Having a dog is a joyous part of life for many. However, dog owners need to do more than give food and belly rubs to their dogs. They have a legal duty to prevent their loyal companions from harming others, which translates to an obligation to train and tend to their dogs. Negligent dog owners who neglect and abuse their dogs and do not properly train them and keep them leashed when appropriate put others at risk for painful dog bite injuries.
If a dog has attacked you or your child in New Smyrna Beach, leaving you to cope with the aftermath of dog bite injuries, you have the legal right to take action against the dog owner.
The skilled New Smyrna Beach dog bite lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have advocated for victims of negligence since 2004. Once we review your case and determine you have a viable claim, we can handle a civil lawsuit against the dog owner responsible for your injuries.
Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Claim
Dog bite claims are famous for being complex. Cases typically include homeowners insurance policies, even when the dog attack occurred in a public space. Additionally, many dog bite injury cases are emotionally charged because children are often the victims of dog bites.
Watching a child suffer is difficult and can incite anger, revenge, and other negative emotions. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, cares about you and your family, but we can also set aside feelings and emotions to fight for you to recover damages related to dog bite injuries.
The New Smyrna Beach personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has been nationally recognized for their professional excellence and client service from organizations like National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers. Additionally, members of the firm belong to elite legal organizations like the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Our New Smyrna Beach dog bite attorneys know the challenges that come with dog bite injuries and have the experience and knowledge to apply the law in a way to get the best outcome possible for clients. Let our compassionate team handle your dog bite injury case while you focus on healing or helping your child heal from the physical and emotional trauma of a dog attack.
Potential clients who live in the New Smyrna Beach area are only about 60 minutes from the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, office in Cocoa Beach. You’ll find our office at 1980 North Atlantic Avenue. We prefer meeting new clients in person, but injuries and other life circumstances sometimes make this difficult or impossible.
If you cannot travel to Cocoa Beach, we can come to you or offer a convenient virtual meeting.
Contact us for your free consultation to discuss your New Smyrna Beach dog bite claim.
New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Injury Compensation
If you bring a lawsuit against the negligent dog owner responsible for your or your child’s dog bite injuries, you could receive compensation for damages related to the injuries. A jury might award damages if you go to trial, but compensation often comes from a settlement agreement before heading to the courtroom.
Each dog bite injury case has different facts and circumstances that increase and decrease the amount and compensation a victim could receive.
Many dog bite claims include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, lab tests for potential infections, hospitalization, corrective surgery, pain medication, antibiotics, and follow-up doctor visits
- Estimated future medical treatment costs, especially when a dog bite victim has to have multiple cosmetic surgeries
- Rehabilitation costs, including specialized treatment like physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Mental health services, especially for child dog bite victims who are emotionally traumatized after a dog attack
- Lost income from missing work or closing a business due to injuries, hospitalization, and recovery
- Estimated future lost income for those who cannot return to their jobs or businesses after suffering dog bite injuries
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
Factors that affect the compensation dog bite victims might receive include:
Severity and Nature of Dog Bite Injuries
Severe injuries typically lead to most compensation for dog bite victims. Additionally, some injuries commonly add to the value of the claim, especially if they are permanent injuries or are located in a highly visible area of the body.
For example, many young children suffer dog bite injuries on their faces because they stand at close to the same level as a dog. A facial injury can leave permanent scars that traumatize and humiliate children and adults alike. Non-facial injuries that cause permanent damage—like a dog biting off someone’s finger—also often result in more compensation for a victim.
Ability to Work
Dog bite injuries that prevent someone from working typically lead to high-value claims. Although several types of injuries can prevent someone from returning to their job or seeking future employment, the loss of a leg, finger, hand, or arm is most often associated with permanent disabilities related to a dog attack. Dog bite victims who cannot work typically receive compensation for lost future earnings, drastically increasing the value of their claim.
Total Economic Loss
The total amount of economic loss a dog bite victim incurs directly correlates to the value of their claim and the compensation they could receive in a settlement or judgment in their favor. Your total economic loss also correlates with the severity of an injury. Dog bite victims with the most serious injuries have the highest medical treatment costs and miss the most amount of work, increasing the value of their claims.
The New Smyrna Beach dog bite lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can review the facts of your claim, gather relevant evidence, advise you on the damages that apply to your situation, and determine the amount of compensation you should sue the dog owner for. We advocate for our clients to receive the maximum compensation commensurate with their dog bite injuries.
