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Lyons & Snyder Lyons & Snyder - Trial Attorneys
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Parkland Dog Bite Lawyer

Since doctors better understand the physical and emotional injuries which animal attacks cause, the average dog bite injury settlement has increased significantly since the early 2000s. When dogs bite, their teeth usually cause deep puncture wounds and severe tearing lacerations. Both kidneys of injuries usually require extensive treatment in specialty trauma facilities. Emotionally, many animal attack victims, especially children, experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms following an attack.

The hard-working Parkland dog bite lawyers at Lyons & Snyder hit the ground running in these situations. We review your options under Florida’s complex animal attack law. Then, we collect solid evidence which supports your claim. Later, when the case goes to court, we stand up for your legs and financial rights. We are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible outcome under the circumstances, because that’s what you deserve.

Establishing Liability

Generally, state dog bite laws try to strike a balance between victims and pet owners. Victims need compensation for their injuries, and pet owners want to keep sometimes volatile animals in their homes. So, there are several different legal theories in Florida. Each one has some pros and cons.

  • Strict Liability: Owners are strictly liable for dog bite damages in Florida. Victims who use the strict liability law must only prove cause. So, a little evidence goes away. A downside to a strict liability claim is that the law doesn’t apply to broken bones and other knockdown-related injuries. Furthermore, some pet owner jurors may consider strict liability a financial pet ownership penalty.
  • Scienter (Knowledge): Owners are liable for all attack-related damages if they knew the animal was potentially vicious, and the animal attacked someone. Evidence of knowledge includes vicious growling and other pre-bite behavior, as well as previous attacks against people. Scienter is only available in some situations. But even pet owners are usually willing to hold clearly negligent owners responsible for damages.
  • Negligence: These same dynamics apply in ordinary negligence and negligence per se claims. Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of care. For example, a teacher is negligent if he allows children to play near a strange dog. Negligence per se is usually the violation of a leash law, fence law, or other animal restraint requirement.

Our Parkland dog bite lawyers can also hold third parties responsible for injuries in some cases. For example, in the schoolteacher example, the school district would probably be financially responsible for damages, under the respondeat superior rule.

These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Common Defenses

Provocation, which is a form of contributory negligence, is a possible defense in all dog bite claims. Owners aren’t responsible for injuries if the victim provoked the dog.

In this context, “provocation” is narrowly defined. People cannot accidentally provoke dogs, perhaps by moving fast. In fact, according to Florida law, provoking is almost synonymous with torturing. The insurance company must prove that the victim inflicted so much physical pain on the animal that it had to respond violently in self-defense.

Assumption of the risk is a negligence defense. In animal attack claims, the assumption of the risk defense usually involves a “Beware of Dog” or other warning sign.

A sign alone is insufficient. Insurance company lawyers must prove that that victim voluntarily assumed a known risk. In other words, there must be clear evidence that the victim saw the sign, could read it, and could understand what it meant.

Connect with a Hard-Working Broward County Dog Bite Attorney

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced dog bite lawyer in Parkland, contact Lyons & Snyder, Trial Lawyers. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

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