If a dog in Tampa injured you, you might need to hire legal representation. Lawyers usually work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we win your case. Additionally, injury victims with legal counsel usually secure about three to five times more from the settlement than victims without.
It’s Important to Understand That Getting a Lawyer Is Not the Same Thing as “Suing”
A good attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and present the case in a way that the claim can get settled outside of court. In fact, most personal injury claims get settled outside of court without needing a trial.
Therefore, hiring a lawyer does not automatically mean you need to gear up for court or a lengthy legal battle. Instead, you’re simply ensuring your claim will be handled efficiently and you get the maximum compensation.
While there are other things you can do these days independently, representing yourself is not one of them. An attorney is the surest way to accurately evaluate your claim and determine a fair value for your losses. Putting a dollar amount on your settlement is not something you want to guess.
That’s why you need to find an experienced, reliable Tampa dog bite injury attorney. Without one, you’re simply guessing about how much you should seek. You may also lose work time while recovering from a dog bite. If so, you’ll want to claim lost income in your injury claim. But, again, your attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence, including fringe benefits and work reviews.
Dog Bites Often Cause Disfigurement
A victim who faces disfigurement could have a substantial claim for damages. In addition, the permanent disfigurement could add value to their claim due to lost earning potential and other sociological and psychological factors. However, it can be challenging to prove lost earning capacity. Moreover, it’s a specialized topic even for lawyers; accident victims cannot do this alone.
This might be the largest portion of loss an injury victim experiences over the years. Therefore, it’s essential to have an attorney who knows how to present a strong case for you. Lawyers often use their own resources to do things like:
- Gather evidence
- Medical evidence and bills
- Photos of injuries
- Private investigators who can find out the dog’s history
- Retrain medical professionals to summarize all medical evidence related to your bite injury
Clients usually don’t pay anything upfront. Instead, they pay a portion of their award money to their attorney. This is known as a contingency fee. Injury victims who are already struggling to cover medical bills and missed work shouldn’t have to worry about legal fees until the case is resolved with a favorable outcome.
If health insurance or public assistance pays your medical bills, they might want to file third-party claims against the settlement. What they want is reimbursement for paying your medical bills. Those claims usually go directly to the dog owner’s insurance, which then pays the money to third parties. Your attorney can help you handle any third-party claims, so they don’t affect your compensation.
By getting a lawyer sooner rather than later, your attorney can better help you make an accurate estimate of the compensation you can receive. Experienced attorneys know how to collect good evidence and negotiate with insurance companies. The sooner you hire an attorney, the easier the claims process will be.
Dog Bites Happen More Frequently Than You Think
Just because a dog has never attacked you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. In fact, they happen frequently and are often unprovoked. Children are common victims of dog bites or attacks. Even a bite from a small dog can leave a person severely injured.
While a dog can seriously damage any person, adults might be better at fighting off the attack. Most victims are caught by surprise when a dog suddenly gets violent and bites them. It’s important to understand your rights regarding a dog bite injury claim. A Tampa dog bite lawyer can help explain your rights and your options.
Florida Dog Bites Facts
A dog bite injury will result in severe pain and emotional distress. The trauma can follow the injury victim long after the incident.
Here are some facts about dog bite attacks in Florida:
- Younger children are at higher risk for dog bites (ages 1 to 9), and boys have a higher risk than girls
- Children younger than ten years old are more likely to get attacked on the head or neck
- About two Floridians die from dog bite injuries annually
- An additional 600 or more Floridians require hospitalization due to dog bite injuries every year.
Here are some recommendations from the Florida Department of Health after a dog bite:
- Wash the injured area with soap and water. This will help control the bleeding. If it is bleeding profusely, tie the area to slow bleeding.
- Report the accident to the local county health department, police, or animal control.
- Get medical attention ASAP.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?
Recovering from a dog bite is difficult but only part of the struggle. Dog bites don’t only inflict physical damage. They also leave the victim and their families with trauma. The injury victim can live forever with anxiety, fear of dogs, and trauma from the attack.
Dog bite attacks often involve dogs of people, relatives, or families. In that case, a dog bite or attack can divide the family and create even more stress. Even if the attack was an accident, someone must be held accountable.
Sometimes, the dog owner’s negligence is the reason for a dog attack. For example, if the owner knew of the dog’s violent propensity, they should have taken measures to prevent the attack.
Florida law asserts that dog owners are strictly liable for injuries that their dogs inflict. Therefore, with a dog bite injury, you can hold the dog owner accountable for your injuries. Furthermore, you can recover financial compensation from the dog owner.
You don’t need to prove that the dog had a violent temperament, a history of biting, or that the owner was negligent. If the dog bites you, the owner is liable. You might be able to seek compensation through the owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. The exception to this will be if they have a specific exclusion in their policy.
To ensure you get justice for your pain and suffering, hiring a lawyer who can help you navigate the claims process is best. And remember, it’s imperative to get medical treatment after the attack, no matter how minor it seems. The most common problem after a dog bite is an infection, which you can prevent with prompt medical care.
Safety Tips for Adults and Children to Prevent Dog Bites
Dog bites are not minor injuries and should be taken seriously. They often cause serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and leave the victim with life-long scars. Here are some safety tips you can follow to help prevent a dog bite:
- Never leave a young child or infant alone with a dog on another person’s property. You shouldn’t leave them alone with the family pet, either.
- Teach children not to approach or play with dogs unless they have adult supervision.
- Children should learn to tell an adult if they see a stray or unknown dog or if they see an animal behaving unusually.
- Never disturb a dog while they are:
- Caring for puppies
- Do not look a vicious dog straight in the eyes.
- If a dog jumps on you and knocks you over, get in the fetal position. Then protect your face and stay still.
- If you feel that a dog is about to attack you, place a barrier between yourself and the dog. Grab whatever is closest to you.
- Never approach a dog you don’t know or have never seen.
- Don’t run from a dog or scream in a dog’s face.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Tampa Dog Bite Lawyer Today
After experiencing trauma from a dog bite, the last thing you want to do is worry about complex legal issues. However, taking care of it now will make the process go smoother. Additionally, you’ll ensure that you take action within the statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
Our team of experienced Tampa dog bite lawyers has handled numerous cases and knows how to get you the best outcome. We know how challenging this situation can be, especially if a dog attacked your child. That’s why we will treat you with respect and compassion and give you space to grieve and heal. We believe in getting justice for innocent injury victims.
You don’t have to handle this situation alone. We’ll handle all the legal proceedings on your behalf and see you get fair compensation for all your losses. If you have any questions about your dog bite claim, we are happy to answer them and guide you through the process. It’s important for us to make everything as smooth as possible for our clients.
We offer a free initial consultation, so contact us today.