A Dog Bit You In Tampa. Now What?
Did a friend’s pit bull or a neighbor’s dog bite you? You may wonder what your next steps are. Do you need to go to the doctor? Can you sue the dog’s owner? Who pays your medical expenses? Should you hire a Tampa dog bites attorney?
We have the information you need about dog bite attacks and the law in Tampa.
What is a Dog Bite Attack?
A dog bite attack is when a dog bites you and you are injured. It does not have to be a vicious dog or a dangerous dog. Any dog bite counts. A dog bite could cause minor bruising, bleeding, or swelling. Dog bites can also cause serious injuries, such as puncture wounds, deep tissue damage, or disfigurement. Even minor wounds can become serious. Bacteria can get into the wound and cause infection.
How Often Do Dog Bite Attacks Occur?
Every year, there are about 4.7 million dog bites. 800,000 of those dog bites require visits to the hospital.
According to the Florida Department of Health, over 600 dog bite victims in Florida end up in the emergency room. Two of those victims die each year.
These statistics are alarming and raise questions about Florida’s dog bite laws.
Depending on the injuries, a dog bite attack could lead to medical expenses, time off work, and long-term effects.
How Serious Are Dog Bite Injuries?
Although many dog bites are minor, they can cause serious injuries. Here are some potential effects of dog bites.
- Permanent tissue or nerve damage
- Long-term loss of function.
If you are the victim of a dog bite, seek medical attention right away. Some symptoms or problems may take time to show. Getting medical treatment right away could keep your injuries from becoming life-threatening.
The Law for Dog Bite Attacks and Injuries in Tampa
If a dog bit you, you may wonder about your legal options. Here are some commonly asked questions about dog bite attacks.
- Can you sue the dog owner for your injuries?
- Who pays for your medical expenses?
- Are your injuries covered by homeowner’s insurance?
- What if your dog has bitten somebody?
Our Tampa Personal Injury team has the answers to all these questions. We break down all the legal information you should know.
Who is Responsible for My Dog Bite Injuries?
If you have injuries from a dog bite, Florida’s dog bite statute makes the dog owner responsible if:
- The dog bites someone
- In a public place or in a private place where the victim is allowed to be.
Under the dog bite law, it does not matter if the owner knew or should have known that the dog might bite someone. The owner has to pay for any medical bills or time off work because of the dog bite.
Most dog bite cases are brought against the dog owner. There are rare cases where a dog bite case is handled by an insurance company if the case is covered by insurance.
Are Dog Bites Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?
Some homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bite injuries in certain situations. Some policies will cover dog bite injuries to another on the insured property. An example would be if someone is invited to a home and the owner’s dog bites them. A Tampa Dog Bite Attorney can look at your case and find out if your dog bite claim would be covered under the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
Help! I Was the Victim of a Dog Bite Attack. What Should I Do?
If someone’s dog bit you, there are a few steps that our Tampa Bay dog bite attorneys recommend you take.
- Seek medical attention. Seek medical treatment for any dog bite injuries. Document these injuries for the future.
- Contact the police and file a police report. Call the police to report the incident. Get a copy of the police report.
- Get the dog owner’s information. Write down the dog owner’s name, address, phone number, and relevant insurance policy information.
- Write down as many details as possible. Take note of the location, the time, and what happened right before the attack.
- Take photographs. Photograph your injuries, the dog, and the location.
- Contact a Tampa dog bite attorney ASAP. An Tampa dog bite attorney can advise you about your next steps and your legal options.
My Dog Bit Someone. Do I Have Any Defenses?
If your dog bit someone, you may wonder if you have any defenses to Florida’s dog bite law.
If your dog bit somebody, a Tampa Bay dog bites attorney can advise you of your options. In addition, there are a few defenses that a Tampa Bay personal injury attorney can present for you.
The Dog Bite Victim was Trespassing
Florida’s dog bite statute requires that the dog bite happened on public property or on private property while the victim was lawfully present. If the person was trespassing when the dog bite happened, you are not responsible for his or her injuries.
If the other party was partly at fault, this is called comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a partial defense to a dog bite case. If someone is partly to blame for the dog attack, this can reduce the amount of money you must pay. Examples include the victim provoking the dog into biting or failing to take note of clearly-posted warning signs.
Should I Hire a Dog Bites Attorney to Represent Me?
If you are the victim of a dog bite attack, you may wonder if you should hire a dog bite lawyer to represent you. The answer is yes. Whether you are filing suit against the dog owner or dealing with a homeowner’s insurance policy, you need a Tampa Bay personal injury attorney. A Tampa Bay dog bites attorney has the legal knowledge and experience to help make the best case for you. An attorney will ensure you get the recovery you deserve.
What Can a Dog Bite Attorney Do for Me?
It is frustrating to deal with the legal system or an insurance company on your own. A Tampa dog bites attorney will be by your side each step of the way. An attorney represents you at all stages of the legal process.
If you are the defendant, a dog bites attorney can use knowledge of Florida’s dog bite law to defend you and reduce the amount you may be ordered to pay.
What Can I Expect in My Dog Bite Case?
If you are a dog bite attack victim, the legal process for obtaining a recovery can be lengthy and draining.
Dog Bite Consultation and Evaluation
First, consult a personal injury attorney to evaluate your case. Your attorney will decide if you should bring suit against the dog’s owner. If your injuries are covered by insurance, your attorney will help you file a claim. You even may be able to negotiate a settlement and avoid a trial.
If the case does not settle, your attorney will file suit against the proper person. Before trial, each party will conduct discovery.
The other party’s attorney may request you to do a few things.
- Submit current and previous medical records.
- Attend and Independent Medical Examination (IME) to verify or dispute your injuries.
- Ask you to answer questions under oath in a deposition.
Your attorney will give you advice about what to do during the discovery phase.
A trial will involve presenting the case to a judge or a jury. Each side will present relevant evidence and call any witnesses. The judge or jury decides who is responsible and how much money one party owes the other.
Your Tampa Bay dog bites attorney will be with you every step of the way during your claim. Your attorney will ensure that you are well aware of your options and rights. If you are the defendant, your attorney will find the best defenses and locate inconsistencies in the other person’s case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite Attack in Tampa?
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your case may be thrown out or dismissed. Contact a Tampa Bay personal injury attorney to make sure you meet the deadline.
Contact a Tampa Bay Dog Bites Attorney for a Free Consultation!
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Tampa Bay, you need a personal injury attorney to represent you. Our Tampa Bay personal injury attorneys defend clients in Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, and other cases. We use our experience to make the best dog bite claim for you or your loved one.
Contact our Tampa law firm for a free consultation. We will give you advice about your next steps. We let you know what to expect while we make a winning case. Don’t face the legal system or insurance companies alone. Let us work with you to get what you deserve.