According to a recent study by State Farm Insurance, Florida has some of the highest number of dog bite claims in the United States. The company reported 123 dog bite claims were paid out, worth a total of $7.3 million in 2012. That was the eighth highest in the country.
In April of 2014, Melody Kelly was standing outside her house. She was waiting for her husband and had the family Shih Tzu on a leash. The couple had planned to take a walk together. As she waited, a neighbor’s dog charged out of its yard and ran toward Melody and her dog. The woman’s dog was a lot smaller than the charging animal. She picked up her dog, trying to protect it. The other animal began circling and eventually attacked Melody. The animal bit her arm and elbow and ripped out a chunk of skin above her eye. Melody screamed and her son ran out of the house. The attacking animal was distracted, and Melody ran into the house.
When medical personnel arrived they were gravely concerned about Melody’s injuries. They even considered airlifting her. The owner of the animal, Myline Berrios, said her dog, a lab/pitbull mix, was not completely responsible for the attack, but initially said she would take responsibility for Melody’s medical bills.
Myline was fined $300 and charged with improper confinement of a vicious animal, which is defined as “one that kills or unjustifiably causes physical injury to a person or to a domestic animal.” She was also charged with allowing an animal to run loose.
Soon, medical bills worth thousands of dollars arrived at Melody’s. She tried to get Myline to pay the bills, but the neighbor stopped responding to messages. Myline rented the house and did not have renter’s insurance. The property owner’s insurance did not cover dog bites.
Melody had no choice and filed a civil claim. She was awarded $5,000, which the woman claims covered most of her medical bills. Melody had reconstructive surgery on her eye to try to hide the scar that was left after the dog attack.
If you or a loved one has been injured or bitten by a vicious dog, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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