Pets may be fluffy and cute, your best pals, or your source of protection. Despite an animal's warming and loveable nature, it is still fully capable of attacking. When you experience an animal bite, attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, Gainesville’s most trustworthy personal injury firm, are proud to serve you.
Animal Bite Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
Most animal bites are caused by domestic pets such as dogs, ferrets, cats, monkeys and snakes. These domesticated animals are prone to attack when they are around people they are not familiar with, people they perceive may be a threat to safety to their owner, or people who behave in such a way that provokes unwanted attacks.
Dog Bites: The Most Common Animal Attack
Dogs are the most common type of pets so it is no surprise that their attacks are the most common. In fact, studies show that at least 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Dog bites can be particularly dangerous because dogs often carry harmful bacteria and diseases such as rabies. If not treated in time, a dog bite can become infected causing severe reactions. One may experience unusual tingling, burning sensations, pain and fatigue. The disease spreads rapidly and only worsens. Spinal and brain inflammation and death are often the end result, if left untreated.
A personal injury attorney in Gainesville, FL, can ensure that you receive proper compensation if you experience a severe infection from a dog bite.
What Do I Do After an Animal Attack?
If you are attacked or bitten by an animal in Gainesville, there are crucial steps that you should take to preserve your safety and general well-being.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Animal bites can cause severe damage to your body. If left unattended, animal bites can become infected and spread rapidly to crucial internal organs and cripple systems in your body. A medical professional can examine you thoroughly and determine if you are infected. You will be given an accurate diagnostic and treatment plan so that you can heal properly. If your goal is to seek compensation and other benefits after an animal bite and/or attack, a medical physician can provide professional proof that you have been injured. He/she will be able to sign any and all necessary documents for you to prove your claim.
- Contact witnesses. If there are any witnesses or bystanders during your dog or animal attack, you should consult them. If you decide to file a claim or suit, they will provide extra testimonial support which can have a major factor on your claim’s success. Witnesses can attest to your injury.
- Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. Lastly, you should consult a lawyer to understand your rights and responsibilities. They can help you understand Florida’s laws on animal attacks and decide to represent you. Animal laws can be tedious and complicated. With the assistance of a lawyer, you are more likely to receive compensation and other benefits.
Florida Laws on Animal/Dog Bites
In the state of Florida, there are specific laws regarding dog and other animal bites. In most cases, the owner of an animal is responsible for an attack on a victim. If the pet owner is unaware of the attack or unaware that the pet is dangerous, he/she is still considered liable. However, there are two exceptions that may prevent a pet owner from being responsible for an animal attack.
- The animal is provoked. There are cases in which animals attack because they feel threatened. If a victim harrasses a dog or purposely acts in a way that diminishes the value of the dog or suggests harm (even if it is playful), the victim’s actions can be perceived as negligent in a court of law. While the victim may be able to collect benefits, his/her benefits will be reduced according to the extent and/or severity of his/her provocation. For example, if the victim is 10 percent responsible for his/her own attack, 10 percent of his/her compensation award may likely be reduced.
- Animal warning signs are clearly visible. If a victim of a dog attack is at least 6 years old, he/she may not receive compensation or be able to file suits if the owner has a legible sign on his/her property. Signs such as “Beware of Bad Dog” alerts neighbors and others that a dog may be dangerous. This may influence people to avoid the area or find different routes. If a pet owner has a clear, bold and bright sign at a place that can be easily seen and understood, he/she may not be liable for the attack.
Animal Attack Lawyers in Gainesville, FL
Florida laws on animal bites can be highly technical and confusing. To protect yourself, you should rely on experienced personal injury attorneys.
At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, we provide authentic representation to people who have been harmed due to negligent or otherwise unlawful behavior. Pet owners have an obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure that their animals are caged and/or tied away properly to prevent harm to the public.
Whether you are an innocent child playing sports, a mailman delivering mail to offices and residences, or a friendly neighbor, you are entitled to specific rights and benefits after an animal attack. We will go above and beyond to protect you during this significant time in your life. Contact us for a free initial consultation today.