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Don't Let a Dog Bite Ruin Your Life: Contact a Skilled Panama City Dog Bite Lawyer
If you've been injured by a vicious animal, set up a free consultation with Wettermark Keith's dog bite lawyers today.
For their protective nature and loyal companionship, dogs are often deemed “Man’s Best Friend.” As of 2022, around 70 million households in the United States own dogs; furthermore, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 36.5% of households in the South Atlantic region of the United States, which includes Panama City, Florida, own at least one dog. Despite these dogs' loving, protective nature, they are still animals, meaning that they often have an unpredictable nature.
Whether you were taking your own dog for a walk, your partner was going for a jog near the beach, or your child was simply playing in the front yard, you can never predict when you might encounter a dog attack. Quick movements or loud noises can sometimes cause an instinctual, fatal dog attack. These attacks can be extremely devastating, especially since they often happen out of nowhere. A dog owner is often shocked when their dog injures a person, yet this should not discount them from being held liable for causing devastating harm to you or your loved one.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in the United States, there was a total of 48 deaths caused by dog attacks in 2019; furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 2010 and 2019, there were a total of 471 deaths in the United States attributed to dog attacks. Certain populations are at a higher risk of suffering extremely severe or fatal dog bites, especially children under 10 years old. It takes very little power to overpower a young child, which is why their attacks make up 50% of dog bite fatalities.
If you or a loved one has experienced the nightmarish experience of a dog attack in Panama City, FL, you are not alone. Our lawyers have experience getting people the compensation they deserve after they incur injuries from a dog attack. You may have doctor’s visits taking up your time, medical bills piling up, and missing work. When dealing with all of these stressors, you should not have to deal with a legal case alone, and our lawyers can help you get justice. Do not hesitate to contact a Panama City attorney at Wettermark Keith by calling us or contacting us through our form online.
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How common are dog bites in Panama City?
In 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. Florida is among the top states for reported dog bites with 1,214 injuries from dog bites reported in 2020. It is important to realize that not all dog bites may be reported, meaning that the police were never informed, someone did not visit a hospital, or the source of the injury was never reported. Therefore, it is very likely that the actual number of dog bites that occur within the state, and nationwide, may be higher.
Most importantly, dog bites can happen anywhere to anyone, regardless of the location. You must always take precautions when interacting with dogs in Panama City, FL, especially those who are alone or that you are unfamiliar with. If you are bitten by a dog, you must be sure to seek medical attention immediately, and you should contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as you can.
Pursuing Homeowner Insurance Claims, Not Dog Owners, After an Attack
Dog bites are stressful, upsetting experiences for both the victim and the dog owner. Dog owners are often shocked that their animal could viciously attack another person. After experiencing a dog bite, victims often worry about filing a dog bite legal case against the dog owner, since they assume that the owner will be responsible for any damages caused by their pet; yet, homeowner's insurance policies cover dog bites and other injuries caused by pets.
Instead of the dog owner themselves paying out the compensation for the claim, homeowner's insurance policies cover dog bites and other injuries caused by pets. Therefore, if a dog attacks someone, our attorney can file a case against the owner where at which point the homeowner's insurance policy will cover the compensation like any other claim against the limits of the homeowner's insurance policy. Because the policy covers the event, the victim can receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries, while also protecting their friendships and avoiding potential conflicts with neighbors, especially if they are close with the owner.
If you are a dog bite victim, it's important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney at Wettermark Keith. We can help you understand your options and navigate the claims process. You do not have to worry about hurting someone financially when filing a claim against a dog owner since financial liability is covered by the homeowner's insurance policy thus protecting your relationships and ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Which are the most common dog breeds that attack?
While a dog’s behavior is mainly a result of its owner’s training and socialization, some breeds are often more prone to aggressive behavior than other dogs, making them more likely to bite. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) analyzed data from the United States between the years of 1982 to 2014 to determine which breeds were most commonly involved in legal cases of dog-bite-related fatalities. These dogs include:
- Pit Bull breeds, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Mixed breed dogs
- Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs
Although these breeds are most commonly involved in fatal dog bite incidents, it is important to remember that the breed alone does not determine whether a dog will or will not attack. Proper training, socialization, and being a responsible dog owner can go a long way in preventing dog bites and other accidents, as well as promoting a safe relationship between dogs and humans. If you were involved in a dog attack by any of the above breeds or others, you need to seek medical treatment and set up a consultation with a Panama City, FL attorney from Wettermark Keith as soon as possible.
Warnings signs of an aggressive dog
While animals can be unpredictable at times, there are some indicators that a dog may be feeling aggressive, which can be a sign that they plan to attack. These indicators include:
Stiff body posture
If a dog's body tenses, fur raises on its back and has its tail held high or tucked between its legs, they are feeling threatened and may attack.
