Nearly 5 million Americans are victims of dog bites or dog attacks each year. Statistics show that in 1 out of every 6 incidents, the injury is serious enough for medical attention. Even minor dog bites need to be treated to avoid infection. More serious injuries usually require surgery and continued treatment, such as in the case of a retired Delray Beach lawyer.
The Palm Beach Post reports that in March, a juror awarded the Delray Beach man $7.7 million for the pain and suffering he has endured since being attacked outside his home by his neighbor’s three dogs in 2011. The victim was throwing a piece of plywood when the neighbor’s driveway gate opened and the dogs attacked.
A civil lawsuit was filed in 2012, alleging negligence on the part of the couple who owned the dogs. The suit contends that the attack changed the victim’s life forever. He experienced numbness and tingling in his legs days after the attack and underwent surgery to treat a herniated disk. Surgeons implanted screws and rods in his back and fused three of his vertebrae. Even though he regained the use of his legs after surgery, he could no longer work in the yard and drive long distances as he used to.
In Florida, dog owners are required to safely maintain their dog indoors. When outdoors, animals must be confined in locked, securely-enclosed pens, or similar structures. When not confined, the animal must be muzzled and restrained by a leash or chain and reasonably controlled by a competent person.
When it comes to dog attack liability, Florida is a statutory strict liability state. This means that dog owners are liable for any injuries inflicted by their dogs on persons in public places or lawfully in private places, regardless of the former viciousness of the dogs or the owner’s knowledge of it. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite incident or attack, it’s important to discuss your case with a Florida personal injury attorney.