Aside from the physical pain of an animal attack, the emotional trauma following such an event can be just as transformative. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, with one in five bites requiring medical attention each year.
Florida law holds dog owners liable for injuries and property damage caused by their dog in the case of an attack or bite. This type of liability is known as “strict liability” or “liability without fault.”
Although dog bites are the most common animal attack claim, our personal injury attorneys at SKG have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured by dogs and other animals, including:
What to do if you are injured by an animal
If you have been injured by an animal, we advise you do the following:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Report your accident to the police and request a copy of the police accident report.
- Try to obtain the name and contact information of the animal owner.
- Try to get the name and contact information of any people who witnessed your accident.
- Try to take photographs of the animal which caused your injuries and the location of the accident.
- Try to take photographs of any visible injuries you have suffered as result of the incident with the animal or permit our investigator to accomplish this.
- Do not have any communication with the owner of the animal or the owner’s insurance company. If you accept any form of compensation, you may waive your right to sue for additional damages.
- Try to save any clothing that may have been damaged by the animal.
- If possible, take photographs of any property damage caused by the animal.
Florida homeowners’ policies and animal attacks
Homeowner’s insurance is a must-have for anyone who owns their home. It protects you from damages incurred from fire, lightning and theft, among others outlined by your specific policy. While you may be under the impression your homeowner’s insurance policy includes pets, many breeds of dogs and other animals are excluded from coverage, can increase premiums or require homeowners to sign liability waivers for bites and animal-related injuries on their property.
Before you welcome a pet into your family, check your county’s animal laws to learn what breed restrictions are in place. Your homeowner’s insurance carrier may restrict, cancel or deny you coverage based upon your dog’s breed. If you keep a pet, it’s a good idea to shop around for homeowner’s insurance that will cover your pet.
The Schiller Kessler Group provides aggressive and effective legal representation to our clients with the highest standards of excellence, compassion and integrity. We always provide personalized attention and deliver prompt communication so that our clients always know where their case stands. Contact our offices anytime to schedule a free consultation.