Dog Bite Attorney Review of Maddox v. Florida Farm Bureau General, Etc.
In Maddox v. Florida Farm Bureau General, Etc., dog bite attorneys on both sides agreed that Crystal Maddox and her son Ivan were each bit in the face by the dog, Dixie.[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”] The bite to Maddox came after she attempted to remove Dixie’s bite from Ivan’s face. The question that the dog bite attorneys disputed over was whether the two dog bites were a single occurrence or two occurrences under the homeowners policy.
The Homeowner Policy
The dog bite attorneys first looked towards the homeowner’s policy that states in pertinent part:
All “bodily injury” and “property damage” resulting from any one accident or from continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions shall be considered to be the result of one “occurrence”.
The homeowner’s policy includes a dog bite policy limitation of $100,000.00 for each “occurrence”. Accordingly, the question that dog bite attorneys raised to the court of whether the second bite was considered the same accident or continuous exposure to the same general harmful conditions was important to determine whether funds were available for Maddox to recover.
The policy defined “occurrence” to mean: “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions, which results, during the policy period, in:
a. “Bodily injury”; or
b. “Property damage.”
Florida Farm Bureau’s dog bite attorneys attempted to avoid paying Maddox for her injuries by alleging in a complaint for declaratory relief that the injury to Maddox was the same occurrence as that of Ivan, and that Ivan had already exhausted the $100,000.00.
Personal Injury Adoption of Cause Theory
Florida has adopted the “cause theory” that applies when the policy is absent of specific policy language to the contrary. In evaluating the case, the dog bite attorneys should look towards the “cause of” the party’s injuries for determining the number of “occurrences” under an insurance policy. In this case, no specific policy language on the subject was part of the contract.
In this case, the court looked at American Indem. Co., v. McQuaig, 435 So. 2d 414 (Fla. 5th DCA 1983), and Koikos v. Travelers Ins. Co., 849 So. 2d 263 (Fla. 2003).
In McQuaig, sheriff deputies fired three shots, but hit their own officers; the first shot hit a first sheriff; the third shot hit a second sheriff; and a second shot hitting both the first and second sheriff. In an ensuing personal injury case, the personal injury attorneys argued whether the three shots were a single occurrence or three separate occurrences. After much debate between the personal injury attorneys, the court held the latter because “the inquery is whether ‘there was but one proximate, uninterrupted, and continuing cause which resulted in all of the injuries and damages.
In similar circumstances, George Koikos rented his restaurant to a fraternity for graduation. Unfortunately, an intruder entered and fired “two separate, but nearly concurrent, rounds.” Two guests were struck by a single bullet, and three others were injured as well. Again, after listing to arguments from the personal injury attorneys for both sides, the Florida Supreme Court concluded that each shooting constituted a separate occurrence. The court further held that “each individual shooting is distinguishable in time and space.”
Accordingly, the dog bite attorneys for Maddox successfully argued that the dog bite to Ivan and the dog bite to Maddox are separate occurrences.
Dog Bite Attorney
Have you or a loved one been injured in a dog bite in Florida? If so, contact South Florida Dog Bite Lawyer Matthew Sean Tucker at Tucker IP, with an office conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale. Tucker IP serves clients throughout South Florida, including West Palm Beach, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami-Dade. Tucker IP is a Dog Bite Attorney Law Firm that wants to help you. Call the Firm toll-free at 1-844-4-TUCKER or send us an email through the Firm’s website. A firm attorney will contact you for a free consultation.
* The general information provided does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Legal cases are in fact that of persons named in the lawsuit and the mention of an attorney herein generally represent that of the client itself.