You may be the biggest animal lover in the world, but that doesn’t protect you from being bitten by one. The CDC estimates that nearly 4.5 million bites occur every year from dogs alone. Even the sweetest pets can bite and seriously injure someone. Since an animal bite can be grounds for a personal injury suit, it’s important for potential victims and pet owners alike to know what do if a pet bites someone.
What Victims Should Know
If you’ve been bitten by an animal, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention immediately. That bite from Sparky might seem minor, but if he has a disease like MRSA, it can actually kill you. Anytime someone is bitten by an animal, there is a risk of infection, so it’s important to get the wound checked out. After visiting your doctor, the next step should be to consult an attorney who can advise you if there are grounds for a personal injury suit. Keep in mind that determining this will require your attorney to know the specifics of the attack and contact information for both the owner and any potential witnesses — so keep track of these details. Be sure to provide him with any documentation of your injuries, like photographs and medical records.
What Pet Owners Should Know
In states like Florida, pet owners are afforded strict liability for bites. This means that if your pet bites someone, regardless of what you did to prevent the attack, you are held legally responsible. Whereas in other states, the owner might only be considered legally responsible if he knew his dog was dangerous. However, there is a great deal of gray area when determining whether or not the owner had reason to believe his pet was a danger before the attack. The circumstances of the attack will also play a role in determining whether or not the owner is responsible. For instance, if someone was trespassing on the owner’s property when he was bitten by the animal, the negligence on the trespassers part will likely cause his case to crumble in a personal injury suit.
It’s also important to note that there are instances where the owner of an animal might not be the only one held accountable for damages. For instance, an animal keeper, such as the owner of a kennel, could be held responsible if a dog under her care bites someone. The same is true for a property owner who allows dogs onto his property, or even a landlord that allows an animal which is known to be dangerous to live on his property.
If you have been bitten by an animal, the expertise of an experienced Miami personal injury attorney is crucial for recovering the damages you deserve. Call the team at Graham Legal today to learn more about your options.