It was not the update we hoped to hear. It is news that has left a community in mourning. We recently discussed the contours of Florida dog bite law. We now find the same events have left a family without a child and facing a tragedy beyond any words. From a legal standpoint, the story turns from dog bite law to the wrongful death of a child.
In a tragic turn, The News Herald reported that a child who was left in critical condition after a dog attack has succumbed to his injuries. On Tuesday April 2, Fat Boy (an Alapaha blue bulldog) and MJ (a brindle bulldog) escaped from their owner's property on Kelly Court in Callaway. Witnesses report the dog chased another child before attacking 7-year-old Tyler Jett, who was riding his bike. The dogs mauled the child and punctured his carotid artery before Tyler's family was able to chase them away. Tyler was taken to a local hospital and transferred to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital's pediatric intensive care unit in Pensacola. He died on Sunday at around 12:30 PM.
Following the attack, Bay County Sheriff's Office searched the home of the dogs' owner, Edward Daniela Jr., and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. They arrested him on drug charges and added a tampering with evidence charge the following day based on allegations that Daniels washed blood off the dogs after the attack. Another update in the Herald reports that manslaughter charges have been filed since Tyler's death.
Pursuant to state law, any animal that is involved in the severe injury or death of a person will be euthanized unless an appeal is filed within 10 working days. Daniels has received notice of the law and the dogs are currently in the custody of Bay County Animal Control. A spokeswoman noted that four dachshund puppies found in Daniels' home have been returned to the care of his mother who also lives in the home.
No parent should have to face the death of a child, and no lawsuit can even come close to compensating someone or such a terrible loss. While it may be hard to think about, parents should know that Florida's Wrongful Death Act may apply when the death is the result of someone else's negligence or wrongful actions. This is a civil action for monetary damages, and it is separate from any criminal charges.
In addition to any medical or funeral expenses, the financial damages recoverable for the loss of a child include an estimate of the monetary support the child may have provided to the family. The Act also specifically provides that parents of a minor can recover damages for mental pain and suffering. Claims for wrongful death in Florida are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations.
In addition to being an experienced Panama City lawyer, Attorney Pittman is a proud father. Our team strives to treat every client with respect, and we promise to always remember the very real lives behind every wrongful death case. We know that no lawsuit can bring back a lost loved one, but monetary damages can be crucial and can allow family members to seek needed counseling and care. If you are the parent of a child who died due to someone else's wrongful or negligent acts, please call our Panama City victim's law firm. Let us help you seek justice on behalf of your lost loved one.