There is no such thing as a minor dog bite. Tragic dog attacks make headlines across the nation, and cities in Miami-Dade County have aggressively passed legislation to protect residents from dangerous breeds and hold accountable negligent dog owners. Unfortunately, laws alone can’t protect us. Vicious dogs can and do get loose, owners fail to keep their pets on leashes, and “family” dogs can turn on or snap at their own household members or visitors.
We might assume we’re safe around a dog if it isn’t one of the stereotypical dangerous breeds—but, in fact, small-breed dogs are the culprits behind most animal bites. We just don’t hear as much about them because these incidents aren’t sensational enough for news outlets, and most go unreported.
A dog bite doesn’t need to capture headlines to cause serious injuries, and bite victims owe it to themselves to consult one of Sibley Dolman’s dog bite attorneys when pursuing compensation for bite-related medical costs.
Understanding Doral and Miami-Dade Dog Laws
Doral expressly prohibits the presence of non-service dogs at all its parks, with the exception of its designated dog parks. It’s natural for children to run around and make noises that might trigger an otherwise calm dog’s prey drive. This same instinct makes joggers and weekend team sports players vulnerable. Leashed or off-leash pets could endanger children too young to know how to safely greet a strange dog. Doral understands that its residents need safe recreation venues, but all laws require consistent enforcement.
Miami-Dade County requires special licenses and restrictions for individual dogs deemed dangerous, and specifically states that “the responsible party shall be liable if a dangerous dog attacks or bites a human or a domestic animal when unprovoked.” These sanctions allow dogs—and their owners—second chances, but creates documentation to establish the dog’s history of dangerous behavior if the owner fails to comply.
On January 1, 1990, Miami-Dade County put into effect a law banning the purchase, sale, transfer, or importation of pit bulls and pit bull mixes. At that time, owners of grandfathered dogs became subject to registration requirements and proof of the ability to finance liability should the dogs cause injury. Few metropolitan areas take so-called leash laws as seriously as ours. Even still, pit bulls and other “outlaw” breeds live in our county long after the last of the remaining registered dogs have passed on, and the media has no shortage of headline material.
These laws clearly can’t always protect us from injury, but they do establish the groundwork for seeking damages if the incident occurs within Miami-Dade County or, more specifically, Doral.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
No matter the severity of the bite, take immediate steps to ensure your safety and document the incident. Even if you think you’re fine, in the heat of the moment you might not realize that you sustained an injury, or that you didn’t get the information necessary to prevent the same animal from injuring another person in the future.
1. Identify the responsible party
Obtain the dog owner’s name, phone number, and home address, or that of a third-party handler (a dog walker or sitter, for example). If the owner or handler isn’t present, ask neighbors if they know who owns the animal. If the responsible party cooperates, ask for the dog’s license and rabies vaccine numbers and their insurance policy information. When dealing with the handler of a dog that has bitten you or a loved one make sure that you remain calm and civil at all times. Simply get their information and do your best to leave it at that. Admissions of guilt or partial fault for a dog bite injury can come into play later and have an effect on a claim you may have.
Sometimes, we know the dog owner. They could be a neighbor, relative, a friend, or someone you chat with when your dogs and kids play at Trails and Tails City Park. We’re inclined to brush off the incident with an “oh, don’t worry,” but their genuine expressions of regret and empathy aren’t enough when we—or our kids— incur painful injuries and unexpected medical expenses.
2. Seek medical attention as soon as possible
If you experience profuse bleeding, don’t delay—get to an emergency room. For minor cuts and scratches, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and warm water before consulting with your primary care physician or walk-in clinic.
When a dog bite breaks the skin, you’re at risk of several dangerous microbes. Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1,000 persons require emergency medical care to treat injuries resulting from dog bites. Dogs can transmit the following diseases through saliva or scratches:
Dog altercations don’t always result in a bite. If you fell while protecting yourself, a loved one, or even your own leashed pet, you might have experienced indirect injuries: sprains, bruises, or even a concussion. Some dog attacks terrify people, resulting in emotional and psychological trauma among the injured or those trying to intervene.
If you choose not to seek immediate medical attention, photograph your scrapes and bruises and document any physical or stress-related symptoms. Remain alert for pain symptoms and soreness in the following days as adrenaline effects wear off. If your child was involved, was there a change in behavior, or reactions to dogs you trust? This is a potential sign of trauma.
3. Report the incident to the authorities
If the dog handler is hostile or uncooperative, you might want to call 911 for an officer’s assistance. A Doral police officer or Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Deputy may respond, intervene, speak with witnesses, and write an official report.
How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help Me?
Insurance companies often try to deny claims made against their clients when a family dog or dog allowed on the premises causes an injury. Liability isn’t always straightforward—property owners, dog owners, and those immediately responsible for the animal’s behavior aren’t always the same party and may share culpability to some degree. In some cases, dog owners—through their insurance carriers’ legal representatives—have demanded that the injured parties share the blame, especially when the victim is a “poorly supervised” child, or a good Samaritan tries to pull a dog off another person or pet.
It is because of this that a dog bite victim can greatly benefit from the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys of Sibley dolman have handled a significant number of dog bite cases and can assist you in determining who exactly who is liable for your injuries when things may not be as straightforward. Sibley Dolman also can assist you in negotiating with the insurance company and any curve balls they may throw your way like insisting that you may share some fault for an accident that occurred. When you enlist the assistance of Sibley Dolman you are giving your claim the best chance possible at succeeding in securing you the compensation that you need. This is because you are entrusting your case to a firm that will listen to you and communicate with you along every step of the process of getting you a settlement that you can be satisfied with.
Contact Sibley Dolman online, or call us at (305) 930-7688 for a free consultation. Depending on the nature of the incident, a Doral dog bite attorney experienced with Doral and Miami-Dade dog ordinances may assist you in recovering costs associated with treating a dog bite.
8400 NW 36th St Suite 450
Doral, FL 33166
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“My experience with this law firm has been extremely pleasant. After being involved in an accident where I was injured, I was able to seek treatment from the best doctors in the area. I was lucky to have a team that assisted in scheduling my appointments that worked around both my full time work schedule and my demanding grad school schedule. Even with a move out of state to New York, I was able to remain with this law firm and continue treatment in south Florida while remaining under the care of the doctors that I felt most comfortable with. Even though I suffered injuries and experienced difficulties in that aspect, the team here was able to make sure that I was able to continue work and stay on track with grad school all while I moved to a new state.”
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