’ insurance and renters’ insurance policies typically cover liability for dog bites up to the limits of the policy. But you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer represent you in dealings with the insurance company if you want to be treated seriously. An insurance company adjuster may try to minimize your injuries or deny liability altogether if you try to deal with the insurer on your own.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida had the second highest number of dog bite claims in the United States. In 2019, Florida had 1,268 dog bite claims and the average cost per claim was $53,603 per claim, according to the Institute.
The attorneys at Chiumento Law have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies. We know their tactics and are ready to stand up forcefully for our clients.
What to do After Suffering a Dog Bite
If you have a dog bite, you should wash out the wound with warm water and seek medical treatment.
You should report the dog bite to the local animal control office.
- 386-986-2520 Palm Coast Animal Control
- 386-246-8612 Flagler Animal Services serves unincorporated areas of Flagler County, the City of Bunnell and the City of Flagler Beach
Volusia Animal Control provides services for the unincorporated areas of the county and the City of Oak Hill.
- 386-248-1777 Daytona Beach and Daytona Beach Shores
- 386-775-9999 DeBary
- 386-736-5999 DeLand, Lake Helen, Orange City and Pierson
- 386-878-8701 Deltona
- 386-424-2000 Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach, and Port Orange
- 386-248-1777 Holly Hill, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet and South Daytona
Unvaccinated dogs can potentially transmit rabies. The doctor who treats the bite wound will want to know whether the dog who bit you has had a rabies vaccination.
If you or your loved one was bitten by a dog owned by someone else, after receiving medical treatment, you should consult with an attorney about whether filing a dog bite claim against the dog owner’s insurance is in order. You should not be saddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills because someone else failed to control their dog.
Treatment for Dog Bite Injuries
A person who has been bitten by a dog should receive medical attention promptly. You may need stitches to close the wound, depending on the severity of the dog bite.
The dog bite should be washed with warm tap water, antibiotic cream applied and the wound wrapped with a sterile bandage.
The biggest concern with a dog bite is infection, which can be serious. The longer you wait to receive medical treatment, the greater the risk of infection. If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system, the risk of infection is even greater.
The victim of a serious dog attack or mauling may require hospitalization and surgery.
Liability for Dog Bite Injuries
Florida law states that the owner of a dog is liable if the dog bites a person in a public place or while the person is lawfully on private property, including the dog owner’s property.
The dog owner is liable for the dog bite victim’s injuries, regardless of whether the dog had previously bitten anyone or shown vicious tendencies.
However, any provocation or negligence on the part of the person bitten reduces the dog owner’s liability in proportion to the percentage the bitten person contributed to the attack.
Dog owners in Florida who have prominently displayed a Bad Dog warning sign on their property at the time of the injury may not have dog bite liability for a dog bite on their property, unless a negligence act on the owner’s part contributed to the dog bite injuries.
Special liability rules apply to bites involving children under age 6. Dog owners are liable for bite injuries to small children regardless of whether or not they had posted a Bad Dog sign on their property.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injuries in Florida
The state of Florida generally allows the victim of a dog bite four years from the date of a dog bite injury to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation from the dog owner.
Lawsuits take time to investigate and prepare and evidence degrades over time. It is important to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer who handles dog bite cases as soon as possible after a serious dog bite or dog attack.
Contact a Palm Coast Dog Bite Lawyer
Our experienced dog bite attorneys at Chiumento Law are ready to answer your questions, explain your legal options and fight for full compensation to help you or your loved one recover from a traumatic dog attack. Our law firm has offices in Palm Coast and Ormond Beach, you can contact us by calling at (386) 445-8900 or using the online contact form.
If we believe that you have a valid dog bite claim, our attorneys will investigate the circumstances of the dog attack and identify who should be held accountable. If the dog owner acted negligently, the dog owner’s insurance company typically is responsible for paying compensation to the victim or the victim’s family. We will work to help you receive the full compensation available by law.