At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have successfully handled claims on behalf of dog bite victims, either through negotiations with the owner’s insurance company or litigation. We are well versed in statutes enacted to protect the rights of our dog bite victims and understand that acting quickly following an animal attack is vital in protecting these rights. An immediate investigation can help establish liability for the bite and determine whether insurance coverage applies.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately to learn more about your legal options. In addition to dog bite lawsuits, our attorneys are experienced in other practice areas, including medical malpractice, car accidents, and more. Fill out our free, no obligation case review form today to learn how our attorneys may be able to help.
How Often Do Dogs Bite People?
There are over 327 million people in the United States who own some 90 million dogs. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year. That means that a canine bites 1 out of every 69 people. While most of these incidents don’t result in injuries, 800,000 require medical care annually. According to Insurance Journal,
in 2017, insurance companies shelled out nearly $700 million in dog bite-related claims.
Workers’ Compensation and Dog Bite Injuries
Mail carriers, deliverymen, and other employees who are required to walk on private property or enter homes as part of their job description are given an “implied invitation” to enter the premises. A worker who is lawfully on the property within the scope of their employment and is bitten by a dog can submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
insurance provides employees who are injured on the job with medical and wage replacement benefits. When an employee is bitten by a dog at work, they may also have a claim against the owner of the dog — as long as it is not owned by the employer. A third party claim can provide the injured employee with additional compensation for pain and suffering, and other losses not covered by workers’ compensation.
Are Dog Bite Cases Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Even if the dog’s owner does not have coverage, the injured party can still bring a legal claim against the owner to collect compensation for their losses.
Depending on the details of the case, homeowners insurance may cover damages resulting from dog bites that occur on the owner’s property. Dog bites may also be covered by automobile insurance if the injury is sustained in the owner’s motor vehicle or by animal insurance if the owner elected to purchase such coverage.
Even if the dog’s owner does not have coverage, the injured party can still bring a legal claim against the owner to collect compensation for their losses. To find out whether the dog’s owner is insured, our attorneys will ask to see the declarations page of their homeowners, animal or renters insurance. If the insurance limits seem inadequate, we will determine whether the owner has a supplemental policy that may cover the incident.
If the dog’s owner denies having coverage or is unwilling to provide the details of the plan, these documents can be obtained during the discovery phase of the lawsuit, where attorneys for both parties share information regarding the accident and injury.
Liability for a Dog Attack
According to Florida dog bite law,
the most common defendant is the owner of the dog; however, the degree of the owner’s liability varies between cases. In most cases, the owner is responsible for the dog’s actions regardless of whether they have any prior knowledge of the dog's tendency to bite.
There are two limited exceptions to this rule in certain states. First, if the dog is provoked, the victim’s own negligence will be taken into account when determining damages. Second, if the bite occurs on the owner’s property, they usually cannot be found liable (unless the victim is under 6 years old) if there is an easily readable warning sign in a prominent place.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims?
A statute of limitations is a law that states the amount of time following an incident the victim has to file a claim. After this time period expires, victims of dog bites may no longer bring their claims. Because of the statute of limitations, dog bite victims should not wait to contact an attorney in regard to their claim.
What Damages Can I Recover if I Am a Victim of a Dog Bite?
Dog bite victims may be entitled to damages including:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
With years of experience handling dog bite cases, our attorneys have witnessed the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects these injuries can have on their victims. We have seen clients suffer serious injuries that posed the risk of permanent scarring and costly medical bills for related treatments. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys understand the urgency of these matters and work diligently to help dog bite victims recover compensation for their losses.