You’ve come to the right place. The Cloud Law Firm represents Sebring dog bite victims. Call the Cloud Law Firm now for a free, no hassle consultation at: (863) 402-2207. We will be happy to meet with you in person at our Highlands County office located at 205 S Commerce Ave, Sebring, FL 33870. We want you to know your rights and we will provide the advice and help you are searching for. If you retain us, we will get to work on your case right away. You have nothing to lose by calling because there are no attorneys’ fees unless we win your personal injury case.
Dog Bite Injuries
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United State annually. Of those, almost 800,000 victims require medical care, and 6,000 victims are hospitalized each year. Children are at highest risk for being bitten by a dog.
As you can imagine, dog bites can cause serious injuries, nerve damage, pain, illness and even death. Moreover, dog bites can result in infections such as Rabies, MRSA, Tetnus, and bacteria infections.
Florida Statutes Concerning Liability for Dog Bites
Florida has codified liability for dog bits in § 767.04, Florida Statutes. The statute sets out a strict liability scheme for dog owners. That is, if the conditions of the statute are met, there is no need to prove that the a dog owner was negligent or failed to use reasonable care in causing the dog to bite a victim. Pursuant to the statute, a dog owner is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness. This responsibility extends to people in public places and persons who are on private property lawfully (i.e. the statute does not apply to trespassers). However, the statute maintains Florida’s adherence to the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” This means that the jury may determine that more than one person negligently contributed to dog bite, and allocate a percentage of fault to each of the negligent person, potentially including the dog bite victim (e.g. if the dog bite victim taunts the dog prior to being bitten). If so, following the trial, the court will reduce the injured party’s award of money damages to the percentage allocated to the defendant in the lawsuit.
In addition to liability under the dog bite statute, or in instances where the statute is not applicable, a dog bite victim may proceed under other legal theories of liability such as negligence or, where applicable, intentional tort. Depending upon the circumstances, other Florida statute or local laws may be applicable as evidence of negligence, such as leash laws.
This is a non-exhaustive list of things you should do if you are bitten by a dog:
1. Call 911 and file a police report. The police officer will perform an investigation and record pertinent information about the incident, the dog and the dog owner.
2. Seek immediate medical attention and tell your physician everything you can about the pain and other symptoms you are experiencing.
3. Get all witnesses names, addresses and telephone numbers.
4. Take a lot of pictures of the accident scene, the dog, any witnesses, and all visible injuries of all victims. Keep the photographs in a safe location, not just on your cell phone.
5. Do not talk to anyone other than the police officer, your physicians, and your attorneys about the incident or your injuries.
6. Retain an attorney to help you through your claim.
7. Before you sign anything, such as a statement, consult your attorney.
Yes. The average person does not have the experience necessary to value a personal injury case, to prepare the case, or to negotiate the intricacies of personal injury law. For example, do you know how to obtain and evaluate how much insurance is available to resolve your claim? Do you know which, if any, of your collateral source providers (e.g. a health insurer) must be reimbursed from your personal injury settlement or what to do if the collateral source isn’t being responsive or reasonable? An experienced attorney will be familiar with applicable Florida laws and how they apply to your particular circumstance and will be a great benefit in helping you obtain maximum recovery.
This is a non-exhaustive list of things a dog bite lawyer handles for clients:
1. Investigate the claim, such as: interview witnesses, obtain the police report, obtain photographs the scene; obtain and analyze all of the client’s medical records, obtain and evaluate all applicable insurance policies, and research applicable law.
2. Advance all the litigation costs incurred in pursuing the claim. Litigation costs generally include things like charges for copies of medical bills, costs charged by the Court, court reporters, and process servers, and costs charged by experts. In cases that go to trial, litigation costs are often tens of thousands of dollars.
3. Represent the client in dealings with the dog owner and their insurance company.
4. Represent the client in Court.
5. Negotiate any settlement.
6. Negotiate payment of outstanding liens and medical bills following settlement.
Immediately! Ms. Cloud will provide a free consultation and get to work immediately on your case.
This depends on a lot of variables outside the client and attorney’s control, including: the client’s injuries and course of treatment, the amount of insurance coverage available, the number of insurers involved, and the insurers’ willingness to discuss a reasonable settlement. With those factors in mind, a standard personal injury case in Sebring usually takes anywhere several months to a couple years to complete. One of the reasons it takes so long is because it is unwise to settle before the accident victim substantially completes their treatment as you only get one bite at the apple and cannot go back for more later if it turns out you need additional treatment. Also, if the case goes into litigation, it can take more than a year to get the case through the congested court system.
Dog bite victims are entitled to recover the following types of damages:
1. MEDICAL BILLS: You are entitled to recover payment for all of your medical bills which are reasonable and causally related to the dog attack. This includes future medical costs which are necessitated by your injuries.
2. LOST WAGES: You are entitled to recover payment for all of your lost wages which are causally related to the attack. This includes wages lost in the past, as well as loss of future earning capacity.
3. PAIN AND SUFFERING: You are entitled to recover payment for all of your pain and suffering related to the accident, both past and present. Pain and suffering damages should not be considered lightly. Depending on the circumstances, pain and suffering awards can sometimes be quite significant.
4. OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES: You are entitled to recover all of your out of pocket expenses, including mileage to and from treating physicians and the costs associated with prescription medications. Be sure and keep track of these amounts as they can be difficult to reconstruct.
5. PUNITIVE DAMAGES: Under some circumstances, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer for gross negligence and/or intentional acts. The Florida legislature has passed several statues which serve to define punitive damages and limit the award of punitive damages. However, you should know that under proper circumstances, punitive damages are recoverable.
Your top priority should be your health. If you are in pain or are experiencing symptoms/limitations, you should seek medical treatment regardless of the potential positive or negative effects to the value of your claim. Setting that aside, the value of your case depends on numerous factors, such as the following: the facts of the incident (inflammatory facts makes the value go up), the degree to which you may share comparative fault in causing the incident, the credibility and likeability of the parties and witnesses, the victim’s injuries, course of medical treatment, and future prognosis, the total medical bills, liens and write-offs, and may other factors. An experienced dog bite attorney will consider the circumstances of your case and help you evaluate the settlement value of your case.
No. Many clients want to avoid going to court and we are generally able to secure a reasonable settlement offer without filing a lawsuit. However, insurance companies can be stubborn and sometimes a lawsuit must be filed before the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer.
The Cloud Law Firm provides services to dog bite victims for a “contingent fee.” We get paid only if we win your case by obtaining a settlement or jury verdict in your favor. If we win your claim, the fee is 33.3% to 40% of the recovery depending on whether we had to file a lawsuit to resolve your claim.
“I would strongly recommend Mia for representation. She’s very hard working, professional, protective, compassionate for others in need. She will fight to get the job done! Mia personally handled my case. I was so impressed how quickly she responded to every question with wit that won my case. Mia had only met me a handful of times throughout a couple of years. But, when we were in court she knew absolutely everything about me. That’s what makes her an amazing attorney!” -Angela
Rating: 5.0/5.0 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★