Tampa Bay Dog Bite Attorneys
As experienced dog bite attorneys, we represent victims of vicious animal attacks and their families when owners of dangerous animals put them in harm’s way. Our experienced Tampa Bay dog bite attorneys have handled all types of dog bite lawsuits over the years
Domestic animals, especially dogs trained to be aggressive, are considered to be beloved family members, but when a pet or dog suddenly attacks you, a family member, or a friend, the owner is usually quick to claim they should not be responsible for the animal’s actions.
However, Florida law stipulates that the owner of a pet is liable for all actions taken by their pet. This is true regardless of provocation or prior history. This statute of strict liability provides recourse for victims of animal attacks from dogs to dangerous exotic pets.
Dog bites are the most commonly reported forms of domestic animal attacks in the United States, and they are responsible for hundreds of injuries and deaths across the country each year. Victims of dog bites mistakenly believe that if they were attacked by a dog that had no previous history of violence, they cannot find recourse from the owner for their injuries. However, Florida law states that the owner of a dog or other pet is liable for damages suffered regardless of the animal’s prior history or the owner’s knowledge of potential viciousness.
If you have been injured by a dog, you may be feeling angry. It’s a difficult situation to deal with; being injured from an incident that should have been prevented can leave you with a lot of frustration. We want to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. It’s a tricky situation to deal with and it is so much simpler when you have strong, experienced Tampa Bay dog bite attorneys to guide you through the legal process. Let us talk you through what you need to know during a free consultation.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
There are many scenarios in which your dog bite may have occurred. We see a lot of people come to us who have pretty awful injuries from a particularly vicious animals. Of course, if you get tripped up on the animal while it is attacking, you could have injuries that are similar to victims of trip and fall cases. Dog bite injuries include but are not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Rabies infection
- Nerve damage
- Joint displacement
- Bruising and cuts
- Fear of dogs in the future
The last injury mentioned is quite common if the victim of the attack was a child. After having been seriously injured by a dog, that person could go the rest of their lives being afraid of dogs. When deciding upon an amount of compensation to ask the insurance company for, we take all of your injuries (both physical and psychological) into account. We want to make sure you are prepared for what the future will hold for you after this attack.
Moreover, Florida is fast becoming home to a growing population of exotic and non-native pets. In addition to posing a threat to the local ecosystem, these pets can seriously harm those who are not familiar with their behaviors. If you or a family member has been injured by an exotic pet, such as a species of python, venomous snake, or other animal or reptile, the owner retains liability for the attack, and you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages.
How Dog Bite Compensation Works in Florida
Florida follows the rules of comparative negligence, which means that, if you played a part in causing your dog bite, even accidentally, your compensation may be reduced. Suppose you were walking your dog and out comes another dog barreling from someone’s unlocked gate. You would have been a complete innocent bystander in that situation and that would not warrant any reduction in compensation. However, if you were walking into a friend’s home and accidentally stepped on the dog’s paw and it attacked you, that might cause you to be deemed partially at fault. If you were deemed 20% at fault while being awarded $1,000 for your injuries, your award would be reduced to $800. Luckily, the laws in Florida allow you to receive compensation even if you are 99% at fault. We work hard to keep you from bearing any fault at all, but it is nice to know that you won’t be barred from receiving an award unless you were the sole cause of the attack which almost never happens.
There are several very important steps that need to happen in order to protect your case and ensure that it is going to be successful.
- Seek Medical Attention – This might seem obvious, but it’s easy for people to try to logic with themselves about not seeking medical attention. With a dog bite, there is a particularly heightened danger with not seeing a doctor. You need to ask the owner of the dog if it’s up to date on rabies vaccinations. If you don’t find that out or get to the doctor and treat it preemptively, you run the risk of infection. It’s also common for there to be scarring, so if you leave your wounds untreated, you could be risking having really serious scarring that could be a disfigurement.
- Collect Evidence – At the scene of the incident, you want to collect as much information as possible. You can take photos and videos of the scene and your injuries. You will want to talk to the owner and ask about rabies vaccinations, and if the dog has ever done this before. There may also be witnesses that you’ll want to get information from. When you’re there, you should call the police to file a report of the incident so they can collect information as well. You will be able to use all of this evidence and information to strengthen your case.
- Avoid the Insurance Company – There is going to be someone assigned to your case from the insurance company and their job is going to be to call you and get a recorded statement from you. What you need to know is that you have absolutely no legal obligation to speak to them. They might sound pleasant and helpful, but they’re trained to get answers from you that would make you sound at fault for the incident. To avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation, tell them that they can talk to your attorney if they have any questions
- Hire an Attorney – Hiring an attorney, as you may have gathered, is especially important to do if you want to have a successful case. They will protect you from the insurance company, fight for your right to compensation, and make sure everything stays on track to get you the best possible result.
Call Our Tampa Bay Dog Bite Attorneys Today
If you are looking for compensation for your injuries, please call our Tampa Bay dog bite attorneys today to set up a free consultation. We will make sure that you have the best chance possible to get the award you deserve.