Dog Bite: Who is At Fault?
Dog bites can range from the smallest nip that does not break the skin, to vicious malling that leaves the victim permanently disfigured, or even dead. It is important to seek medical treatment for any dog bite that breaks the skin and causes a moderate amount of bleeding, as the bacteria in dogs’ saliva is likely to cause an infection. If you were attacked by someone’s dog and your injuries are serious, you may wish to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent injury or disfigurement. Depending on how the dog attack occurred, the liable party may or may not be who you think.
Suing the Dog’s Owner
In the vast majority of cases, if you get bitten by a dog in Florida, the owner is responsible. This is true whether the dog jumped its fence, attacked you on the premises when you were an invited guest or otherwise on the property legally, or you were bitten while the dog was on or off leash on public property such as on the sidewalk or in a park. However, the definition of “owner” is more complex than you may think, as explained later.
Suing Wag! or Rover
Wag! and Rover are both dog walking apps that allow independent contractors to walk dogs for a fee. If you were bitten by a dog that was in the care of an independent contractor working for Wag! or Rover, you may be able to sue one of those dog walking companies instead of or in addition to the dog’s owner. Rover has a $1 million injury liability insurance policy, so that if a dog bites someone while on a walk, the victim can pursue damages from that company. However, if you were an independent contractor working for Wag! or Rover, the insurance policies for third parties do not cover you if you were bitten by the dog yourself. You may still be able to sue either company, which is why it is important to talk to an attorney.
Suing Another Party
If the dog was in the care of another party at the time of the attack, such as a dog groomer, a friend of the dog’s owner, a dog sitter, or a dog walker, that party may be sued. Under Chapter 767 of the Florida Statutes, an “owner” of the dog includes “any person, firm, corporation, or organization possessing, harboring, keeping, or having control or custody of an animal or, if the animal is owned by a person under the age of 18, that person’s parent or guardian.” As such, you may have the option to sue the person or business that was in legal control of the dog at the time of the attack. This may be a good option for compensation, as this party, particularly if it is a company, may have a larger insurance policy than the true owner of the dog.
Our Ocala Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Today
Dog attacks should never be taken lightly. A dog does not have to have a known history of being a vicious or dangerous dog in order for you to sue for financial compensation. To get started, call the Ocala dog bite attorney at the Glover Law Firm today at 352-484-0775 or email us to schedule a free consultation.