What Should I Do If My Child Gets Bit by a Dog in Florida? Legal Rights and Responsibilties


As a parent, it is difficult to deal with the everyday challenges of raisin a child in Florida. The duties of a parent are made much more difficult when there is an injury to a child. This is especially true when dealing with dog bite injuries. When a child is bit or attacked by a dog, it is often times a sudden, unexpected event. In some cases, the injuries are minor and do not require any medical care. In other instances, emergency medical care is necessary. In serious cases, there are permanent injuries including scarring to a child. This is especially traumatic when there are facial injuries inflicted upon the innocent child. Parents often times do their best in the face of danger and trauma to help children through this most difficult time. Here are some basic tips (both legal and common sense) to help parents deal with the issues of a dog bite injury to a child:

1. Stay calm. Attend to your child first. Provide for the safety and care of your child above all else. Assessing the whys and hows of the incident can be taken care of later.

2. Get Medical Attention. There are several options for medical care including: first aid kit, emergency room visit, urgent care center visit, and / or pediatrician visit.

3. Talk to Your Child. In most cases, the child did nothing to provoke the dog. Make sure you tell your child that he / she did nothing wrong and that sometimes dogs get confused and scared and react this way.

4. Take Photographs. When you are able to (whether at the scene, at the doctor, or elsewhere) – take photographs of the injuries on a good digital camera. A built in camera on a mobile phone will do but many such built in cameras lack the quality of a good digital camera. Video footage may be helpful as well to illustrate the damages.

<strong>5. Animal Control. If you believe that the dog in questions poses a continuing threat to the neighborhood or others, contact your local Animal Control office to make sure that the incident is reported and that safety measures are taken by the owner and / or Animal Control to protect others from the dog at issue.

6. Refrain from Making Statements to Insurance Companies. Some insurance companies act very quickly on dog bite matters. Some will contact you the same day. Before giving any statements to an insurance adjuster or providing access to your child for a statement or for photographs, consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and possible legal representation.

7. Contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer / Florida Personal Injury Attorney. Getting legal advice on a Florida dog bite matter will provide you with the information you need to make better decisions on how to handle the legal and practical issues involved with a dog bite injury. These include the following:

Who is going to pay for the current medical bills?

Who is going to pay for the future medical care?

Where should my child get treated for the dog bite injuries?

Are there any doctors who specialize in treating dog bite injuries / wounds?

What plastic surgeons in town treat children / adult with dog bite injuries?

Is there going to be scarring or other serious injuries from the dog bite?

What is the Florida law on point as to dog bite injuries?

Is the dog owner legally responsible for the damages to my child?

What kind of insurance is required for owners of dogs in Florida?

Will the homeowner’s insurance of the dog owner cover my child’s injuries?

The above issues apply to just about every dog bite case. Of course, there are many other practical and legal issues that arise in these Florida dog bite situations that can be addressed by a Florida Child Injury Lawyer. A child who has been injured by a dog bite or dog attack in Florida has rights that should be enforced and protected.

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