HomeDog Bite/attack Attorney Palm Beach Gardens

Dog Bite/attack Attorney Palm Beach Gardens

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually. At least half of the victims are children, and 800,000 victims require medical attention. Certain breeds are more aggressive, such as pit bulls, rottweilers, and German shepherds. Pit bulls alone are responsible for over 20% of all dog bites. Pit bulls and rottweilers combined are responsible for 77% of all dog bites. The size and strength of these dogs make these attacks potentially lethal. However, even smaller dogs can be aggressive. Chihuahuas and even cocker spaniels have been known to attack and bite, while 70% of dog bites are from unneutered males.

If you or a loved one has been injured from a dog bite or attack, you should consult with a dog bite/attack attorney as soon as possible to preserve all of your options. A dog bite can be disfiguring and traumatizing. Don’t try to negotiate with an insurance company without the guidance of an experienced dog bite attorney. Insurance companies want to minimize their liability and often make low-ball offers to victims before they have had a chance to consult with an attorney. You don’t want to be cheated out of what you deserve in fair compensation.

Why Choose Blake Swan as Your Dog Bite/Attack Attorney

The reputation of a personal injury attorney matters, especially in the early stages of a claim for dog bite/attack injuries. Blake Swan has the credentials that impress insurance companies and defense attorneys. They know that claims filed by the Swan Law Firm are legitimate causes of action. We get results for our clients.

The Swan Law Firm is a top-ranked attorney among the National Trial attorneys Top 40, recovering over $90 million on behalf of clients from around the country.

The Swan Law Firm will fight till you get paid!

A successful personal injury attorney has a combination of skills:

  • Up-to-date knowledge of Florida dog bite/attack law and civil procedure
  • Compassion and dedication to our clients
  • Trial experience that backs up aggressive negotiating strategies
  • A reputation among insurance companies and defense counsel
  • Professional, strategic, and effective

This professional attitude means that we will aggressively, and ethically, advocate for our clients so that we can recover the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Dog Bite/Attack Cases

There are several theories of liability holding the owner of a pet responsible for a dog bite in Florida.

Statutory Strict Liability: Florida holds animal owners liable for bites and consequential injuries without the need to prove that the dog was dangerous. Sec. 767.04 of the Florida Code creates a statutory strict liability standard. However, if the injured party’s behavior was in part responsible for the incident, then recovery can be reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to the plaintiff. The injured person must have been lawfully on the property of another; trespassers are not entitled to sue. Unless the victim was under the age of 6, a warning sign alerting people to the presence of a dangerous dog will also preclude a suit for damages. A dog bite inflicted by a military or police dog in the performance of its duty is also not actionable.

Negligence: Another theory of liability is negligence. To prove negligence, one must show that there was a duty of care owed to the victim, that the duty was breached, that the breach of duty caused the injuries, and that there were actual damages. The duty of care requires an examination of the circumstances to see if the pet owner acted prudently in how the dog was retrained.

Negligence Per Se: Negligence can be proved by showing that the dog owner violated Florida statutes, and that the failure to comply the existing law was the cause of the incident. For example, not keeping a dog on a leash in public or letting a dog roam without human supervision are the types of law violations that can support a claim of negligence per se. In these cases, the duty and its breach are established by the law violation. However, the victim must still prove that the breach was the proximate cause of all injuries.

Intentional Torts: Lastly, a dog owner might order a dog to attack. Such a command would need to be proved in order to substantiate a claim of intentionality. Intentional torts can lead to greater damage recovery than negligence and might entail punitive damages.

Recovery for damages resulting from a dog bite or attack can be reduced under some circumstances:

  • Comparative negligence: how much the victim contributed to the injuries can be calculated and any recovery reduced by the percentage of blame
  • Lack of supervision: if the victim is a child, the parent’s failure to supervise the child can be taken into account when calculating damages
  • Adequate warning: proper signage warning of a dangerous animal can prevent liability unless the victim is under the age of six

No matter the theory, a lawsuit must be filed within four years of the date of the attack in order to preserve your right to recovery. This statute of limitations is intended to prevent stale claims. However, you should not wait if you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog. In addition to helping preserve and gather evidence, an early consultation with an experienced dog bite/attack attorney can help you to seek the appropriate medical and psychological help to develop the documentation needed to prove your case.

Common Injuries from Dog Bites/Attacks

Injuries from a dog bite or attack can be physical, requiring immediate medical attention, and psychological, lingering far into the future. Even if the skin is not broken, a dog bite can lead to serious physical conditions:

  • Infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Lacerations
  • Tetanus
  • Facial injuries
  • Scarring
  • Cellulitis
  • Disfigurement
  • Amputations
  • Rabies
  • Throat injuries

To secure a settlement or judgment of liability, any and all physical injuries must be documented and medical attention sought.

Dog attacks can also lead to lingering and pervasive psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder and a persistent fear of dogs can have truly debilitating effects on a person’s quality of life moving forward. These lingering injuries must also be documented to support a damage claim.