Growling or snarling
These sounds are a warning sign that a dog is feeling threatened and may be ready to bite.
If a dog shows its teeth, especially if the corners of its mouth are pulled back to expose its molars, it's a sign that they are feeling aggressive.
Direct eye contact
If a dog is staring at you without breaking eye contact, it can be a sign of aggression or an attempt to establish dominance.
Lunging or charging
If a dog is lunging or charging at you, it's a clear sign that they are feeling aggressive and may be preparing to attack.
Barking or snapping
If a dog is barking or snapping at you, it's a sign that they are feeling threatened and may attack if they feel like they need to defend themselves.
If you interact with a dog that is showing any of the above signs of aggression, it is extremely important to give the dog some space in order to best avoid an attack. Do not make direct eye contact with the animal when it's showing obvious signs of aggression. It is likely that a dog will attack if displaying any of the above indicators, and the best thing to do when that happens is to put as much space in between you and the dog as possible and call for help.
How to avoid a dog attack in Florida
One of the most important things to remember when encountering an unfamiliar dog in Panama City, FL is to remain calm and avoid threatening the animal. Dogs are often territorial; therefore, they attack when they feel threatened. If you see an unfamiliar dog and feel uncomfortable, you should avoid any sudden movements or making any loud noises that may startle them. The next important way to avoid dog attacks is to be aware of the dog's body language. If a dog is feeling aggressive, it might show bared teeth, a raised tail, and a stiff body. If you see any of these signals, you must stay still and avoid making eye contact with the dog, as this can be perceived as a challenge.
If the dog continues to be aggressive and pursues an attack, you need to know how to react. Staying as still as possible when a dog bites once can minimize the damage; however, if it continues to attack after that first burst of aggression, you should try to put any objects in your surroundings between you and the dog– distance is the best prevention. You need to seek medical attention immediately after a dog attack, as these injuries can be severe and require medical attention.
The best way to avoid a dog attack is to be cautious and aware of the warning signs a dog is aggressive. By taking note of the dog's body language, approaching dogs calmly, and knowing how to react if you are the victim of an animal attack, you can help better ensure your safety. If you have been attacked by a dog, contact our law firm to speak with our lawyers serving Panama City during a free consultation on how to proceed with your case.
Common injuries that result from dog bites in Panama City
Dog bites are often serious and traumatic experiences that lead to a range of injuries that can have long-lasting physical and emotional effects. In Panama City, FL, dog bites are a relatively common thing, and it's important to know what types of injuries to watch out for if you or a loved one has been bitten or involved in an accident with an animal. From minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries like broken bones or infections, understanding the risks associated with dog bites can help you take the necessary steps to prevent and treat these injuries. It's important to know the most common injuries that result from dog bites in Panama City, so you can be better prepared in case of an unfortunate encounter with a dog. For residents of Panama City, FL, the injuries that result from a dog attack range from very mild to severe. Some of the most common injuries from Panama City dog bites include:
Dogs have sharp teeth that can puncture the skin, resulting in small or large wounds that can lead to infections.
A dog's bite can also result in deep cuts, which may require stitches.
Even if a dog doesn't break the skin, their bite can cause bruises, which may be painful.
A severe dog bite can cause damage to nerves, resulting in loss of sensation or mobility.
A bite from a dog’s powerful jaw can cause broken bones, particularly in more fragile individuals.
Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the body, leading to infections such as tetanus, rabies, or other bacterial infections.
In addition to bodily injuries, dog bites can cause emotional trauma, particularly in children, who may develop a fear of animals. You need to take dog bites seriously. If you or a loved one were attacked by a dog in Panama City, you need to contact an attorney from Wettermark Keith.
What's the Responsibility of Dog Owners?
In the state of Florida, dog owners have a legal responsibility to take precautions to prevent their dogs from injuring other people. If their dog attacks and injures someone, even on accident, the dog owner may be held liable for the damages, which could include medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Under Florida law, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether they knew the animal had a propensity to bite or attack. This means that the dog owner is responsible even if they were not negligent in any way, even if it were an accident; however, there are some exceptions to this rule that can be further explained by an attorney from Wettermark Keith in Panama City, FL.
To prevent dog attacks and avoid accidents, Florida law requires dog owners to keep their animals under control and on a leash when in public. They must also ensure that their dogs are properly vaccinated and licensed. Dog owners have a responsibility to prevent their dogs from attacking and injuring others in Florida. Failure to do any of the above can result in legal liability and financial damages that can result in claims.
Florida Dog Bite laws
In the state of Florida, there are sets of dog bite laws that hold dog owners liable for any injuries that their dogs cause, regardless of the dog's history of aggression. If a dog bites or attacks someone, the owner can be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries or damages. Under Florida law, a dog owner can be held liable for any injuries caused by their dog, even if the owner did not know or could not have known that their dog could be aggressive. This is strict liability and it means that the victim does not need to prove that the owner was negligent.
