The purpose of this video is to provide some guidance about dog bite and dog attacks in St. Petersburg and in Pinellas County, Florida. So what we’ve seen over the, the history of our careers is that many of the cases that come to us are not actually dog bite incidents. They’re actually dog attack incidents. And what I mean by dog attack is that what we found is that many dogs are off leash and they are, they go after your own dog or your own animal while you’re out in walking them. And that then causes some type of incident, you fall, get injured, um, and then wonder, well, this is not really a dog bite. What do I do in that scenario? So if you are out walking your dog or you’re letting your dog play with your neighbor’s dog, for example, uh, and the dogs get tangled and you fall, or the, the neighbor’s dog is off-leash running around and causes an incident, you then would have a claim for negligence against the homeowners insurance of the owner of the dog.
So it’s not technically a dog bite, it’s what I call a dog incident. But there’s still a viable claim there. If you can show that the owner of the dog was somehow negligent. In other words, they left their doggy door open and a dog off the leash came tearing out and caused you to fall or their dog was off leash and as I said, cause some type of incident that caused you to fall and be injured. So that’s what we’re seeing is the most common type of animal or dog incident. Now the laws in Florida as far as dog bites go, are very plaintiff’s friendly. So if you’re bitten by a dog, you likely have a viable claim against the owner. And that’s called strict liability so that the laws are written in a way that is very favorable to the plaintiff. And what we do is we file a claim against the homeowner’s insurance of the person that owns the dog.
Now there are certain defenses. However, for example, if that homeowner had a bad dog sign and you went out and stuck your hand out and were bitten, while that could be a defense, um, there are other types of defenses such as you provoked the dog incident. Well, what if the dog was sleeping on a chair and you’ve sat on it and it jumped up and bit you? Well, you’ve got some comparative negligence there. And what we see with many of these dog bite incidents is that it’s not random dogs running up to you on the street attacking you or biting you. It’s actually often family members, dogs or your neighbor’s dogs that, uh, will either bite your child or bite you, uh, during the, during the provocation. So we understand that it’s sensitive because again, you’re making a claim technically based on the negligence of the owner of the dog.
So these cases need to be appropriately and professionally because we understand there are normally emotional and, um, emotional aspects to it and other types of relationships, familial or friendly, uh, that exists. So, like I said, it’s a fine line on, uh, on claims against your neighbor or your family member. But still it needs to be handled. If you’ve got a legitimate injury, you need to be compensated for those losses, especially what if your child has a scar on his or her face the rest of her life. So, uh, you know, we handle these cases and we handle them appropriately. Now, one final point with respect to dog, dog and animal insurance policies, the last thing that we found, uh, when we get these claims for some type of animal attack or a dog bite incident or a dog incident, is that a lot of the policies these days are being written in a manner to exclude animals.
So you open up your policy, boom, right in the middle of it, it says, this does not apply if there’s an animal related incident on the, on the property and therefore you’re not insured. So my advice is when you get your homeowner’s policy or you get them renewal, or you get some type of, of a rider in the mail or an exclusion in the mail, make sure that they’re not cutting out your protection for dog incidents. Like I said, that’s, that’s something just simply to protect you if your dog does something to someone in the future. And quite frankly, the odds are pretty good that they’re, there may be an incident, especially if you have a larger dog that’s, I’m more apt to make someone fall. So hopefully that answers some questions and provide some guidance about dog bite incidents in site, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Ellis County, Florida, also animal attacks and, and, and really entanglements with dogs while you’re out walking your own dog. So hopefully you’re not in a dog related incident, but if you do, this video provided you some guidance.
*The above has been transcribed by a third party service and has not been checked for accuracy.
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