In most communities at some time during the year, you will read about a dog bite or dog attack leading to serious personal injuries or even the death of the victim.
The local police and/or animal control may investigate to determine the cause, preventability, and fault of the accident.
The police investigation may lead to an administrative proceeding or a criminal proceeding.
It is left to the discretion of the police and/or animal control to issue a citation and then up to the prosecutor’s office if any criminal proceedings move forward.
While the police investigation is an important part of the puzzle, the results from the police investigation are not necessarily binding on a potential civil or insurance claim/case that is pursued by the dog bite victim.
Comparative Fault in an Animal Attack Case
In civil injury cases, the concept of comparative fault may come into play when evaluating and pursuing the case.
Comparative fault means that the Judge or Jury may determine that the fault or cause of the accident is attributed to more than one person.
Let’s say a 5-year-old child is bit by a dog while visiting the home of the dog owner with the knowledge and consent of the dog owner.
The child was merely sitting in the living room. Suddenly the dog attacked the child for apparently no reason at all.
The incident is witnessed by an adult who confirms the facts.
Under this situation, there should not be any comparative fault assessed against the dog bite victim. The child did not do anything wrong.
Another example has a different set of facts. Let’s say a 20-year-old is walking down the street.
He sees a dog on a person’s property and stops to greet and pet the dog. The dog owner was not present at the time.
As such, the 20-year-old did not have the consent of the dog owner to enter the property. Furthermore, the 20-year-old did not have the consent of the dog owner to pet the dog.
Under these facts, there could be complete defenses to the claim depending on the applicable state law.
There also may be some comparative fault assessed against the dog bite victim for his negligence or carelessness.
The dog owner failed to have the dog on a leash and in an enclosed yard. This may not matter depending on the applicable laws in place.
Even when there is some fault or negligence assessed against the dog bite victim, there can still be a reasonable settlement or verdict to compensate the injured victim for the dog bite-related personal injuries and damages.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
In Florida, an animal attack case can become quite complex and confusing. This is why it is important to seek the help and advice of an experience animal attack lawyer.
Hiring the right attorney is important. We know that when your current and future livelihood is on the line, a simple mistake can affect you for the rest of your life.
So do not just search for the “best dog bite lawyers near me”. Instead, take into account their experience, track record, customer success stories, and ratings.
This is where the Wood, Atter & Wolf Personal Injury Law Firm Shines! Wood, Atter & Wolf is on your side, at your side, every step of the way before, during, and after a verdict has been rendered.