In Florida, the law applies a comparative negligence standard in dog bite cases. If a victim's own negligence played a role in the incident, then their recovery may be reduced by the percentage of their fault. For example, if the victim provoked the dog, their recovery may be reduced based on the degree of their fault. Unlike other states, however, in Florida, victims may still recover damages even if they were partially at fault.
In addition, Florida dog bite laws allow for other legal remedies, including claims for negligence, negligence per se, and intentional torts. These claims may be appropriate in situations where the owner was aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies and failed to take appropriate action to prevent an attack.
A dog owner can avoid liability for a dog bite if the injured person was unlawfully on the owner's property; yet, in order for this to apply, the dog owner must post an easily readable sign with the words "Bad Dog" or have a securely enclosed or confined dog on their property. Furthermore, if a dog has previously attacked someone, then the dog is classified as a dangerous dog, and the owner must follow specific dangerous dog protocol.
Florida dog bite laws protect dog bite victims and hold dog owners accountable for any injuries caused by their animals. Anyone who has been injured in a dog attack in Florida should set up a free consultation with an experienced dog bite attorney from Wettermark Keith to know their legal options and start a claim to seek compensation for their injuries.
What Is Strict Liability and How Is It Used by Lawyers?
In Panama City, FL, you should pay extra attention to strict liability in dog bite cases. Within the state of Florida, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dogs, whether or not the dog owner had any reason to believe their dog was dangerous. The dog owner also does not have to display signs of negligence during the incident for strict liability to apply for the dog bite claim between you and the dog owner.
Under this doctrine, a person who is bitten by a dog may be able to bring a lawsuit against the dog's owner, without having to prove that the owner was at fault. Instead, the injured person only needs to show that they were bitten by the dog and that the dog belonged to the defendant. This gives our lawyers a leg up when proving your dog bite claim. Our lawyers have plenty of experience with this statute and can help you implement it within your own legal case.
This law is based on the idea that dog owners should be responsible for preventing their dogs from causing accidents and harm to others, and that they should be held accountable when their dogs do cause harm; however, there may be some exceptions to this rule, which is why it's so important to contact an attorney who has experience handling these legal cases. At our firm, we have years of experience serving Panama City, and we can talk to you about your unique case in order to find the best avenue to work on your legal case.
If you've been bitten by a dog and are considering legal action, contact our firm, Wettermark Keith, to set up a free consultation with our qualified dog bite legal teams in Panama City who can advise you on the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.
How Panama City Dog Bite Attorneys Use Strict Liability
Panama City dog bite lawyers at our firm may use strict liability to help their clients recover compensation for injuries sustained in a dog attack. According to strict liability, dog owners can be held responsible for any accidents and injuries caused by their dogs, even when the owner was not aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies.
In order to prove a strict liability in a dog bite case, the victim must demonstrate that the following four elements exist: the defendant is the owner of the dog, the dog caused the victim's injuries, the victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property at the time of the animal attack, and the victim did not provoke the dog in any way.
If these four elements are established, the dog owner is presumed to be liable for the victim's injuries. Then, your dog bite attorney will use strict liability to help their clients recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the dog attack. Strict liability can be a powerful tool for Panama City, FL dog bite attorneys in pursuing justice and compensation for their clients who have been injured in a dog attack.
Wettermark Keith: Set up a free consultation with a Panama City dog bite lawyer today
Without legal knowledge, it can be difficult to know what to do after a dog attack. Panama City dog bite cases can be complicated, with a variety of mitigating circumstances and different avenues of liability. If you are in need of a Panama City, FL dog bite lawyer, contact our firm, Wettermark Keith. As our client, we can provide you with peace of mind during an extremely stressful time. We represent our clients with compassion and the legal expertise to make your case a success.
Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation serving Panama City as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional but includes a diverse range of practice areas. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking legal cases personally. Our law firm practices with care and compassion, to tell our clients’ stories, and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. At our law firm, winning legal cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning your case is just how we show it. As we say, it’s more to us, it’s personal.
No Recovery, No Fee
When it comes to Florida dog bite law, our firm has experience serving Panama City, FL. We work to get justice for our injured clients, winning a large sum in settlements in their favor. Therefore, our firm will never ask for anything from you unless we win your legal case. We choose to operate this way for the benefit of you, our client. Our goal is for you to have the most successful recovery possible, so let us take care of the rest.
Frequently Asked Questions
It's important to contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after a dog bite or an animal attack in Panama City or Panama City Beach, FL. The lawyer can provide guidance on what to do next, search for evidence, and ensure that your rights are protected. Additionally, there may be time limits for filing a legal claim for dog accidents, so it's important to act quickly and contact our law firm as soon as possible.