Statute of Limitations in New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Claims
Take action as soon as possible after a dog bite to preserve evidence and preserve the value of your claim. In most cases, you will first file file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance policy. This is often a homeowners’ insurance policy, but sometimes you’ll file your claim against a commercial property insurance policy.
Florida’s statute of limitations to bring a personal injury lawsuit is four years. This gives you four years from your dog bite injuries to file a personal injury suit.
Insurance claims and lawsuits take months, sometimes longer. The more time that goes by after a dog attack, the more difficult it is to secure witness testimony and gather other evidence that supports your claim. Poor quality evidence can reduce the value of a claim and make it difficult to recover damages after suffering injuries in a dog attack.
Florida courts sometimes pause the statute of limitations, but these cases are rare. For example, if the dog owner leaves Florida so you cannot serve them documents, your lawyer might request the court take action. Your lawyer can review the facts of your claim and advise you on the best course of action for your circumstances.
New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite FAQs
If you or your child suffered dog bite injuries, you might not be clear about your next steps. Let the skilled New Smyrna Beach dog bite lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, handle the details of your claim while you focus on healing from your injuries.
Until you have the opportunity to meet with one of our attorneys, the answers to the following frequently asked questions about New Smyrna dog bite claims provide some introductory information.
Do I Have to Report My Dog Bite Injuries to the Police?
Florida law does not require you to report a dog attack to the police, but it is in your best interest to contact Volusia County Animal Services. The agency will investigate the incident to determine if it should enter it in the dangerous dog database.
If you called 911 when the dog attack occurred, it’s likely the police filed a report at that time. If you went to the emergency room on your own, you should call the police and report the incident as soon as possible, even if a week or two has gone by. This action will start an investigation and serve as formal documentation of the incident that can be used for an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner responsible for your injuries.
Will the Court Force the Negligent Dog Owner to Put Their Dog Down?
Animal Services can confiscate and quarantine a dog that has harmed someone. In some cases, they might hold the dog until they have determined if it is dangerous. However, even when Animal Services decide a dog is dangerous after an investigation, it does not automatically mean the owner must euthanize their dog.
Depending on the situation and the injury, Animal Services might recommend the dog be destroyed. This course of action typically only occurs with severe injuries and in situations where Animal Services determines the dog poses a future threat to the community.
Also, euthanasia almost always occurs if a dog bite kills someone. A formal hearing will determine the outcome. Under Florida law, dog owners have the right to appeal the decision.
Can I Afford a New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Lawyer?
Yes. Regardless of your financial situation, you have the right to seek justice after suffering a dog attack. You do not have to pay upfront or out-of-pocket for a personal injury lawyer like you would for a tax attorney or divorce lawyer.
Instead, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, takes new cases on a contingent fee basis. We deduct attorney fees and other legal costs from any compensation we secure for you from a settlement or court-awarded damages.
Can I Still File a Claim if the Dog Owner Is Uninsured?
Yes, and an experienced lawyer is even more important in this situation. Dog bite claims can be complex because more than one type of insurance could cover damages.
In most cases, dog bites fall under homeowner’s insurance. However, dog bites might fall under some type of business or commercial insurance, and they might fall under renters’ insurance.
If the owner has no insurance, you can still sue them for damages related to your injuries. Your lawyer will review your claim and determine the best options for recovering damages based on the dog owner’s insurance coverage.
Will I Have to Go to Court for My New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Every case is different, so it’s difficult to say either way. From a financial standpoint, everyone wants to avoid expensive litigation and reach a settlement agreement before trial. However, settlement negotiations don’t always go well.
Sometimes the other side vehemently disputes liability or refuses to pay a fair amount for damages. These cases typically go to trial, often requiring plaintiffs to testify in court. You may not have to go to court for your New Smyrna Beach dog bite claim, but you should be prepared for the possibility.
Contact a New Smyrna Beach Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or your child has suffered a dog bite injury, a skilled New Smyrna Beach dog bite lawyer can fight for you to receive compensation for your injuries and related losses.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has a long history of helping dog bite victims, and we are here to help you. Contact us today online or call 833-552-7274 to discuss the dog attack that led to your injuries and the best path forward to recover compensation.