If you’ve been bitten and injured by another person’s dog, you may need to contact an Orlando dog bite lawyer to help you get the money you deserve. Dog owners and pet owners owe a duty to others to ensure that their dog or pet does not attack them. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t act responsibly, and thus thousands of people each year suffer dog bite injuries.
At Spetsas Buist PLLC, we are passionate about helping victims of dog attacks. One of our founding partners, Charles Buist, was viciously attacked by a yellow lab when he was a child, and he still has serious scars on his arm to remind him of that attack. Thus, our personal injury law firm truly does understand your pain, as well as the fear that lingers on for years and keeps a dog bite victim from enjoying the company of sweet animals. Nobody should have to go through that trauma. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a dog bite or a dog attack, you should be compensated for your loss and for your traumatic experience.
Florida Dog Bite Statute
Fortunately, the Florida dog bite statute does not have a “one bite rule” that many other states have. This means that a dog owner can be held responsible for the damage caused by his or her dog, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog had dangerous propensities. The Florida Dog Bite Statute states that a dog owner is liable for damages suffered by a dog bite victim, provided that the dog bit the victim while the victim was on public property or on private property with permission to be there.
Limitations on Dog Owner Liability
There are certain circumstances that might reduce or eliminate a dog owner’s liability for the damages caused by a dog bite. For example, under most circumstances, the owner will not be liable if the dog bit a trespassing victim and if the owner had a sign in the area that included the words “Bad Dog.” Additionally, the dog owner might not be liable if the dog bite victim was provoking or harming the dog when the dog attacked the victim. Finally, dog bite owners might not be liable if the dog bit the victim trying to defend the owner or someone. Furthermore, if both the victim and the dog owner were negligent in some way, whether by the victim provoking the dog or something else, the victim’s damages may be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
Florida Dangerous Dog Laws
Florida has a specific statutory provision that is meant to protect Floridians from dogs that are known to be dangerous. The Florida dangerous dog statute provides that owners of a “dangerous dog” must take certain safety precautions with the animal to avoid dog bites. The statute classifies a dog as a dangerous dog if that dog has (1) attacked someone or attempted to attack someone; (2) seriously injured or killed another animal more than one time; or (3) when unprovoked, the dog aggressively chased or approached someone.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
There are many reasons a dog may bite. According to the American Kennel Club, Dogs typically attack for one of the following reasons.
A dog’s aggressive behavior is usually rooted in some type of fear. Typically, a dog that is afraid will bite to create space and distance itself from whatever it’s scared of.
For example, one of our founders, Charles Buist, was attacked by a dog that had been daily tortured by a child that was about the same age and size as Charles. Hence, when Charles approached the dog, it viciously attacked him because it was scared and traumatized, and it believed Charles was a threat.
If a dog gets startled, especially if it has been sleeping, it can lash out and bite. Dogs that are startled awake often wake up confused and disoriented, and they may bite during this confused state.
Protection or Guarding
Dogs will bite to protect something they want to keep, like food, treats, or a toy. Additionally, a dog may bite if it feels that someone or something is intruding on its home or endangering its family.
A dog bite can result from a dog’s frustrations. Dogs get frustrated when they’re held back on a leash or when they otherwise feel trapped in a space or unpleasant situation.
Sickness and injury can be frightening for dogs. Even the sweetest and most pleasant and tolerant dogs will bite when they are enduring pain or recovering from an injury.
Dogs will lightly bite or mouth people or objects while they are playing. Dogs use their mouths as a way of exploring the world. However, dogs can get carried away during play, and thus a dog may bite while playing.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. Of those 4.5 million dog bites, roughly 800,000 are severe and require medical attention. This means that a dog bites roughly 1 in 73 people each year in the United States. In 2020, people reported 16,991 dog bite claims, and the total value of those claims was $853.7 million. Thus, the average cost per claim was roughly $50,245.
Below are the dog bite statistics or the number of dog bite claims from 2016 to 2020, as provided by the Insurance Information Institute.
- 2016 (18,123 Dog Bite Claims)
- 2017 (18,522 Dog Bite Claims)
- 2018 (17,297 Dog Bite Claims)
- 2019 (17,802 Dog Bite Claims)
- 2020 (16,991 Dog Bite Claims)
Dog Attacks By Breed
Each dog breed has a unique disposition, and some dogs are more likely to attack than others. Below are some dog bite statistics by breed of dog.
