If you were recently bitten by a dog, then it is critical that you understand your current options. You have some tools for getting financial compensation, but they aren't necessarily as intuitive as you might want. A lawsuit is one of your most powerful tools, since it can give you the opportunity to pay off all of your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and even help mitigate some of the emotional trauma that you went through.
In order to understand whether a lawsuit is best for your specific situation, it's important to know the rules of your state. Here are some of the most critical legal hurdles that you will need to handle when it comes to dog bite lawsuits in Florida:
How long ago did the bite happen?
You need to immediately concern yourself with when the bite actually happened. If the bite happened more than 4 years ago, then your chances of winning a lawsuit will drop significantly. This is because the Florida statute of limitations for personal injuries (which includes dog bites) is only 4 years.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be lucky and able to get an extension. For example, if you were a minor when you were bitten, then you might be able to file relative to the date that you legally become an adult rather than relative to the date of the bite. However, in most cases like this, it is common for the parents or guardian of the victim to file on their behalf. Thus, you will need to prove that no one was able to file on your behalf for whatever reason.
Were you trespassing at the time?
When it comes to liability in Florida, the main factor that you need to focus on is trespassing. If you were legally allowed to be on the owner's property when the dog bit you (or if you were on public property), then the owner will almost always be liable for the bite. However, if you were trespassing, then the owner is not liable.
What this really means is that you need to be careful about whether there is any chance that you were trespassing at the time of the bite. If the defense has any evidence that suggests that you were trespassing, then you need to carefully reevaluate your options and decide if a lawsuit is actually the best course of action. Contact a business, such as the Law Offices of Matthew L. Taylor, for more information.