Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog in Stuart, FL? You may be entitled to hold the dog owner responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced Stuart dog bite lawyer at Kibbey Wagner, PLLC, can help you fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Since we were founded in 2014, we’ve recovered over $60 million for our injured clients. We’re ready to put more than 40 years of combined experience to work for you.
Dog bites can cause serious damage. If you were injured, call our law offices in Stuart, Florida, at (772) 444-7000 to schedule a free consultation today.
How Kibbey Wagner, PLLC Can Help With a Dog Bite Claim in Stuart, FL
Dogs bite for any number of reasons. The pet’s owner is responsible for keeping others safe around their animal. When they fail, the victim is entitled to seek compensation for their losses.
Despite that, it can be tough to get the insurance company to take you seriously. Having an experienced personal injury attorney in Stuart, FL, by your side can make or break your case.
At Kibbey Wagner, PLLC, our lawyers have a proven track record of success. One of our founding attorneys is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law. Our law firm has also earned a “Superb” rating on Avvo, and we’ve been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.
We can help with your case by:
- Gathering evidence to establish liability
- Reviewing your medical records and working with experts to establish your case value
- Defending you when you’re blamed for provoking the dog
- Negotiating with the insurance company to secure the maximum compensation possible
Our Stuart personal injury lawyers will do everything we can to get the best outcome in your case. To get the legal advice you deserve, just give us a quick call today.
How Common Are Dog Bites in Stuart?
According to some estimates, about five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Many of those injuries are serious. The CDC estimates that about 800,000 dog bite victims require medical treatment each year. Approximately 14,000 are hospitalized.
In 2021, 1,478 dog bite victims submitted claims to insurance in the state of Florida alone. Insurance companies paid about $81 million in compensation for those dog bite injuries that year.
What Is My Stuart Dog Bite Injury Case Worth?
The value of a dog bite injury claim depends on multiple factors. Both adults and children can sustain serious injuries because of dog bites and animal attacks. Getting the most compensation possible can make a world of difference in your future.
Our lawyers at Kibbey Wagner, PLLC will estimate your case value by analyzing the unique facts and circumstances, including:
- The type of injury you sustained
- The cost of your medical care and the need for ongoing medical treatment
- The severity of the injury and your prognosis
- Whether the injury impacted your ability to work and earn a living
- How the injury impacts your quality of life and future career prospects
- The emotional and psychological trauma of the event
Insurance companies often try to scare victims into backing down or accepting lowball settlements. With our team by your side, you can rest assured that you have an experienced attorney fighting for every dollar you deserve.
What Types of Damages Are Available To Dog Bite Victims?
Dog bite victims are entitled to seek compensation for economic damages and non-economic damages.
Examples of the types of damages available include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Loss of consortium
Dog bites can be fatal. If you lost a loved one, our lawyers will help you fight to recover fair compensation for wrongful death.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite in Florida?
Blame the victim is a common strategy in dog bite cases. The owner will probably claim that you provoked the dog and caused it to bite.
However, even if you were partly responsible, Florida’s comparative fault laws allow you to recover partial compensation. Your settlement or verdict will simply be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault allocated to you. But you can’t recover compensation if it is determined you were mostly at fault.
We’ll Fight To Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Most dog bite victims suffer from puncture wounds. Sometimes the victim is lucky enough to get away with a small bite mark. In other cases, the injuries can be much more severe–especially if the victim was a young child and the larger animal knocked them over.
Our lawyers at Kibbey Wagner, PLLC often represent dog bite victims who have suffered:
- Puncture wounds and infections
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Amputations and other internal injuries caused by infection
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
When a dog bites, the results can be serious. If you were a victim, don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about your legal options today.
How Do I Prove Liability After a Dog Bite in Florida?
Every state handles dog bite claims slightly differently. Some states follow a “one bite rule”. In these states, owners can only be liable if the dog had bitten before or they had prior knowledge of their dog’s vicious tendencies.
Florida follows a strict liability dog bite law. Owners can be held liable even if they didn’t know their animal was dangerous. You also won’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent to recover compensation.
Under Florida law, you’re required to prove the following things to recover damages after a dog bite:
- You were lawfully on private property or in a public place
- The dog bit you and caused injuries
The strict liability law only applies if both of these things are true. If the circumstances are even slightly different, you’ll be required to prove negligence to recover fair compensation.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Florida Dog Bite Case?
Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable caution under the circumstances. If the dog’s owner had reason to believe the dog was dangerous and failed to take steps to prevent injuries, they could be on the hook for damages even if the strict liability rule doesn’t apply.
To prove negligence, you must establish:
- The owner’s legal duty of care
- A breach of duty
For example, you might be able to prove that the animal’s owner was negligent if the owner:
- Allowed the dog to roam freely in the neighborhood
- Violated Stuart’s leash laws by allowing the dog to roam unrestrained in public
- Knew the dog was dangerous and failed to install a “bad dog” sign
In most cases involving negligence, you’ll need evidence that the owner knew about the dog’s aggressive tendencies. Our lawyers will investigate to locate that evidence. We’ll speak with neighbors, locate photos and videos, and even search for past complaints about the animal.
Defenses To Florida Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
Just because Florida follows a strict liability law doesn’t mean owners are automatically liable for all damage caused by their dog.
Dog owners often assert the following defenses to avoid liability in dog bite cases:
- The victim provoked the animal
- The owner displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent place, and the victim was at least six years old
- The victim was trespassing on private property
Even if these things are true, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, it’s even more important to have an experienced lawyer in your corner. To learn more about how our Stuart dog bite attorneys can help, call Kibbey Wagner, PLLC, to schedule a free case review today.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit if I Was Bitten By a Dog in Florida?
Most dog bite cases are resolved through the insurance claims process. Still, it’s important to understand that there are time limits for taking legal action.
The statute of limitations in Florida is two years for general negligence cases. That means you have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury lawsuit. After two years pass, you forfeit your right to compensation. Cases based on strict liability might have a longer deadline.
Proving liability in a dog bite case can be challenging. It can take time to build your case and find the strong evidence you need. Our lawyers can start gathering evidence right away and take steps to preserve your right to seek compensation. Just give us a quick call to schedule a free case review today.
Contact a Stuart Dog Bite Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Were you or a child bitten by a dangerous dog in Martin County? Our lawyers are here to help in any way we can. Call or contact Kibbey Wagner, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Stuart dog bite lawyer today.