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With Experience And Dedication


By: Morey Law Firm

March 13, 2024

Wrongful Death from Dog Attacks in Florida

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Filing for Wrongful Death in Florida:

A Guide for Families Affected by Dog Attacks

Experiencing the loss of a loved one due to a dog attack is a traumatic and heart-wrenching event. In Florida, families left to navigate the aftermath of such tragedies have legal avenues to seek justice and compensation. This guide aims to walk you through the process of filing a wrongful death claim in Florida, specifically related to fatal dog attacks.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

A Florida wrongful death claim is a legal action taken when an individual dies as a result of another party’s negligence or wrongful act. In situations involving fatal dog attacks, this could imply that the dog’s owner did not take the necessary precautions to secure the animal, or demonstrated negligence in their handling or control of the pet, leading to a tragic and preventable loss of life.

Under Florida law, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is granted to the deceased’s surviving family members or a designated representative of their estate. This group primarily includes spouses, children, and parents. However, in certain situations, other relatives, such as siblings or grandparents who were financially dependent on the deceased, may also be eligible to file a claim. Our Florida Wrongful Death Guide for Families offer a more detailed prospective on what you can expect when dealing with this unfortunate process.

The wrongful death claim seeks to address various components:

  1. Establishment of Negligence: The plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) must prove that the death was caused by the recklessness, carelessness, or deliberate wrongdoing of the defendant (the party being sued). In the case of dog attacks, this could involve showing that the dog owner violated local leash laws, failed to warn others of a dangerous dog, or did not take steps to control or secure their pet properly.
  2. Direct Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and the death of the family member. This means that the fatal incident would not have occurred if it weren’t for the negligence of the dog’s owner.
  3. Quantifiable Damages: The lawsuit must specify the financial, emotional, and support-related losses resulting from the loved one’s death. These can include funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits, lost companionship, and emotional suffering.

It’s important to note that wrongful death claims in Florida are subject to a statute of limitations, this time frame is typically two years from the date of death. Therefore, it’s crucial for families to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to ensure their claim is filed within the legal timeframe.

Through a wrongful death claim, families can seek justice for their lost loved one and potentially receive compensation for their immense loss. This process can be complex and emotionally taxing, which is why it is beneficial to have an experienced attorney to navigate the intricacies of Florida’s legal system and advocate on behalf of the bereaved family.

Potential Compensation After a Fatal Dog Attack

In a wrongful death case arising from a fatal dog attack in Florida, the victim’s family may pursue a variety of damages to compensate for their loss. Understanding the different types of damages available is crucial for families seeking justice:

  • Medical and Funeral Expenses: Families can seek compensation for all medical costs associated with the victim’s final care. This includes emergency room fees, hospitalization costs, medication charges, and any other health-related expenses incurred as a result of the attack. Additionally, reasonable funeral and burial expenses can be claimed to cover the costs associated with laying the victim to rest in a manner respectful of their memory.
  • Loss of Support and Services: This type of damage compensates the family for the loss of the deceased’s financial support and services. It can include the present and future income the deceased would have provided, benefits lost due to the death (such as health insurance), and the value of the services and support the deceased would have provided around the home, including child care, household chores, and maintenance.
  • Loss of Companionship, Instruction, and Guidance: Spouses can seek compensation for the loss of companionship and protection, while children may be entitled to damages for the loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. Parents of minor children may also seek damages for the loss of love, affection, and emotional support.
  • Mental Pain and Suffering: This covers the emotional pain and suffering endured by the surviving family members since the time of the victim’s death. It recognizes the emotional and psychological impact of their loss and provides compensation for the grieving process and the suffering endured due to the sudden and tragic nature of the loss.
  • Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the negligence was particularly egregious or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others, the family might seek punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate for a particular loss but rather to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar actions in the future.

Understanding these potential damages is vital for families to ensure they are fully compensated for their loss. It is also essential to work with an experienced attorney who can help assess the full extent of the damages and ensure that all potential areas of compensation are explored.

Dealing With Insurance Companies After a Fatal Dog Attack

After a wrongful death incident, it is common for insurance companies to reach out to the bereaved family with settlement offers. These companies often aim to resolve claims quickly and economically. However, accepting an initial offer without legal advice can result in compensation that falls significantly short of covering the full extent of your loss and the future financial needs of your family.

When approached by an insurance company, it is imperative to remember that you are under no obligation to immediately respond or accept their proposal. Here are key steps to consider:

  1. Consult Your Attorney: Before engaging in discussions or negotiations with insurance representatives, consult with your attorney. Finding an experienced Florida dog bite attorney, with an understanding of Florida’s wrongful death laws is crucial. Your attorney will review any offers, advise you on their fairness, and help you understand the long-term impacts of accepting them.
  2. Understand Your Rights and Needs: An experienced attorney will help you calculate the true value of your claim, considering all current and future financial impacts, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. They ensure that any settlement considers all aspects of your loss, not just immediate expenses.
  3. Negotiate for a Fair Settlement: Insurance companies often start with lower offers. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf, using evidence and legal precedents to justify a higher compensation amount that reflects the full scope of your damages.
  4. Avoid Recorded Statements: Insurance adjusters may ask you for a recorded statement or answers to questions that could inadvertently affect your claim’s value. Always consult with your attorney before giving any statements to ensure you do not compromise your position.
  5. Take Your Time: While financial pressures can make quick settlements tempting, it’s important to take the time needed to assess the offer thoroughly. Your attorney can provide guidance on the timeframe for accepting an offer, ensuring you make a well-informed decision without unnecessary haste.

By involving an experienced attorney in the process, you ensure that your rights are protected and that you are navigating the complex insurance landscape with an expert who has your best interests at heart. This strategic approach helps prevent settling for less than you deserve and secures a more appropriate compensation for your loss and future security.

Morey Law Firm, P.A.: We’re Here For You

The loss of a loved one due to a dog attack is an unimaginable tragedy. While no amount of compensation can replace your loss, filing a wrongful death claim in Florida can offer a sense of justice and financial security during this difficult time. If you find yourself in this heartbreaking situation, know that there are legal options available to help you and your family find closure and begin the healing process.

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