Many people, if not most, love dogs. If you’ve ever seen an adorable dog on a walk in the neighborhood or while visiting the local park, chances are you’ve tried to pet them once or twice. However, what happens when that encounter goes awry and the dog bites you? What if you’re minding your own business on your afternoon run and your neighbor’s dog happens to bite you? Can you sue someone if their dog bites you?
About 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. You will likely have many questions if this were to happen, and we’re here to answer them all. Read on for your guide to dog bite lawsuits.
Homeowners Insurance and Dog Bites
In regards to homeowner insurance policies, dog bites are their most common liability claim, considering they make up over a third of all claims. If you own a homeowners insurance policy, there is a high probability that you have dog bite protection under your liability provisions. So, how much will homeowners insurance pay for a dog bite? In 2013, insurance carriers paid nearly half a million dollars – $483 million – total in dog bite claims.
How much is a dog bite lawsuit worth, anyway? According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost per dog bite claim was $27,862 in 2013. This went up by 15 percent in 2014, to $32,072.
Dangerous Dog Breeds
According to Dogsbite.com, the two most dangerous breeds of dogs are pit bull terriers and rottweilers. However, molosser dog breeds are among the most aggressive as well. They make up nine percent of the United State’s total dog population, but unfortunately cause most dog bite injuries. These dangerous dog breeds, and their mixes, are the following:
- Pit bulls
- Presa Canarios
- Dogo Argentinos
- Cane Corsos
- Shar Peis
- Fila Brasileiros (Brazilian Mastiffs)
As mentioned above, the two most aggressive dog breeds are the pit bull and rottweiler. From 2005 to 2013, they made up 74 percent of dog bite fatalities. After a dog bite, many people – especially children – experience dog bite PTSD.
Can I Sue Someone if Their Dog Bites Me?
Before attempting to sue someone if their dog bites you, you have to make sure that you are liable. Can you sue for a minor dog bite, though? The answer is yes. However, the dog bite statute in Florida, FLSA 767.04, only covers injuries caused by dog bite fatalities. It states that a dog owner is liable for injuries if:
- The dog bites another person
- The victim is in a public place or legally in a private place
You may be wondering how long after a dog bite can you sue. Florida’s statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits, which are under as personal injuries, is within four years of being bitten. So, if you’re suing after a dog bite, make sure you file your case before the four-year deadline.
On top of this, Florida is a “strict liability” dog bite state. This makes dog owners completely liable for injuries their dogs caused (especially bites), despite the owner not being involved or even doing anything wrong.
Now that you’ve been briefed on dog bite lawsuits, make sure that you take the proper steps if you’ve been bitten. You can trust The Berman Law Group to help you get the representation you deserve. Call us today at (800) 375-5555 for a free case review.