Suffering a dog attack can cause a great deal of anxiety in addition to the pain often associated with dog bite injuries—not to mention the risk of infection and other complications.
Following a dog attack, you may find yourself wondering what comes next. Do you have the right to compensation? What steps should you take to secure that compensation and raise your odds of a successful claim?
A Clearwater dog bite lawyer can help you understand your rights following a dog bite incident. Contact our seasoned personal injury attorneys today for your free consultation.
Perenich Law Injury Attorneys: Helping Clearwater Dog Bite Accident Victims Understand Their Rights
Many victims have questions about their rights following a Clearwater dog bite incident. Can you sue? What if the owner did not know about the dog’s vicious tendencies: does the owner still owe you compensation? Who can help when the medical bills start coming due?
At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, we answer your questions about your right to a claim.
From our earliest days, we were taught to stand up for the defenseless and offer a voice to individuals who suffered injuries through no fault of their own. We take that lesson into every case, starting with ensuring that our clients have answers to their vital questions regarding their right to compensation following a dog attack in Clearwater.
We help break down the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We give you more information about how long it might take to move forward with a claim. Most importantly, we help you navigate any challenges the insurance company might throw in your way as you deal with the aftermath of a dog attack.
We help negotiate for the full compensation our clients deserve.
Dealing with a dog attack can mean several complications. Not only can you end up with substantial medical bills, you may find yourself dealing with new anxiety related to dogs of any kind. In the aftermath of the attack, you may have substantial limitations on your life.
Our dedicated Clearwater dog bite attorneys help serve as your voice, ensuring that we clearly convey your actual needs and losses to the insurance company to increase your odds of recovering the compensation you really deserve for those injuries.
We represent our clients at every step of the journey.
At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, we help our clients at every stage in the claim process. Once our clients contact us, our proactive dog bite lawyers in Clearwater start with a comprehensive look at all the evidence related to the dog attack. Then, we put that evidence together with the actual losses our clients have faced in a clearly-written claim that establishes their right to compensation and what losses they have suffered. We handle negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company or, in some cases, with the dog owner directly.
If our clients have to take their claim to court to receive the compensation they deserve, our dog bite attorneys represent them there, too, providing them with a great deal of comfort and security no matter how the claim progresses.
Do I have a case for my dog bite injury?
Florida Dog Bite Laws
According to Florida law, the owner of any dog that bites someone else (or damages livestock) will face strict liability for those injuries. Florida dog bite victims may note several critical elements of that dog bite law that influence their claims.
Florida law holds dog owners accountable regardless of the dog’s history.
In some states, dog owners with animals that do not have a history of violence may avoid liability for a dog attack because those individuals could not reasonably have known that the dog would attack. In Florida, however, dog owners bear liability for the first time their dogs step across the line and attack a human.
Florida Dog Bite Law Misconceptions
Florida law states that to recover compensation for a dog bite, the bitten individual must have had the right to enter the property where the attack occurred.
That means that if you had the legal right to enter either public or private property, you have the right to compensation following a dog attack. Florida dog owners must carefully monitor their dogs on public property and ensure that anyone who visits their private properties legally has adequate protection from those dogs.
That may include taking steps like:
Keeping the dog on a leash in public
Properly fencing or securing the dog on private property
Warning visitors about the dog’s presence and any bad habits the dog might have
Sometimes, dog owners may have a hard time maintaining a high standard of protection when it comes to their animals. When a violation of those standards leads to an attack, however, the dog owner may bear liability for those actions.
Proving Fault in a Dog Bite Claim
Because of strict liability governing dog bites in Florida, claimants are only required to prove:
A bite occurred
While they were legally on a property
Which resulted in expenses and harmful impacts
The dog was not provoked by the victim
In Florida, dog owners do not only face civil consequences if their dog bites someone, including increased premiums on their insurance or even the risk of having their insurance dropped, but they can also face criminal consequences.
These consequences result from owners who fail to take proper precautions after their dog has bitten someone and has been designated as a dangerous dog. Those precautions include notifying authorities of the secure location where the dog is kept, the prohibition of the dog being outside its secure enclosure without a leash and muzzle, and the posting of prominent warning signs near the dog’s secure enclosure to prevent others from attempting to enter or interact with the animal.
What Compensation Can You Recover Following a Clearwater Dog Attack?
A dog bite can mean racking up substantial medical bills—not to mention the other suffering you may have to contend with immediately after a dog attack. Just how much compensation can you recover?
