Pets are an essential part of many families across the country. However, when pet owners are negligent and do not take the proper precautions regarding their animals, it can lead to devastating consequences on the part of the victims. Dog attacks may be more common than you believe them to be. Every year, it is estimated that over 4 million people in the U.S. are attacked by dogs. Approximately 850,000 people were injured severely enough to have to receive medical treatment and 350,000 had to visit the emergency room.
Some of these attacks are so serious that the victim succumbs to their injuries and dies. Last year, there were 31 reported deaths due to dog attacks. Over 75% of these deaths were caused by pit bulls even though they only make up 5% of the dog population in the country. Some of these instances involved gangs of dogs attacking a victim and in other cases the dogs actually turned on their owners. What makes fatal dog attacks so tragic is that the overwhelming majority of these victims are elderly, infants or toddlers.
A Coral Gables injury lawyer at Mesa Law Firm can help you after an injury of this nature, so don't hesitate to contact us today.
In some cases of a dog bite, negligence can be used as grounds for liability in Florida. Defined as a lack of ordinary care, negligence refers to the absence of the level of attention that would be considered as reasonably sensible and cautious. By this tenet of the law, dog owners who do not exercise the proper level of care and prudence when attending to their pet can then be held negligent for the bite or attack that results. As it pertains to dog ownership and negligence, an example in which this type of claim could be made would be a day care center that intentionally allowed a stray dog into the facility.
Negligence per se is another type of doctrine that can be used on behalf of a victim who wishes to seek compensation for his or her injuries from a dog bite. Assuming that the attack occurred only because the animal's owner violated a statute or regulation that has been established for the purpose of keeping the public safe, negligence per se can be applied. For example, a dog owner who neglects to follow the local ordinance for leash use could be held responsible for any attack or injury that results. The same is true of owners who allow their pets onto a premises that specifically prohibits dogs from trespassing.
Scienter is the classic doctrine by which most claims of liability in a dog bite or animal attack are made. Latin for "knowingly," the theory behind scienter reflects common law strict liability claims, as well as the one bite rule. This doctrine allows the victim of a dog bite or animal attack to seek compensation from the owner of the pet. Victims may also be able to seek compensation from the harborer or keeper of the dog.
To successfully apply the scienter method of legal approach, you must be able to prove that the canine previously bit a person, or at least acted as if it wanted to bite another person, AND that the dog's owner was aware of the animal's prior behavior. Both of these conditions must exist in order to make a claim of this nature. Without both of these components, the argument will be considered as invalid.
The state of Florida, in particular, allows for scienter as a grounds for liability even on persons who are not the actual owner of the animal. Therefore, we encourage you to speak with a member of our legal team if you have been injured by an animal and now wish to take legal action. We can review your case and determine the best course of action.
If you were the victim of an animal attack or lost a loved one from dog-bite related injuries, please allow our team to fight for your rights. Our founding attorney, Joseph A. "Tony" Mesa, III, recognized as a Rising Star℠ by Super Lawyers®, Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite™ and Martindale-Hubbell, as well as a "Superb" (10 out of 10) rating by Avvo® and with 15 years of experience and a focus on personal injury practice, dedicates himself to handling cases involving catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death.
When you are looking for a lawyer for your dog bite case in Coral Gables, you should not hesitate to contact our firm. Whether you need compensation for mental anguish or the medical treatments that were required to get you back to full health, you can rely on our team to stand up for your rights. For a free consultation, contact our firm today!