Dog Bite Attorney in Juno BeachDog owners have a duty and responsibility to keep others reasonably safe around their pet. When they fail to do so, accidents and attacks can occur.

If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, or other pet resulting in serious, life-altering injuries, The Ledezma Law Firm can help you fight for your rights. Many people have dogs such as pit bulls, rottweilers and German shepherds which if not properly trained can be very dangerous. We strive to hold dog owners and responsible parties accountable when their negligence causes you harm.

Our Juno Beach dog bite attorneys are committed to fighting to get you the full and fair compensation that is owed.

Dog Bite Laws in Florida

The state of Florida recognizes strict liability regarding dog bite cases. Under strict liability, a dog owner may be held liable for injuries sustained in a dog bite incident whether or not the owner had prior knowledge of or reason to believe that his or her dog might bite another person. In other words, a dog owner is almost always responsible for any injuries his or her dog causes to someone else. Unlike the “one bite” rule, the dog does not have to have a history of attacking or biting in order for the owner to be held responsible under strict liability regulations.

Exceptions to this Strict Liability Rule

  • Victim of the dog bite was trespassing on private property
  • Victim of the dog bite provoked the dog in any way

However, if you were attacked or bitten by a dog while legally in a public or private space and were not provoking the dog in any way (such as poking, hitting, or slapping the dog), you are most likely entitled to recover damages for your injuries and associated costs.

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How Dog Bite Claims Work

If you are unfortunately bitten by a pet, it is very important that you seek medical attention immediately. Even if you believe your injuries are relatively minor, it’s prudent to have them looked at by a trained medical professional. In some cases, injuries may not even appear until hours or days later, which is why it’s a good idea to have a doctor perform an examination after the incident. Also, documenting your visits to a medical facility will corroborate your pain complaints which can also prove beneficial to the outcome of your case.

It is also highly important that you report the dog bite to the local authorities. Failing to do so can adversely affect your case. To report the incident, you can contact the police or the local county animal control. You may report the dog bite from the medical facility where you are receiving treatment which is probably the easiest and best way to do so.

There are an estimated 80 million dogs owned as pets in this country. Of those, about 6 percent are involved in some type of biting incident every year. That works out too many millions of dollars’ worth of hospital bills, lost productivity and wages and other expenses.

Homeowner Insurance for Dog Bites

Depending on where the bite occurred, the dog owner’s homeowner insurance or renters’ insurance may provide coverage. Many policies outright exclude dogs (or have a “one-bite” exclusions or breed-specific exclusions) or lack adequate limits for the victim. It is recommended that dog owners secure umbrella coverage, excess coverage, or some type of canine liability policy to in order to avoid personal liability. 

Dog owners who fail to obtain adequate insurance coverage are at risk of filing for bankruptcy and loss of their home and other assets if their canine bites and seriously injures someone.

Dog Bite Statistics

According to a study from the Center For Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and 800,000 of those bites result in the need for medical care. The U.S. population is approximately 331 million people as of 2020. That means a dog bites 1 out of every 73 people.

The Nationwide figures are as follows:

2020 analysis and 16-year period summary:

  • 46 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2020. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 72% (33) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6.2% of the total U.S. dog population.2
  • During the 16-year period of 2005 to 2020, canines killed 568 Americans. Two dog breeds, pit bulls (380) and rottweilers (51), contributed to 76% (431) of these deaths. 37 different dog breeds were involved in the remaining fatal dog maulings.
  • In 2020, the combination of pit bulls (33), additional bull breeds (4) and mastiff-type guard dogs and war dogs (3) — the types used to create “baiting” bull breeds and fighting breeds — accounted for 87% (40) of all dog bite-related deaths.3
  • Breed data was fully or partially unreleased in 6 deaths. American bulldogs, German shepherds, mastiffs and mixed-breeds followed, each involved in 2 deaths. When breed was known, only 3 deaths did not involve bull breed or mastiff-type dogs.4
  • Five different dog breeds were involved in 1 death, including: American bully-mix (Shorty bull), Belgian malinois, bull terrier, cane corso and Labrador retriever. Overall, at least 10 different dog breeds contributed to 46 human deaths in 2020.

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Victim age groups and gender

  • Data from 2020 shows that 33% (15) of dog bite fatality victims were children ages 9-years and younger, 7% (3) were ages 10 to 18-years, an infrequent age group for dog bite fatality victims, and 61% (28) were adults, ages 19-years and older.
  • Of the 15 children killed by dogs, 87% (13) were ages 0-2 years and males were overrepresented, 60% (9). Infants (<1 year) accounted for over half of these victims, 53% (8 of 15), and consistently suffer the highest age-specific fatality rate.
  • Of the 28 adults killed by dogs, 11% (3) were 19-29 years, 11% (3) were 30-49 years, 46% (13) were 50-69 years and 32% (9) were 70+ years. Pit bulls inflicted 79% (22 of 28) of these adult deaths, and 57% (16 of 28) were female victims.
  • In 2020, there were 3 victims in the 19-29 age group, also a rare age group in mauling deaths. All 3 victims were male (ages 25, 26 and 27) and killed by pit bulls. Of all male victims (≥ 25 years) killed by dogs, 92% (11 of 12) were killed by pit bulls.
  • Pit bulls inflicted deaths in nearly all age groups in 2020: 0-2 years (9), 5-9 years (2), 19-29 years (3), 30-49 years (2), 50-69 years (9) and 70+ years (8). Whereas, all other dog breeds combined primarily killed infants and adults ≥ 50 years old.

