Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means that the owner of the dog is strictly liable for the dog's actions and the damages the dog causes. If your friend who owns the dog owns her home and has homeowner's insurance she likely has coverage to pay claims for the damages/injuries caused by her dog. You need to determine the extent of the injuries and treatment before you would want to enter into any settlement agreement for your daughter's claims. I would recommend contacting an attorney who handles dog bite claims, they can help you determine if there is any insurance coverage and also make sure your claim is properly complied and presented.
If your friend had homeowners or renters inurance, the liability portion of the coverage will apply if there is no exclusion for dogs or animals. You should contact a persoal injury lawyer right away for advice. The applicable statute of limitations in Florida is 4 years from the date of the attack.
The above is general advice regarding applicable state law. It does not create an attorney-client relationship in any specific case.
I'm surprised that the doctor you originally took your daughter to didn't report the bite. Your friend needs to make a claim with her insurance company and she needs to do it quickly since if she waits too long they may refuse the claim. You should speak with a local attorney so that s/he can deal with the insurance company - if you do it you may let your friendship get in the way of getting the best settlement from the company. The Florida Bar Association can give you a referral: www.flabar.org/
If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.
You need an attorney to help you build a case against your friend's insurance. If this happened at her home, their home owner's policy should cover it.
Frankly, even though I may be a lawyer amd be viewed as a bad guy fr sayig this, I think your child's need for medical care and cosmetic surgery clmes first. If your friend is really a friend, she will support you in this regard.
Dog mauling cases are complex, especially ones with serious injuries that require surgery.
Do not handle this alone. That is how good cases get messed up real fast. Besides, the insurance company will treat you differently when they see tou are represented by counsel.
Call me to discuss the next steps. Initial consultation is free and there is no obligation.
My law firm serves all of Florida
888-888-7803 (toll free)
- Brian Silber, Esq.
You would want to retain a personal injury lawyer who can make a claim against the homeowners policy. 1/3 of all homeowners claims are from dog bites.
Licensed in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. Free Consultation:1-877-258-3083. Only 29% fee deducted.
Consult a personal injury attorney about this matter as soon as possible. As already well discussed, a claim can likely be made against your friend's homeowners or renters ins. In addition to your child's physical injuries & scarring, there may also be an emotional component to being biten, among other aspects to the claim ...which an attorney will be versed in. Good luck.
This happened to a family member and we stepped in to be the "buffer" between the the family member and their good friend. We were able to successfully negotiate with the insurance company, which allowed the friends to maintain a great friendship. Depending upon the circumstances of the incident you may or may not have a good case. For instance, there may be a leash law violation etc. I recommend that you contact an experienced AVVO rated attorney. We represent dog bite victims throughout the southeast and will travel to see you.
Your friend's homeowners' insurance (if he/she has any) should cover the damages. That's what the insurance is for. It's part of the homeowner's insurance for "liability coverage". You usually place a claim to the insurance company for your child's damages, the insurance company investigates, and usually they pay the claim. There is usually no need to take your friend to court or harm your friend in any way. That is just the way the law and the funding works.
Any attorney of your choice will be more than happy to help you prepare the claim to the insurance company. As a matter of fact, I have had cases where the owner of the house even has helped me to process the claim on behalf of a client who has been bitten by a dog of whom they are owners.
Alejandro R. Lopez, Esq.
Law Office of Alejandro R. Lopez, P.A.
4465 Edgewater Dr.,
Orlando, Fla. 32804
I agree with the other posts above; however, I would also like to add that many homeowner's policies have exclusions for any coverage related to dog bite injuries. All current Citizen's homeowners' policies, for example, contain exclusions for dog bites. That being said, there typically is medical payments coverage that is not excluded. It is important to seek counsel to help navigate this claim, which can be quite complex to do on your own.
You have 4 years to institute legal action or else it will be too late. Make sure your little one gets the medical help she needs which is in my opinion the most important thing. If you do decide to take legal action, do not feel bad for your friend, it is not personal, that's why most people have insurance. However, if you do decide to get legal help, do it fast and do not talk to an adjuster or an insurance company without first talking to a knowledgeable attorney in this field. The person you hire will need to take a look at your friend's insurance policy to make sure it does not exclude this type of accidents/incidents, unfortunately my experience in Florida has been that many companies do exclude it but that is not something you will be able to know until that time when someone takes a look at the policy. Good luck to you and your daughter! Hope she gets well soon!
The previous attorneys responses pretty much cover your questions. Obviously you need to get a copy of any insurance policy which might cover the injury to your child. As stated, many policies exclude dog bite liability unless a specific rider covering such injuries is purchased. I have handled a number of dog bite cases and am available for a no-cost consultation at my office in St Petersburg.
Good luck and my best wishes for you child's recovery.
Robert E. Heyman, Esq.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately for your child and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.If your friend has renters or homeowners insurance, it will cover your daughter's injuries. You will need the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Premises liability for personal injuries Personal injury Personal injury settlement Medical records and personal injury Types of personal injuries Personal injury and animal attacks Dog bites and injuries Residential property Property liability Homeowner's insurance for property liability Animal law
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.