- Attacks: 3,397
- Deaths: 295
- Attacks: 535
- Deaths: 8
- Attacks: 113
- Deaths: 15
- Attacks: 111
- Deaths: 18
- Attacks: 85
- Deaths: 19
- Attacks: 83
- Deaths: 26
- Attacks: 70
- Deaths: 8
- Attacks: 64
- Deaths: 7
- Attacks: 61
- Deaths: 8
Strongest Dog Bite
Some dogs have a stronger bite force than others, and this bite force is typically measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Below is a list of the top 23 dog breeds with the strongest dog bite, as provided by petcomments.com.
- Kangal (743 PSI)
- American Bandogge (730 PSI)
- Cane Corso (700 PSI)
- Dogue De Bordeaux (556 PSI)
- Tosa Inu (556 PSI)
- English Mastiff (556 PSI)
- Dogo Canario (540 PSI)
- Dogo Argentino (500 PSI)
- Wolfdog (406 PSI)
- Leonberger (399 PSI)
- Akita Inu (350-400 PSI)
- Rottweiler (328 PSI)
- Siberian Husky (320 PSI)
- African Wild Dog (317 PSI)
- American Bulldog (305 PSI)
- Doberman (245 PSI)
- German Shepherd (238 PSI)
- Great Dane (238 PSI)
- American Pit Bull (235 PSI)
- Labrador Retriever (230 PSI)
- Dutch Shepherd (224 PSI)
- Chow Chow (220 PSI)
- Malinois Dog (195 PSI)
Common Dog Bite Wounds and Injuries
A dog attack can result in painful and severe injuries, and these injuries can cause lasting psychological and physical damage. Some of the more common types of physical dog bite injuries are listed below.
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Severe Bruising
- Broken Bones
Dog Bite Prevention
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are several steps you can take to prevent dog bites. We have listed some of these dog bite prevention tips below.
Try to Socialize Your Dog
One great way to keep your dog from injuring other people is to socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to people and help it to understand that people are friends. If dogs are introduced to people early in life, they are more likely to be comfortable around humans.
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Responsible pet ownership is key to preventing dog attacks. You can reduce dog bites by properly training your dog, making sure it gets regular exercise, and neutering or spaying your dog.
Educate Your Family About Dog Ownership
Teach your family, especially young children, how to properly interact with your dog.
Avoid Taking Unnecessary Risks When Interacting With Dogs
There are several behaviors you can adopt to reduce your risk of being bitten by a dog. Avoid petting dogs in some of the following scenarios:
- The dog is not with its owner
- It’s with the owner, but the owner doesn’t give you permission to pet the dog
- The dog is on the other side of a fence
- If the dog is asleep or eating
- The dog is injured, sick, or hurt
- If the dog is with her puppies
- The dog is playing with a toy
- If the dog is growling or barking
- If the dog is hiding from people or seeking to be alone
Pay Attention to the Dog's Body Language
This one is simple: If the dog is acting strange or aggressive, avoid it. Pay attention to the dog’s body language, and you may be able to avoid a dog bite.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
A dog attack can be absolutely terrifying. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and protect the value of your dog bite claim after a dog attack.
Get to Safety
First and foremost, get away from the dog that is attacking you.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention for your dog bite as soon as possible, and follow your doctor’s instructions on how to clean and take care of the wound.
Contact Animal Services
In many cities, you’re required to report an animal attack to the relevant authorities. Each area typically has its own local animal control authority. In Orange County, Florida, you can contact Orange County Animal Services.
Witness Contact Information
If possible, collect the contact information of any witnesses to the dog bite. Additionally, collect the contact information of anyone who knew of other instances where the dog attacked or acted aggressively in the past.
Take Lots of Pictures
Take pictures and videos of your injuries and of yourself as you’re healing from the injuries. Be sure to document the entire healing process, from start to finish.
Do You Need to Speak to an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in Florida as a result of another party’s negligence or recklessness, you should speak with a skilled, experienced, and aggressive Orlando dog bite lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website, or you can call our Orlando, Florida personal injury law firm today at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free consultation by phone. When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, you will get a consultation with a lawyer, not a customer service representative or intake person.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we have you covered. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need us.
For more information on personal injury cases in general, you can download our free personal injury guide: P.I. 101: Your Quick Guide to Personal Injury Claims.