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Our Gainesville dog bite attorneys demand maximum compensation for the people and families we serve. When life changes, we’re there.

Gainesville Dog Bite Lawyers

Dog bite threatDogs can provide people with the companionship they need, but they can also cause significant harm. Dog bites can be far more than a light nip. They can be serious wounds that lead to infection, scarring, and in severe cases, disfigurement or even death. Dog bites are serious injuries that require immediate care and immediate action.

If a dog has bitten you or your child, it may be time to bring a claim for the injuries and the damages you’ve suffered.

At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our dog bite lawyer can help you secure the compensation you deserve after a dog bite. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, we’re focused on helping you recover from the injuries caused by dog attacks. Based in Gainesville, we help dog bite victims in Alachua County and throughout Florida.

How a Lawyer Can Help with a Dog Bite Claim

Dog bites may be more personal than other types of injuries and accidents. In many cases, the dog bite victim knows the owner or even the dog that bit them. It’s important to remember that homeowners’ insurance or other liability coverage will typically pay the claim. You should not worry about money coming out of the pocket of your friend, relative or neighbor who owns the dog.

A lawyer can handle any discussions with those responsible for the dog and with insurance companies throughout the claim process. After an injury, an experienced dog bite lawyer can help you by:

  • Gathering essential evidence about your injury and what led to it.

    This may include police reports, witness statements, medical reports, and many other important documents. A dog bite lawyer will track down and collect everything your case needs.

  • Determining who is liable for your injuries.

    Companies that were boarding the animal, walking it, or taking care of it during the bite may be liable. If the bite happened on a third-party’s property, they may be liable for your injuries. Anyone who owns or takes care of the dog may be liable if the accident happened on their watch.

  • Determining how much compensation you may be entitled to.

    In cases where the victim’s injuries are serious, it requires careful review and knowledge of settlements to figure out how much you may be entitled to. Compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering may be available. Your lawyer can review your injuries and losses to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to recover.

  • Taking your case to court.

    While most personal injury cases never go to court, yours could if the owner’s insurance refuses to cover your injury or pay appropriate compensation. Court proceedings require careful planning and in-depth preparation. A lawyer can handle everything your case needs in court and will advocate for you every step of the way.

  • Discussing the injury with the dog’s owner and negotiating with their insurance company to get you the compensation you need.

    You may know the owner of the dog, and you may not want to disrupt your relationship with them. There may be ways for you to get compensation from their insurance company without costing the owner any money out-of-pocket. A lawyer can work to find your compensation while protecting the relationships you value.

Proving a Dog Bite Claim in Florida

Under Florida law, you’ll have to prove two things: your right to be at a location at the time of the bite, and that you didn’t cause the dog to bite you. In Florida, the dog’s prior history of aggression or biting is not considered, so you don’t have to prove that as a part of your claim.

You need to prove that you were legally allowed on the property where the bite took place. This could be somewhere like a public park, or it could be in a private residence where you were a guest. This is an important part of the case because, in Florida, you may not be able to recover compensation if you were bitten while trespassing

Florida follows a strict liability rule, meaning that the owner is liable for a dog bite in nearly all situations. However, if you antagonized the dog or otherwise brought about the conditions for the bite, your claim may be reduced or rejected.

Every dog bite case is unique, so make sure you speak with the experienced Gainesville dog bite lawyers about your specific situation. A lawyer can review the facts of your case and advise you on what you’ll need to prove

Who Pays for a Dog Bite Claim in Florida?

There may be many parties who pay for a dog bite claim, including owners, insurance companies, and those who were keeping the dog at the time of the bite.

It’s important to note though, that even if the owner is someone you know, such as a friend or a family member, you may be able to obtain compensation without costing the owner anything. The owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy or other insurance may cover your injuries.

Homeowners’ insurance, commercial liability policies, and others may cover your injuries depending on the circumstances of the bite. Owners and animal keepers may hold insurance policies that can provide you with the compensation you need.

In some dog bite cases, those who had control of the dog at the time of the bite are not the dog owners. In those cases, the person or organization responsible for the dog may be liable.

How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in Florida?