At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, our Clearwater dog bite injury lawyers cannot guarantee the compensation you can recover for dog bite injuries. The law does not specify an amount you can recover following a dog attack, and you may have to contend with the dog owner’s insurance policy as you seek compensation. However, you can take a look at the financial damages you should have the right to recover after the attack to give you a better idea of what to expect as you move forward.
Compensation for Any Medical Expenses
Even a minor dog bite can lead to significant medical costs, especially if you have suffered multiple injuries from the dog attack.
You can expect to deal with:
Emergency medical expenses. Dog bites usually involve acute injuries that require immediate medical treatment. Sometimes, you may need an ambulance just to get to the hospital as well as direct care in the emergency room.
Antibiotics to help decrease the risk of infection. Because dog bites have such a high risk of infection, doctors in the emergency room typically prescribe antibiotics along with other emergency treatments.
Follow-up visits with your doctor. You may, for example, have to have stitches removed, or follow up on the wound’s overall healing.
In addition, you may have suffered other injuries in the dog attack. Some dogs have large enough and powerful enough jaws to break bones. In other cases, you might suffer fall-based injuries because the dog knocked you to the ground, including head trauma. If you suffered facial injuries in the attack, you may have to go through plastic surgery as well as your other treatments. All of that medical care can add up substantially.
As part of a dog bite claim, most of the time, the owner will face liability for any medical expenses you faced as a direct result of the attack.
Payment for Lost Wages
Did the dog attack prevent you from going to work right after the accident? Sometimes, dog bite injuries can lead to a long time at home, unable to complete your usual job duties.
Miss work due to inability to use a limb, including your dominant hand, as effectively as usual immediately after the accident
Have to call out of work because you suffered an infection and require additional medical care
Need to miss work due to emotional trauma related to the incident
Miss work because of follow-up appointments, including procedures to treat infection
In extreme cases, dog bite victims may even require physical therapy to regain the full use of an injured limb, which can further increase both medical costs and the wages the patient misses out on during the recovery process. Those lost wages may spell immense financial hardship for the dog bite victim.
At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, our Clearwater lawyers can help you determine what income you have lost as part of the dog bite incident and how to include compensation for those losses as part of your dog bite claim.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Dog attacks can cause immense pain and suffering. Not only do you have the direct pain associated with the dog attack, you may find yourself dealing with the trauma of wondering whether the dog could have exposed you to a dangerous disease, including rabies. Furthermore, dog attacks can cause immense trauma, including PTSD symptoms or increased anxiety any time the victim has to go around a dog for any reason.
For some people, that trauma can prove particularly problematic. In extreme cases, the trauma associated with a dog attack can even prevent people from entering public parks or even beaches, since they may worry about the risk of encountering a dog there.
Talk to the capable Clearwater dog bite attorneys at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys to learn more about how to calculate the pain and suffering you have experienced due to the attack and pursue compensation accordingly.
Who Bears Liability in a Clearwater Dog Attack?
Florida law holds dog owners directly liable for any damage caused by their dogs—including damage caused to other animals as well as injuries caused by the dog.
It does not matter if the dog has attacked in the past.
It does not matter if the dog “usually behaves just fine.”
Ultimately, if a pet owner fails to properly restrain an animal, either in public or on private property, the owner may bear liability for any injuries caused by that animal.
Most of the time, however, dog bite victims will not deal with the dog owner directly. Typically, dog owners will turn the liability discussion over to their insurance company. The insurance company will evaluate the damages sustained by the dog bite victim, as well as how the incident occurred, and pay out compensation based on those losses.
Many dog bite victims, however, discover that insurance companies do not always want to work in their favor as they pursue compensation. Frequently, insurance companies work in their own best interests, which may mean limiting the compensation the company pays out as much as possible. Dog bite victims may find themselves struggling to get the full compensation they may deserve for severe injuries sustained in the dog attack.
Working with a committed dog bite lawyer in Clearwater can help you navigate many of the tactics often used by the insurance company and increase the odds that you will recover the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Insurance companies may try to get you to accept a low settlement offer after your dog attack.
Sometimes, insurance companies—and dog owners—will try to get you to accept a low settlement following the dog attack. The dog’s owner might offer to pay your medical bills, often and only your medical bills, in exchange for going through him and not the insurance company. The insurance company’s offer might reflect only a small percentage of the damages you suffered.
Working with Perenich Law Injury Attorneys can help you pursue the compensation you really deserve.
Do You Need a Clearwater Dog Bite Attorney?
If you suffered injuries in an animal attack, do not try to handle your claim alone. Contact Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today for your free consultation with a Clearwater dog bite lawyer and learn more about your rights following an attack.
Perenich Law injury Attorneys
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