Summer is the season of picnics, days at the beach and outdoor parties with friends; and unexpected accidents, like dog bites. According to the Department of Health, each year dog bites in Florida by the thousands are reported- with a spike during summer months. Dog experts say that just like their Floridian owners, dogs can be irritable in the heat and grumpy when another Floridian gets in their space. As we all head outdoors to catch some sun, things get cramped for dogs, and dogs are being potentially put in more social-gathering situations where they aren’t comfortable.
The CDC’s numbers on animal-caused fatalities interestingly, are not mainly from sharks, as so many would think. Sharks cause an average of just one death per year in the U.S. Statistically speaking, the following six animals are way more likely to attack or bite you than a shark:
- Venomous snakes and lizards: six deaths per year
- Spiders: seven deaths per year
- Non-venomous arthropods (ants and such): nine deaths per year
- Cows: 20 deaths per year
- Dogs: 28 deaths per year
- Bees, wasps, and hornets: 58 deaths per year
Of all these animals, the one you are most likely to encounter in your Florida summer activities is “man’s best friend,” the dog. So, this summer, the personal injury lawyers at Brotman, Nusbaum, and Ibrahim (BNI) urge you to be less worried about sharks and more concerned about your interactions with dogs. Many people are injured every year by dogs they already know, making these kinds of animal attacks especially traumatic.
One of the stickiest areas of personal injury law is liability in dog bite animal attack cases. This is due to the relatively large number of variables involved when an animal injures a person. For instance, when it comes to Florida personal injury law, it matters whether the victim was bitten on public or private property, and whether the animal was owned by another person or is wild.
Essentially, animal attack and dog bite injuries fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases, so the name of the game is still proving negligence. And, generally speaking, animal attack cases are considered a type of premises liability case. What does this mean? Well, if you are seeking damages for an injury sustained on someone else’s property, as your personal injury lawyers, we must show four things:
- That the property owner owed you a reasonable duty of care
- That they neglected to do that
- That this was responsible directly causing the injury
- And the extent of your injuries
When it comes to wild animals like alligators, raccoons, or snakes passing through someone’s property, they are likely not liable for any injuries these animals may cause. They are not considered a landowner’s “property” under the legal precedent of ferae naturae, and so they are not responsible for them. However, this might change if it can be demonstrated that the property owner knew beforehand about the presence of dangerous wild animals and neglected to do anything about it! And believe it or not, this does happen in Florida.
What is it about summertime that makes dogs want to bite? It’s not just other people’s dogs; the owners of dogs get bitten too! Brotman, Nusbaum, and Ibrahim animal attack lawyers believe that you can protect yourself by learning to read the signs: indicators of a grumpy dog are pinned-back ears, tight lips, a tucked tail, a stiff body, and heavy panting. This means to give them some space. As puppy owners, you should know that pups should never be left alone on sidewalks without their humans because you can’t be there to look out for them if someone approaches them and they get uncomfortable.
So why do so many dogs bite? According to The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) every single dog can bite- big or small, male or female, young or old, any dog can bite. Even the cuddliest, fuzziest, sweetest pet can bite if provoked, or if there is something wrong with it, or if it is being abused. Dogs bite as a reaction to something. If the dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite to defend itself or its territory. Dogs can bite because they are scared or have been startled. They can bite because they feel threatened. They can bite to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food, or a toy. Dogs might bite because they aren’t feeling well. They could be sick or sore due to injury or illness, and might want to be left alone.
The Florida personal injury lawyers at Brotman, Nusbaum, and Ibrahim (BNI)take all animal bites and attacks very seriously. If you or a loved one has been injured by any kind of animal due to the negligence of its owner or handler, you may very well be entitled to compensation. Call Brotman, Nusbaum, and Ibrahim right away and we will do everything in our power to secure fair compensation for your pain and suffering.