If you or your child were bitten by a dog in Port St. Lucie, FL, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the dog owner. Dog bite injuries can be serious. An experienced Port St. Lucie dog bite lawyer at Kibbey Wagner, PLLC can help you fight to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and your family’s pain and suffering.
Collectively, our lawyers have over 40 years of experience fighting for injured clients like you. Since we founded our law firm in 2014, we’ve recovered over $60 million for our clients.
How Kibbey Wagner, PLLC Can Help With a Dog Bite Claim in Port St. Lucie, FL
Our lawyers at Kibbey Wagner, PLLC know how traumatizing a dog bite can be. While you may be entitled to compensation, merely filing an insurance claim probably won’t be enough to recover the full compensation you deserve. Florida dog bite laws can be complex–and insurance companies know how to fight back.
An experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyer can handle the insurance battle while you recover. One of our founding attorneys is a board-certified civil trial lawyer. He’s also a former insurance defense lawyer who knows how to cut through the red tape and get the insurance company to take you seriously.
When you hire us, our lawyers will:
- Investigate and identify all parties who are legally responsible for your injuries
- Calculate the fair value of your personal injury claim
- Protect you when the dog’s owner claims you provoked the animal
- Retain leading experts and specialists when helpful
- File a claim and negotiate with the insurance company
Over the years, our Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys have been recognized for our superior legal representation by Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, and the National Trial Lawyers “top 100.”
Contact us today to learn more about how we can maximize your case value.
How Common Are Dog Bites in Port St. Lucie?
Across the U.S., more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. According to the CDC, about 800,000 of those dog bite injuries are serious enough to require medical attention.
According to a study by the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is the state with the second-highest number of dog bite-related insurance claims. In 2020, 1,478 dog bite victims submitted insurance claims. The average insurance payout in Florida was $54,820 in 2020.
The Florida Department of Health has found that over 600 Floridians are hospitalized with dog bite injuries each year. Unfortunately, children between the ages of one and nine are most likely to be bitten by dogs.
How Much is My Port St. Lucie Dog Bite Case Worth?
Many different issues are relevant in evaluating your case value. While every personal injury claim is different, similar factors are important in each case.
When we’re assessing your case value, our lawyers will consider:
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- Your prognosis and your need for future medical care or rehabilitation
- The cost of your current medical treatment
- Whether you will suffer any permanent disfigurement or impairment
- Your physical pain and emotional suffering
- Whether you miss work and lose wages during recovery
- The general circumstances of the animal attack
The victim’s identity can also be important when determining how much your personal injury case is worth. Young children are often highly traumatized by a dog bite.
Our lawyers will work with respected experts when assessing your case value. We’ll take into account the unique circumstances of your injury and how it impacts your life. To learn more about how we can help, call our law firm in Port St. Lucie for a free initial consultation today.
What Types of Damages Are Available To Dog Bite Victims in Port St. Lucie, Florida?
Florida personal injury laws classify damages as economic damages or non-economic damages.
Examples of your economic damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Counseling and therapy
You may also be able to seek compensation for your non-financial losses, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Chronic pain
- Diminished quality of life
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of consortium
You might be entitled to punitive damages if the dog owner’s behavior was especially shocking. For example, if the owner trained the dog to attack, courts may be willing to award punitive damages to punish the owner for egregious behavior.
Can I Recover Compensation If I’m Blamed for a Dog Bite in Florida?
Shared fault is often an issue in dog bite cases. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault laws, a victim’s compensation can be reduced to the extent they share blame for their own injuries. These shared fault laws are also built into the Florida dog bite laws.
If the dog owner can prove that you provoked the animal, your compensation can be reduced to account for your share of fault.
It can be difficult to prove that you provoked an animal to attack. If you’re being blamed, it’s important to remember that the responsible party may not have evidence to back up their claims.
Our Attorneys Will Fight To Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
The Florida Department of Health has found that young children are the most likely to suffer head and neck injuries when a dog bites. However, victims can suffer a range of injuries.
At Kibbey Wagner, PLLC, we often represent victims who have suffered:
- Avulsion wounds
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Spinal cord damage
- Infections and amputations
- Crushing injuries
Dog bites can also be fatal. Our lawyers will help you fight to recover damages for wrongful death if you lost a loved one in a fatal animal attack.
Am I Required To Prove Negligence To Recover Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Florida?
Every state follows different dog bite laws. Some states have a “one bite rule.” In these states, the owner can only be held liable for damages if the dog has bitten someone in the past.
Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite injuries. Dog owners can be held liable for damages even if they didn’t know that the dog had aggressive or vicious propensities.
Instead, to recover compensation under Florida dog bite laws, you must prove:
- The dog bit you
- You were lawfully on private property or public property when the dog bit you
- You sustained injuries
You won’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent if the strict liability law applies. On the other hand, the strict liability law doesn’t apply in every case. Sometimes, dog bite victims are required to prove negligence to recover fair compensation for their injuries.
For example, negligence may be relevant in your case if:
- The animal attacked you but did not actually bite
- The dog owner claims you provoked the dog to attack
Negligence theories may also be relevant if the owner displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent location and the victim was at least six years old.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Florida Dog Bite Case?
Negligence is the legal theory involved in most personal injury cases. If you’re injured in a car accident or slip and fall, you’ll typically have to prove that the at-fault party failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries.
The elements of a negligence case are:
- A legal duty of care
- Breach of duty
- Causation, or evidence that the breach caused the injury
- The victim sustained damages
In dog bite cases, proving negligence means proving that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable caution to prevent the dog attack.
Our lawyers in Port St. Lucie will search for evidence to prove your case, including:
- Statements from neighbors and witnesses
- Past complaints about the dog
- The dog was classified as a “dangerous dog,” so the owner knew it was dangerous
- The owner allowed the dog to wander the neighborhood or failed to secure the animal
- The owner violated Port St. Lucie leash laws
Do you need help proving your dog bite injury case? Don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced Port St. Lucie dog bite attorney for a free case review today.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in Florida?
Dog bite victims typically have four years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you don’t file a claim within four years, you’ll be barred from recovering any compensation at all.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Port St. Lucie Dog Bite Lawyers
Kibbey Wagner, PLLC is here to help if you or a loved one were injured by a dog. If you have questions, call us today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Port St. Lucie dog bite lawyer.