There is no such thing as a minor dog bite. Tragic dog attacks make headlines across the nation. Cities in Miami-Dade County, such as Doral, 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, Doral 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 in Doral doesn’t need to capture headlines to cause serious injuries. 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.
Doral Dog Bite FAQ
Not only does a Doral dog bite accident cause extreme trauma, it can leave you with a lot of questions about your next steps and legal rights. Contact us to ask specific questions about your claim and check out the FAQ below to learn more about your right to compensation following a Doral dog bite accident.
Does a dog’s owner always bear liability for a dog bite in Doral?
Florida law has strict owner liability laws that state that if a dog bites, the owner must pay for the resulting damages. Therefore, a dog bite victim can recover compensation for a dog bite that occurred on public or private property throughout the Miami-Dade area in most circumstances. However, if the victim contributed to the attack, this may reduce the compensation they can recover. Likewise, a dog owner who tried to prevent an attack may not bear liability if someone else’s actions caused the attack. Speak with a dog bite attorney about the specific circumstances of your case to understand whether you may have a valid claim against the dog’s owner.
What compensation can I recover after a dog bite in Doral, Florida?
Dog bite laws allow a victim to seek compensation for all of the expenses and non-economic damages they sustained as a result of the incident. The compensation a victim can ultimately recover depends on the specific circumstances, including whether the dog owner has insurance that can cover the victim’s damages. In general, a Doral dog bite accident settlement will include compensation for the following types of damages: Medical Costs – Medical costs after a dog bite can add up quickly. Even a small dog may have bacteria in its mouth that leads to serious infection. Larger dogs can cause more damage when they bite, including broken bones. A victim may also sustain additional serious injuries, like spinal cord injuries or a traumatic brain injury, if they fall as a result of a dog attack. Keep track of all medical expenses related to the dog bite, since they will serve as the foundation of any claim you file following the attack. Consider keeping all those bills in one place so you can easily find them. Lost Wages – Did your Doral dog bite injuries prevent you from going back to work immediately after the dog attacked you? Many people end up having to take time off from work following a serious attack to seek medical care or because their injuries prevent them from taking care of their usual work responsibilities. If you had to miss time at work because of your attack, you may choose to include compensation for your lost wages in your dog bite claim. Non-Financial Losses – In addition to direct financial losses associated with your accident, you may have numerous non-financial losses as a result of your dog attack. Dog attacks not only leave many victims in immense pain as they recover from their injuries, they may leave them struggling with emotional trauma, including PTSD related to the attack. Talk to your attorney about how to include compensation for pain and suffering as part of your dog bite claim.
Do I have to prove that the dog’s owner committed an act of negligence that led to the dog attacking me?
Sometimes a dog owner’s negligence directly leads to an attack. In Doral, dogs cannot legally enter public parks, other than designated dog parks, so any owner who brings the dog into a park has already committed a serious act of negligence that can leave them liable for any injuries the dog causes. Doral dog owners may also show clear negligence by:
- Failing to properly control a dog in public, including allowing an off-leash dog to attack someone else.
- Failing to keep a dog properly secured while on private property.
- Failing to warn visitors to a private property about a dog’s known aggressive behaviors or tendencies.
Those acts of negligence may work against the dog owner, but when it comes to a dog bite claim in Doral, they are not the basis for a valid claim. Florida’s strict liability laws mean that the dog’s owner is liable for any damage that the dog does due to a bite, regardless of whether or not the owner committed any acts of negligence that led to the attack.
How long do I have to file a dog bite claim in Doral?
Dog bite claims count as personal injury claims and, as such, they fall under Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you intend to file a dog bite claim, you must file it before the statute of limitations runs out or the court will likely refuse to hear your claim. Some exceptions, however, may extend the statute of limitations, including cases in which a minor child suffers severe dog bite injuries. Talk to the experienced Doral dog bite attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers to learn more about how the statute of limitations may apply to your dog bite claim.
When do I need an attorney to handle a dog bite claim in Doral?
