The Florida Department of Health reports over 600 hospitalizations for dog bite injuries every year. Children under ten are the highest risk for a dog bite or attack. However, dog bite victims can be of any age. If a dog bit you or your child, you should seek assistance from an experienced Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney.
Proudly Serving Lake Magdalene
Our team of skilled Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorneys assists victims by:
- Helping them locate the dog’s owner
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Fighting to ensure you get maximum compensation for damages
- Make sure you can get the appropriate care for recovery
Strict Liability of the Dog Owner
Florida law holds dog owners responsible for their animals’ behavior. There are very few exceptions to the rule. So even if the dog is a dangerous or vicious breed with no previous attack history, the owner will still be accountable for the pet’s actions.
Under Hillsborough County law, dog owners are required to maintain control of their dogs even when they are away from their property. That means the owner is responsible for getting a leash to sustain the dog from getting loose. In addition, the owner will be liable if the dog is restrained and still bites or attacks a person.
One exception to the owner’s liability will be if a person trespasses onto their property. In that case, the dog owner is not responsible for protecting the safety of the trespasser. However, if the subject is a child, that can complicate the issue. If a child under six is bitten or attacked by a dog, the owner is liable no matter what. For children under 6, it doesn’t matter if they were trespassing or not. The owner is still liable for the dog’s attack on the child.
Additionally, owners must post clear signage warning about a dog. Failure to post a visible and legible sign will make the owner liable for a dog bite on any trespasser. If you have questions about your dog bite case, a Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney can help.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Animal Attack in Lake Magdalene
Your priority after a dog bite is to ensure your safety. Don’t do anything to provoke the dog to attack you again, and get away from the dog.
Get immediate medical attention. Some dogs are not vaccinated for rabies or other diseases, and it’s impossible or you to know. In addition, dog bite wounds can easily get infected if not cleaned and treated ASAP. Getting medical care will also create a record of your injuries for evidence purposes.
Call the police or the Hillsborough Animal Control (813) 744-5660 to report the incident. An official police report will be helpful in documenting the facts of the case and serve as evidence for your claim. If you call animal control, they can help locate the dog’s owner and launch an investigation.
If the owner is not present, try to get pictures of the dog, as this will help track down the owner later. Also, take pictures of your injuries for the record and anything relevant to your dog bite claim, such as the location and surroundings where the attack occurred. Finally, if something particular triggered the dog, take a photo of that too.
If the dog owner is there, get their information just like you would after a car accident. Be cordial but try not to share too much. If the owner tries to talk you out of contacting authorities, or offer cash, stay firm and politely assert your rights.
Lastly, be sure to get contact information from any witnesses. Witnesses can be difficult to locate later but can be a strong asset when it comes time to confirm the facts of your case.
If you need legal additional legal advice after a dog bite, consult a Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney.
Compensation for a Dog Bite
Dog bites are unexpected events that can cause pain and trauma no one deserves to go through. Unfortunately, injury victims are left to face medical bills, missed work, emotional anguish, and other losses. As an injury victim, you have a right to seek compensation from the dog owner.
Medical bills add up fast and can quickly overwhelm injury victims. That’s why it’s critical to recovering for all medical expenses related to the dog bite. Without it, you might be in debt and have life-long medical bills to pay off. Your Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney can help you obtain reimbursement for damages like:
- Doctors visits
- Prescription drugs
- Any other medical care related to the dog bite
Many dog bite victims also miss work while recovering from injuries. If so, you can seek compensation or lost wages. Or, if you’re unable to fulfill your job effectively, you could seek compensation for reduced earning capacity.
In addition to the physical pain and discomfort, injury victims will likely experience emotional pain and suffering. A Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney can help you assess the value for this type of non-economic damage and determine a fair value.
A dog bite or animal attack is a traumatic experience. A person could have PTSD from the attack or live with a life-long fear of dogs after the attack. As such, they are entitled to seek recovery for mental and emotional damages.
What if the Injury Victim Is Partially at Fault for the Dog Attack?
Sometimes insurance companies try to intimidate victims to minimize the payout. One tactic they use is saying the victim is partially at fault for the dog attack, especially with children.
Insurance companies often claim children “provoked” a dog by poking or grabbing it. But children are too young to understand that a dog can be dangerous and could harm them. So they usually don’t intentionally provoke a dog.
The laws of Hillsborough County make it clear that even if the injury victim is partially at fault for the attack, they can seek recovery for their injuries. However, your payment might get reduced if you are deemed partially at fault for causing the accident. Even if you did play a role in causing the attack, you are still legally entitled to compensation.
You are not obligated to accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Likewise, if you feel they’ve undervalued your claim or have miscalculated your degree of fault, speak with a Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney. They can negotiate better terms on your behalf, even if you partially caused the attack.
Contact a Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney
Our Lake Magdalene Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorney team understands how painful and traumatic this experience is. That’s why we approach every client with compassion and respect. We also give you the space to grieve and heal while we handle your case.
We offer a free initial consultation, so call us today.