Tag Archive for: dog bite attorney

personal injury attorney in Ft. Lauderdale Florida

Protecting Yourself From Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has issued a report on protecting yourself from dog bites. According to that report, in the United States approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Making it even worse, roughly one in five of those dog bites will become infected. It is important that you take steps to avoid being bit by a dog. In the event you are bit, it is also important to treat it appropriately to avoid infection.

In the United States, dogs are in our homes, and play with our children. Dogs are proven to reduce stress, and they have been shown to increase the amount we exercise. However, dogs do bite humans. This can cause nerve damage, pain and infection. With just a few precautions, you can greatly reduce your chances of being bitten by a dog.

How Can I Prevent A Dog Bite?

If you want to avoid being bitten by a dog, there are some simple steps you can take. Here are some do’s and don’ts as described by the CDC:


If the dog came from a house, let an adult at the home know if their dog is behaving strangely;
Stay still if an unfamiliar dog comes toward you; and
If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball, tuck your head, put your hands over your neck and ears.


Bother a dog that is caring for her puppies, a dog that is sleeping, or a dog that is eating;
Approach a dog you are not familiar with in the first place;
Turn and flee from a dog;
Touch a dog before it has had a chance to see you and sniff you;
Make loud noises or panic;
Allow your dog to be aggressive toward other unfamiliar dogs; or
Allow small children to play with even a familiar dog unsupervised.

Which People Are Most Likely to be Bitten By a Dog?

According to the CDC, the following people are most likely to be bitten by a dog:

Children. The age group most at risk are children ages five to nine. Dog bites to children are more likely to require medical attention than dog bites to adults.
Men. Statistics show that dogs are more likely to bite men than women.

Where Do Dog Bites Occur Most Frequently?

Interestingly, most dog bites – over half – occur in the home by dogs known by the victim of the dog bite. Clearly, having a dog in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite in both children and adults. Further, additional dogs in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite occurring in the household. For example, according to the CDC, adults that have two or more dogs in the house are five times more likely to be bit by a dog than adults that have no dogs in the home.

What Should I Do if I am Approached by an Unfamiliar Dog?

There are steps you can take to avoid an interaction with an unfamiliar dog. The CDC recommends the following:

Do not make eye contact with the dog;
Do not move;
Remain calm and do not panic;
Using a firm voice, say “Go Home” or “No”;
Turn your body to the side – some dogs may think you are being aggressive if you face them, like you are trying to “square off”;
If you think the dog may attack, put your hands on your neck with your elbows in; and
Either back away slowly or wait for the dog to pass by.

What if I am Attacked or Bitten By a Dog?

If the worst case scenario occurs and you are attacked or bitten by a dog, the CDC makes the following recommendations to minimize the harm to you:

Try to protect yourself by using anything you have on hand. This could include a jacket, purse or bag;

As stated above, curl up with your head tucked in and your hands on your neck and ears if you are knocked down;

Once you are in a safe location you need to tend to any wounds. Do this by washing immediately with soap and water. If necessary seek medical attention, especially if:

The wound is serious. This would include: exposed muscle or bone, bleeding that cannot be stopped, extreme pain and loss of use;

If the bite is deep and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years; or

If you develop a fever or the wound becomes swollen, warm, red, or painful.

Contact your local police department or animal control agency to report the incident. If you are bitten by a dog, you are at risk of getting rabies. Reporting is particularly important if:

The dog is acting odd or appears sickly.
It is unclear if the dog has had its rabies vaccine.

Try to reach out to the dog owner, if possible. Find out if the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination. Get the owner’s name, address and phone number. You will also need the name of the veterinarian who gave the vaccine and the rabies vaccine license number.

Is There Danger of Disease From a Dog Bite?

Dog bites cause the obvious, visible wounds, that can be very serious. But the diseases that can be caused by dog bites can be just as serious. These can include, but are not limited to tetanus, rabies (one of the most serious diseases from a dog bite), MRSA (a type of staph infection), and Pasteurella (another form of bacteria). Watch any injury for signs of swelling, redness or tenderness. Do not delay seeking medical attention if there is any chance you are suffering from a dog bite related disease.

If You Have Been Bitten By a Dog

If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the dedicated and skilled personal injury lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law to discuss your situation at no charge.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida personal injury attorney

Dog Bites Cause Serious Injuries and Owners May Be Liable

Dogs are intelligent creatures and wonderful companions, but they can sometimes be unfriendly and aggressive, especially if untrained and allowed to wander freely. Every day in the United States almost 1,000 people are bitten by dogs and require emergency treatment for their injuries. Injury from a dog attack can be serious, with some victims being maimed and some dying.

