How to Avoid a Dog Bite

Unlike states with a “one-bite rule,” Florida law states that dog owners are strictly liable any time their dog bites another person, regardless of whether or not the dog has previously displayed aggressive or vicious behavior. This means that if you are bitten by a dog it is possible to collect damages from the dog’s owner, even if they had no idea the dog would bite. (Statutory exceptions include cases in which the bitten person was trespassing on private property).

dog bite

However, we here at Rudez PL believe that it is always better to avoid injury when possible. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can protect you and your family from dog bites.

  • Avoid leaving children alone with dogs. And, yes, this includes your family pet. According to the Florida Department of Health, more than half of dog bites occur in the home and involve a dog known to the family.
  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog. This especially applies to dogs that are unaccompanied by a person, whether they are strays, or pets that got loose from their owners. But, even if a dog is with its owner, it may bite if it feels scared or threatened. Teach your children to always ask the owner before approaching a dog, and to let the dog smell their hand before petting.
  • If you do find yourself in a situation where you think a dog might attack, Don’t run. Often when a dog feels scared or threatened, their natural instincts will kick in. If you run from them, they may assume you are now prey and chase after you.
  • Do not interfere with a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. These are times when a dog feels most vulnerable, and therefore they are more likely to react if they are startled or scared.

Dogs may be Man’s Best Friend. But, remember that they are still animals and any animal can bite. Respect your dog and other dogs you meet, and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid a dog bite.

If you or a loved one are victim to a dog bite, call Rudez PL at 844-RUDEZLAW for a FREE consultation with Attorney Dan Rudez. Dan speaks Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian (Bosanski, hrvatski, Српски).

Escalator and Elevator Accidents and Injuries

Central Florida has some wonderful shopping malls. There’s Mall at Millenia with its upscale stores and high glass ceilings, kid-friendly Florida Mall and its new Dining Pavilion, the recently opened Disney Springs outdoor shopping district, and the Premium Outlet Malls

Mall at Millenia.

But, with all of these malls, comes the risk for shopping mall accidents.

When you think of shopping mall accidents, you probably think of slip and falls. While these might be the most common type of accidents in a mall, and they can certainly cause substantial damage, there are many other ways you can be injured while shopping.

Escalators and elevators are one of the more common causes of accidents in shopping malls. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), approximately 17,000 people are injured each year in accidents involving escalators or elevators.

Escalator injuries can occur when clothes, shoes or even toes get caught inside the mechanism, or when mismatched steps cause the rider to trip. Even a sudden stop can cause a shopper to fall or otherwise injure themselves on an escalator.

Shoppers can be injured when elevator doors close on them or, in the most extreme case, an elevator cable breaks and causes the car to fall to the ground floor.

In Florida, and all 50 states, shopping mall owners have a legal duty of care to protect shoppers from harm while on their property by regularly inspecting and properly maintaining their facilities, including elevators and escalators. This means that if a shopper is injured by an escalator or elevator, the shopping mall owners may be liable.

For the most part, shopping can be a fun, enjoyable, and safe way to spend a day in Central Florida. But, if you are injured in a shopping mall, you may need the advice of a qualified attorney.

Most Dangerous State for Pedestrians

With few crosswalks, disconnected sidewalks, and many high speed roadways, it’s no surprise that Florida isn’t the safest place in the country for pedestrians. But, did you know that since 2009, Florida has ranked as the number one most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth America.

Every year Smart Growth America publishes a list of the most dangerous metropolitan areas, and last year, eight of the top ten cities were in Florida.

Most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians

Across the state, there were 8,936 pedestrian accidents in 2016. Often the victims of pedestrian accidents are from the most vulnerable parts of the population: adults over 65, racial minorities, and those from low-income backgrounds.
While being a pedestrian in a metropolitan area will always put you at risk, there are ways to keep your and your family a little safer:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. This goes beyond just looking both ways before crossing the street. When walking in a high traffic area, put away your phone and take out at least one earbud. Your eyes and ears need to be available to survey the area and check for any possible hazards.
  • Make yourself more visible. When it’s dark or rainy, stay in well-lit areas whenever possible. If your usual route doesn’t have many street lights, try wearing reflective clothing. And whatever you do, don’t wear all black at night.
  • Follow the rules of the road. Even though you’re not driving, walking with the flow of traffic and obeying all traffic signals will keep you safer.

And drivers, you can help keep pedestrians safer by following posted speed limits, turning on your headlights when visibility is low, and using extra caution while driving in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Florida PIP Insurance

On May 7th, 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a controversial bill changing the way personal injuries are to be treated.  More specifically it drastically affects the way injuries are treated using personal injury protection insurance (PIP).


PIP is insurance all drivers are required to carry.  It provides up to $10,000 dollars for medical treatment and lost wages of accident victims.  Before these changes were made, accident victims were able to obtain treatment for their injuries from chiropractors, massage therapists or acupuncturists whenever they needed it.   They did not need prior approval from the insurance company nor did they did not question nor limit the accident victim’s treatment.  Additionally, they were not limited in time. Victims were freely able to obtain treatment to recover from the injury and help themselves, their doctors and their attorneys evaluate the extent of the injury, so that proper compensation could be sought on behalf of the client.


Now, it has become harder for accident victims to seek treatment.   You are limited on who can refer you to obtain treatment, you have a narrow window of time to obtain treatment and the PIP insurance can question you and investigate whether your use of PIP benefits are legitimate.  In order to maximize your recovery and obtain treatment under PIP insurance, you MUST follow the new guidelines that will apply to all accidents that occur on or after January 1, 2013.


FIRST:  You have 14 days to seek medical treatment for your injury from either a; physician, osteopath, dentist, chiropractor, physician’s assistant, advanced registered nurse, or a hospital or facility wholly owned by a hospital.


SECOND:  In order to be eligible for up to the entire $10,000 benefit for your treatment, paid by the PIP insurance, you must have either a; physician, osteopath, dentist, supervised physician’s assistant, or advanced registered nurse officially diagnose your injury/condition as an “emergency medical condition.”  A victim must have a referral from one of these medical care providers in order to qualify for PIP paid treatment.  If your condition is not labeled as an “emergency medical condition,” then you will only be entitled for up to $2,500 in PIP benefits for your treatment.


THIRD:  Massage therapy and acupuncture is no longer considered to be a PIP treatment option.


FOURTH:  The PIP insurance may now require the accident victim to undergo an examination under oath (EUO) in order to investigate whether the accident claim is fraudulent.   The accident victim who fails to comply will receive zero PIP benefits.


FIFTH:  The PIP insurance may also require the accident victim to undergo an independent medical examination, to evaluate whether or not they would need to provide you payment for your treatment.


ALL of these new requirements have not only made it harder for accident victims to obtain basic treatment of their injury, but it has also made it more difficult for accident victims to build their case to obtain maximum settlement recovery.  If you are in an accident, make sure you follow these guidelines so that you can maximize your medical and monetary recovery for your injury.  Don’t let these new laws hurt your chances for maximum recovery.


If you have further questions, or if you are in fact injured in an accident, feel free to give me a call for a free consultation.