Dogs and property statistics

  • 43% (20) of fatal dog attacks involved multiple dogs in 2020, below the 15-year average of 47% (2005 to 2019). 60% (12) of multi-dog attacks involved 2 or 3 dogs, 40% (8) involved 4 or more dogs and 70% (14 of 20) involved 2 or more pit bulls.
  • In 2020, 24% (11) of fatal dog maulings occurred off the dog owner’s property, close to the 15-year average of 26%. Pit bulls were involved in 73% (8 of 11) of off-property attacks and 82% (9) of off-property attacks involved multiple dogs.
  • Only 22% (10) of cases in 2020 reported reproductive status information. 40% (4) involved sterilized dogs. Pit bulls accounted for 75% (3) of the sterilized dogs that killed a person, and 67% (4 of 6) of the unsterilized dogs that killed a person.
  • Of the 26 deaths where a single dog inflicted a fatal attack, the sex of dog was known in 65% (17) of cases. Male dogs were responsible for 82% (14) of these deaths. Female pit bulls inflicted the other 3 deaths; 1 of those pit bulls was spayed.
  • Data from 2020 showed that 20% (9) of dog bite fatalities involved dogs with a history of human aggression; 13% (6) had a history of animal aggression; and 1 dog had previously bitten or severely attacked the victim prior to killing the victim.

Household and time factors

  • Family dogs inflicted 59% (27) of all deadly attacks, up from the 15-year average of 54%. Pit bulls carried out 67% (18) of these attacks. Of the 33 total deaths inflicted by pit bulls, 55% (18) involved killing a family member vs. 45% (15) non-family.
  • 11% (5) of canine inflicted deaths involved a family dog killing its owner. Males, ages 25 to 70, comprised 60% (3) of these victims. Pit bulls inflicted 40% (2) of the owner-directed fatal attacks; 2 mastiffs and 1 bull breed inflicted the other deaths.
  • In 2020, 17% (8) of attacks resulting in human death involved the dog or victim new to a household (0-2 month period). Newborns (< 2 months) made up 50% (4) of these victims and 3 cases involved a rescued or rehomed pit bull killing an adult.
  • 15% (7) of dog bite fatalities involved a babysitter or relative watching a child or the dog being “watched” by a person other than its owner when the dog fatally attacked. When breed was known (6 of 7), pit bulls accounted for 100% (6) of these deaths.
  • In 2020, 22% (10) of victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog’s owner when the fatal attack occurred, below the 15-year average of 27%. When breed was known (9 of 10), pit bulls accounted for 89% (8) of these deaths.

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Criminal charges and states

  • 15% (7) of fatal dog attacks resulted in meaningful criminal charges in 2020, below the 15-year average of 20%. In 2 states, Kentucky and Oklahoma, prosecutors filed the rarest of all criminal charges — using the dog as a dangerous weapon.5
  • In 2020, 54% (25) of dog bite fatalities occurred in states with a preemption lawbarring breed-specific laws; pit bulls carried out 80% (20) of these attacks. 54% (25) of fatalities occurred in the Southern United States; pit bulls accounted for 76% (19).
  • Illinois led all states in lethal dog attacks with 6 deaths. Pit bulls were responsible for 83% (5) of these deaths; 1 bull breed inflicted the other death. Florida followed with 5 deaths. California, Georgia and Louisiana followed, each with 3 deaths.
  • In 2020, Will County, Illinois alone sustained 3 dog bite fatalities. Also, three infrequent dog bite fatality states incurred 1 death each: Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington. None of these 6 fatal dog attacks resulted in criminal charges.
  • In 2020, an underreporting of fatal dog bites was observed in California and Texas. From 2015 to 2019, the two states combined averaged 8.8 dog bite fatalities per year. This fell to 5 deaths in 2020; of those deaths, 2 were uncovered by FOIAs.

What happens When Dog Owners Don’t Have Insurance?

When dog owners do not have any type of insurance that may cover the victim’s injuries, recovery of damages gets difficult. Many times, the attorneys at the Ledezma Law Firm will have to sue the owners personally but most people are not liquid or have a lot of assets. Dog bite injuries can lead to serious injuries which in turn leads to excessive medical bills. We understand the stress and anxiety a victim may experience. The attorneys at the Ledezma Law Firm will be with you every step of the way. 

For Dog Owners Without Insurance Some Possible Options for Victims Include

You can sue a dog owner for recovery of damages by going after their assets. If the dog owner owns a home or other property, these assets could be seized and sold to cover the damage award to the victim. You can sue a landlord if the dog owner was a renter who lacked adequate insurance. In some cases, landlords can be liable for dog bite injuries that occur on their property if they were in some way negligent or had some degree of control over the animal. Suing someone other than the owner who may be legally liable is an option which may include a friend or ex who co-owns the dog or a rescue group that issued a faulty contract that stipulates they are still actually the legal owner.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an animal bite accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. The Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach and Jupiter personal injury attorneys of The Ledezma Law Firm handle litigation across the State of Florida. Learn more about victims’ rights and to discuss the possibility of filing a dog bite accident lawsuit by contacting the dog bite accident lawyers at the Ledezma Law Firm today at (561) 454-9727.

REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

We’ll provide a free investigation into the details of your case and the options you may have available.

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