Dogs not controlled by their owners are potentially dangerous. Florida dog bite and leash laws reflect how seriously the increasing incidence of dog attacks is viewed. Communities across the nation are strengthening their laws to improve enforcement of leash laws and impose stricter responsibilities and penalties on dog owners who fail to adequately restrain their pets.

Florida does not have a statewide mandated leash law. The regulation of dog control is decided and administered by county or municipal governments.

Broward County

A leash law is a legal requirement that a dog be controlled by its owner when the dog is in a public space or on the owner’s private property. Control can be achieved by a fence, a leash, a chain, or other form of humane restraint. The purpose of leash laws is the reduce and prevent dog attacks. Governments recognize that dogs can be unpredictable, so even a well-trained animal must be leashed to protect children, adults, and other animals from being harmed

Broward County leash law prohibits dogs from roaming freely and at large on public streets, properties, sidewalks, or parks. Dogs cannot stray on to someone’s private property unless the property owner permits access. While in a public area, dogs must be retrained by a tether, such as a leash, chain, or cord, handled by the owner and of enough strength to control the dog.

Abiding by the applicable leash law does not exempt a dog owner from liability for harm his or her pet may cause. It is the legal responsibility of the dog owner to control the dog whether or not there is a leash law in effect.

Owner Liable for Injuries

Florida statute provides that a dog owner is liable for injuries his or her dog causes to people or animals. The law imposes liability on the dog owner when a dog bites a person on public or private property, including property owned by the dog owner. The dog’s reputation for viciousness, even when known by the bite victim, is not a defense to liability.

This means that Florida is a strict liability dog bite state, and as such, dog owners can be held liable for damages their dogs cause even if the dog has never bitten a person before.

Also, a dog owner could be liable to damage the dog does to someone’s property. Examples include a dog digging up a neighbor’s flower or vegetable garden; chewing on and damaging part of a fence on a neighbor’s property; or jumping up on someone’s car and scratching or gouging the paint finish. Dogs are not permitted to create noise pollution with habitual barking, growling, whining, or howling. Dog owners may be found liable to disturbing their neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their home.

Possible Defenses

A dog owner whose dog bites someone is under strict liability in Florida. That means that the owner will be liable regardless of whether he knew or should have known of the dog’s likelihood to bite. The bite victim does not have to prove the dog owner acted negligently or did not use reasonable care.

The law in Florida provides dog owners with legal defenses to charges levied following a dog bite or other attack. The dog owner is not held liable when:

The bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s private property. However, persons are presumed to be lawfully on a dog owner’s property if they are performing a legal duty, such as police work or postal deliver.

The owner displays a conspicuously posted sign easily read and clearly notifying persons with words such as “Bad Dog” that the dog is dangerous. Even where such a sign is posted, the dog owner remains liable:
For injuries to a child under age 6; or
When the dog owner is the proximate cause of the injury due to his or her negligence or omission

Provoked Dog Defense

Because strict liability is imposed on dog owners in cases of dog bite, the owner is liable for injuries to the bite victim, but the owner can present evidence that the victim’s conduct contributed to his or her injuries. Where the evidence persuades the court of the victim’s negligent behavior, the court can reduce the dog owner’s liability by a percentage equal to the percentage the victim’s conduct contributed to the injury.

Florida case law indicates, however, that the bite victim’s behavior must have been blatant and egregiously wrong. These are examples of behaviors the court could find shifts liability in whole or in part from the dog owner to the person who was bitten.

Careless risk: The person knew the dog was ferocious or skittish and prone to attack, but the person carelessly placed himself or herself within dangerous proximity to the animal despite the owner’s warnings or attempts to restrain the dog.

Teasing: The person repeatedly teased the dog by tempting the dog with food or a treat but withholding the item; chasing and cornering it; or interfering with the dog’s possession of or enjoyment in a toy or food/water bowl.

Tormenting: The person physically rough-housed with the dog; beat or kicked the animal; or repeatedly poked the dog or pulled its tail


In a dog bite case, the kinds of damages available to the victim include medical costs, lost wages, lost future earnings, therapy and nursing care, emotional distress/pain and suffering, and punitive.

If you or your child have been attacked by a dog and injured, you may have to bring legal action against the owner of the dog to recover the medical expenses of treating your injuries and for your pain and suffering. Call our law offices today for a free consultation with the skilled Florida personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced attorneys who competently handle dog bite cases and will put forth your best case. We are based in Fort Lauderdale, and serve clients in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, and throughout Florida.