As medical costs rise, the monetary settlements in animal attack claims have increased even faster. In fact, such settlements have increased 76 percent since 2003.
Victims in these cases have several legal options, and each one has some pros and cons. For example, Florida has a limited strict liability law. Animal owners are generally liable for bite injuries as a matter of law. Victim/plaintiffs need only prove causation. However, this law excludes many knockdown injuries. Additionally, damage awards are often lower in these claims, since the owner was often not negligent. Other possible claims include ordinary negligence and negligence per se.
Because of all these options, and also because one of several insurance company defenses might apply, it’s important for a Brandon personal injury attorney to review your case and represent you throughout the process.
Primary Physical Wounds
Dogs bite millions of Americans every year, and many of these victims have several types of severe physical injuries. Such wounds often require long-term treatment in specialized, and expensive, care facilities.
As mentioned, the knockdown often causes more serious injuries than the bite. When large dogs suddenly lunge at vulnerable victims, the resulting injuries include things like:
- Head injuries,
- Broken bones, and
- Internal injuries.
That vulnerability could be the victim’s age or physical shape. Alternatively, the vulnerability could be a pre-existing medical condition. Regardless, full compensation is usually available, because of the eggshell skull rule.
When dogs bite, their teeth often cause severe surface lacerations. These injuries are usually very difficult to address. Frequently, the victims must still deal with scars and other lingering deformities.
When some dogs bite, they do not sink their teeth into the victim. Some dogs have limited jaw movements, either because of physical construction or genetic makeup. But more often than not, a dog’s teeth cause deep puncture wounds.
Such injuries exacerbate the aforementioned internal bleeding. The knockdown causes organs to bump and grind against each other. And, the puncture wounds pierce vulnerable organs.
Primary Emotional Injuries
In a large number of cases, dog bites also cause brain injuries, mostly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That’s especially true if the victim was a child. Some of the symptoms include:
- Heightened awareness,
- Unnatural fear of all dogs,
- Nightmares, and
Symptoms like these make it difficult or impossible to function at home, school, work, or almost anywhere else.
PTSD is a physical brain injury. The stress causes chemical changes in the brain. These injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they do not regenerate. However, extensive physical therapy often eases the symptoms. Experienced brain injury therapists can train uninjured areas of the brain to assume the lost functions.
Many dog bites cause Capnocytophaga and other bacterial infections. These painful infections significantly increase the victim’s emotional distress levels. Additionally, if the vulnerable victim had an allergy or pre-existing condition, Capnocytophaga infections can be life-threatening.
These infections are especially common in rural and semi-urban areas. Typically, it takes these victims longer to reach the hospital. A few extra ticks on the clock could make a big difference.
Frequently, an attorney must file a separate legal claim to obtain compensation for infection-related injuries. Such claims are often easier to win, because doctors and other medical professionals have a very high duty of care.
Connect with Tenacious Attorneys
Dog bite victims might be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Brandon personal injury attorney, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).