In the state of Florida, you typically have four years after a dog bite to file a suit. This action may cover your physical and psychological injuries after a dog bite, and it may cover damage to your personal possessions such as your clothing. Although four years may seem like a long time, it’s better to get your case started sooner rather than later. This time limit is strict. You may lose your claim if you delay too long.

If you’ve suffered a dog bite, contact the lawyers at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. Our dedicated dog bite lawyers can review your case, advise you on next steps, and start the process of building your claim.

Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites may result in serious injuries, including:

  • Damaged nerves that can take a lifetime to heal. After a bite, you may lose sensation in the area of the bite, or you may feel extreme pain. This numbness or pain may last for years after a dog bite.
  • Scarring may occur after a bite. Dogs have powerful jaws that can cause significant damage to skin and flesh. After a bite, you may be left with permanent scars that can impair you and harm your appearance.
  • Dog bites frequently lead to infection. When a dog ruptures your skin, a flood of harmful bacteria and viruses can enter your body. These can lead to life-threatening
    infections that can take you out of work and disrupt your entire life.
  • Disfigurement. Dog attacks can leave you with permanent injuries that even the best medicine can’t repair. When you’re harmed by a dog, disfigurement is a real possibility that can shape the rest of your life.

Your child can be seriously harmed by a dog bite. Dog bites are a danger at any age, but children often suffer the most. A small child is no match for a grown dog. If your child is attacked, the child may be left with life-long pain, disfigurement, and scars that can shape every part of their future. In the most severe attacks, children and even adults can be mauled to death by a dog.

Compensation for a Dog Bite in Florida

When a dog bite injures you, you may be entitled to several forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical care related to the bite. Dog bites may require stitches, powerful antibiotics, and physical therapy afterward. In severe cases, dog bites can lead to disfigurement, nerve damage, and lasting damage to a victim. A personal injury claim may include the cost of any past or future treatment related to treating your injuries.
  • Your time out of work and damage to your earnings in the future. After a dog bite, you may have to miss work while you recover. In more severe cases, infection and serious wounds may mean that you’re out of work for quite a while. A claim can compensate you for the income you lost due to the injury, and for damage to your future earnings that result from the bite.
  • Pain and suffering that you experience. Dog bites can lead to nerve damage and pain that follow you around for years. A claim may seek compensation for your physical pain, and your mental pain as well. After a dog bite, you may experience extreme anxiety, and other severe consequences that can disrupt your quality of life. A claim for compensation can help you find the compensation you deserve for your pain.
  • Your clothing and other possessions that are damaged or destroyed by the dog. A dog bite can take you by surprise and leave your clothing and other possessions such as your phone ruined. A claim can help you find the resources to repair or replace the property you lost during the attack.

These types of compensation and others may be available in a dog bite claim. If you have questions about compensation in your case, contact us today for a free consultation.

Common Defenses to Dog Bite Claims

In Florida, those who are defending against a dog bite claim will usually base their defense on where the bite took place and what role you played in the bite. In Florida, the prior history of the dog doesn’t matter. The owner can be liable even in cases where the dog had no prior history of biting.

Where the bite took place is an important consideration in a dog bite claim. Under Florida law, you must lawfully be on the property where the bite happened. This could be a public place or a business, or it could be as a guest on private property. If you were trespassing on the property when the bite happened, you may not be able to get compensation from the owner or others who were responsible.

Another common defense is the argument that you played a role in the dog bite. If you were teasing the dog, abusing it, scaring it, or engaging in behavior that could antagonize it, the defense may argue that you were responsible for the bite. In Florida, this argument may be used to reduce your claim for compensation or to eliminate it altogether. In a case like this, it’s important to have clear proof that shows what happened before and during the bite.

When Life Changes After a Dog Attack, We’re There for You

While there is no turning back the clock and preventing the attack, a dog bite lawyer can help you fight for your rights and for the compensation you need.

At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we have over 100 years of combined legal experience, and we’re ready to help you after a dog bite. Our dedicated dog bite lawyer in Gainesville understands how serious a dog bite can be, and we’ll stand up for you and your rights throughout the claim process.

Whether your case can be settled or it needs to go to court, we’re here for you every step of the way.

Our experienced injury lawyers represent dog bite victims in Gainesville, Alachua County, and across Florida. If you’ve suffered a dog bite, contact us for a free initial consultation about your case. Call us or use our online contact form today.

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