Many people wait until they have already struggled for some time with a dog bite claim before they choose to contact an attorney. Often, they worry that hiring an attorney will decrease the funds they will recover, potentially leaving them struggling to pay all the bills associated with their injuries. However, in many cases, an attorney offers more advantages than you may think. Any dog bite victim in Doral should contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation regarding your right to seek compensation after a dog bite. We can help you understand the compensation you deserve, investigate the dog bite incident, and work with you to attempt to maximize the compensation you ultimately recover. In general, you should reach out to an attorney as soon after your accident as possible. The sooner our clients connect with us, the sooner we can begin working on their behalf. In many cases, we have helped uncover evidence that might have proved much more difficult to access as more time passed after the accident. If you have already started a dog bite claim on your own, the following situations are good indications that you should seek the help of an experienced Doral dog bite attorney as soon as possible:
- The dog’s owner, or the owner’s insurance company, refuses to accept liability. Sometimes, the dog’s owner may try to claim that you suffered your dog bite injuries because of someone else’s dog. You may need an attorney to help prove that their dog did, in fact, cause your injuries and that you have the right to compensation. In other situations, especially if you chose to forego medical attention immediately after the accident, it can prove difficult to establish exactly when your injuries took place. An experienced Doral dog bite accident lawyer can help you gather clear evidence about exactly what led to your accident, when your injuries occurred, and what compensation you deserve for them.
- The insurance company refuses to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. After a dog bite incident in Doral, you may know that you deserve compensation for your injuries, although you may not know exactly how much. You may know, for example, that you deserve compensation for any medical costs you faced due to your injuries. The insurance company, however, may try to claim that you did not really need the treatments you received for those injuries and refuse to pay for them. If the insurance company denies the compensation you deserve, an experienced Doral dog bite accident attorney can help fight for you.
Can I pursue compensation for Doral dog attack injuries even if I did not seek medical attention immediately after the accident?
You should always have a medical professional looked at dog bite injuries as soon as possible since dog bites can lead to serious complications. Dog bites can lead to serious and life-threatening diseases and infections, including rabies. However, sometimes people choose not to go to the hospital or an urgent care center after a dog attack, especially if they do not think they sustained severe injuries. You have the right to pursue compensation even if you did not seek medical attention immediately. Likewise, you have the right to pursue compensation if you did not recognize the full extent of your injuries immediately. Suppose, for example, that during your dog attack, you knew you suffered puncture wounds from the dog’s teeth, but you thought you had merely bruised your leg when you fell to the ground. Later, you may discover that you sustained much more severe injuries than you initially thought: x-rays may reveal a broken bone in your leg, and you may need surgery to reset the bone to increase the odds that you will make a full recovery. You still have the right to recover compensation for the medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to those broken bones.
My friend’s dog bit me. Will they have to put down their dog if I report the bite and file a personal injury claim?
It can be very difficult to file a claim against a friend or family member, especially when it involves a beloved family pet. Many people worry that filing a personal injury claim will lead to unintended consequences. However, even if it was a friend’s dog that caused your injuries, you may need to move forward with a dog bite claim. You may have immense medical bills related to the dog attack, not to mention a long road to recovery ahead of you. You may need the funds from that personal injury claim to help get through your recovery. Florida law does require owners to euthanize a dog who bit someone. Therefore, victims of Florida dog attacks will not have to worry that a dog will automatically be put down as a result of an attack, especially an accidental or minor attack. You will not, therefore, have to worry that a friend will lose a beloved family pet because you filed a dog bite claim.
How long does it take to settle a Doral dog bite claim?
In general, dog bite claims move more smoothly than other types of claims, since they involve a less-detailed investigation process than many other types of accidents. Florida dog bite laws hold the owner strictly liable for an attack, so if the owner has no obvious defense to the claim, an insurance company will often pay out compensation for a dog attack more quickly than other claims. On the other hand, if the dog owner’s insurance company does choose to contest liability for the attack, you may need time for both the insurance company and your attorney to investigate. Furthermore, if you sustained more serious injuries than puncture wounds, you may need time to recover from your injuries before you know how much compensation you need to request for your dog bite injuries. Finally, although the dog’s owner bears strict liability for your medical bills and other costs, you may need to negotiate, either with the owner directly or with the owner’s insurance company, to get the full compensation you deserve for your dog bite injuries. The negotiation process can extend the time it takes to resolve your claim.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Doral
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 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 in Doral 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 Doral 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. Once you’ve returned home, go online and file a report with the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department or call the office at (305) 468-5900.
How Can a Doral 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 Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 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. Our Doral dog bite attorneys 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 an experienced Doral dog bite accident lawyer at our firm, 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. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 8400 NW 36th St Suite 450 Doral, FL 33166 305-930-7688
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.” Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Anna Slough August 2018 Read more reviews on Google!