What to Do After a Dog Bite/Attack

In the event of a dog bite or attack, it is essential to act immediately.

  • Seek timely medical care: Infections are quite common and can often be prevented by immediate medical attention. Because tetanus and rabies are possible, seeing a doctor immediately can save your life. Be sure to keep records of all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and treatments to fully document any claim for damages.
  • Get the names and contact information for any witnesses: As the plaintiff in any action for damages, you will need to prove the elements of your claim. Witnesses to the dog attack need to be identified and their testimony secured close to the events in order to preserve memories and timelines.
  • Take pictures: Document the physical space, the dog, bodily injuries, any signage or lack of it, fencing or gates.
  • Look around to see if there are any security cameras: many commercial buildings and even private residences have security cameras that might have caught the incident on tape. You will want to make sure that the footage is preserved.
  • Find out who owns the dog: the owner of the dog is the one responsible, so you want to identify the owner as soon as possible.
  • Locate any other responsible parties: a homeowner who has invited a guest with the offending dog onto the property might also be responsible for your damages.
  • Call the Swan Law Firm for a free consultation: Securing the services of an experienced dog bite/attack attorney can ease you through the complexities of a legal action and the trauma of recovery.

How Blake Swan Can Help You

Every potential client who approaches the Swan Law Firm for a free consultation will be interviewed to determine the viability of your claim. This process involves reviewing the evidence, medical records, and perhaps conducting a brief investigation to locate the responsible parties and their financial assets, including insurance policies, and any prior claims involving a dangerous dog.

Once a case is taken, and a retainer agreement drafted and signed, the Swan Law Firm will contact the insurance carriers, if any, to feel out whether negotiation or litigation is the best course of action for you. If the insurance carrier has undervalued the damage, and not offered an appropriate pre-filing settlement, then the Swan Law Firm will file suit on your behalf. Our goal is to maximize your recovery in the shortest period of time. However, not all cases can be settled without a trial. Especially complicated or serious dog bite/attack cases involving multiple defendants require a trial before a jury. And Blake Swan and his team has the experience and fight you want in a trial attorney.

We Fight Until You Get Paid

At the Swan Law Firm, we will guide you through the legal process and aggressively pursue your claim, maintaining integrity and offering you compassion and understanding during this difficult time. We are committed to providing our clients with legal representation based on their needs and our professionalism. Your case will begin with a Free Consultation.

We are standing by ready to assist you 24/7. Call us now at Swan Law Firm 561-291-7492 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your free consultation.

Our Florida office is located at:

11410 Jog Road, Suite 100
Palm Beach Gardens, FL, 33410

Our telephone number is: 561-291-7492

Or email Blake Swan at: bswan@swanlawfirm.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my legal rights as a victim of a dog bite/attack in Palm Beach Gardens? Florida has enacted a statute that allows dog bite victims to sue for damages without having to prove that the dog had a history of viciousness or aggressive behaviors. A first dog bite is actionable. There are several theories of liability ranging from strict liability to negligence per se and intentionality. You have the right to sue within four years of the incident.

How can I prove the dog owner’s liability in a dog bite/attack case? To prove a claim against a dog owner for injuries resulting from a bite or attack, you must prove several essential elements: that the person owned or should have had control over the dog that attacked you; that the dog bit or attacked you while on private property where you were invited to be or in a public space; you were harmed; and that you can document your injuries and their resulting cost to you.

What types of compensation can I seek for injuries sustained in a dog bite/attack? A successful claim can include all of your medical bills, rehabilitative services, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages might be available if the dog had bitten before and the owner knew of these aggressive behaviors. You might also be entitled to damages for any post-traumatic stress disorder or lingering fear of dogs.

How long do I have to file a dog bite/attack claim in Palm Beach Gardens? The statute of limitations for a dog bite or attack in Florida is four years. However, you should not wait. Consult an experienced dog bite/attack attorney as soon as possible to preserve all of your options.

Does Florida’s “dangerous dog” statute affect my dog bite/attack case? A dog that has previously attacked, endangered, or inflicted injury on a person (or another animal) can be declared dangerous. Once classified as dangerous, the owner has 14 days to register that dog. Now the owner is under a statutory duty to control the dog. To do so, the owner must:

  • Keep the dog in a proper and secure enclosure
  • Notify animal control when the dog bites another person or animal
  • Notify animal control when the dog is loose or unconfined
  • Register the dog annually
  • Keep the dog restrained, muzzled, and controlled

Any lapse in statutory compliance by the dog owner might lead to a strict liability or negligence per se claim with the potential for collecting punitive damages.

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“With little to no knowledge on how to pursue the lady that hit me, I was educated quickly on the process of taking action. My own insurance company couldn’t even point me in the right direction. It didn’t help that this lady denied fault in the police report. However, because Blake and his team cared so much and believed in my case they were able to prove this lady was driving recklessly when she hit me. Despite the police officer taking a vague report of the actions that occurred that day, due to photos and where I was hit (passenger side doors) we were able to prove she was 100% at fault.

I can’t say this enough. Thank you so much Blake for treating me like family.”

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