Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys

First Steps After Being Attacked by a Dog

In the split of an eye, man’s best friend can become man’s worst enemy. If you or your child were seriously injured by a dog attack, contact the experienced Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys to hold the owners responsible for their negligence. We will fight for you and your family to earn the maximum.

Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys

In a matter of seconds, a dog can cause severe damage during an attack and no longer be man’s best friend. If you or your child were seriously injured in a dog attack, contact the experienced Tampa dog bite attorneys to hold the owners responsible for their negligence. We will fight for you and your family to earn the maximum compensation available.

Read Our FREE Dog Bite Guide

After a dog bite, one of the first things to do is seek prompt medical attention. Often times dog’s mouths have harmful bacteria and those bites need to be treated differently than let’s say a laceration you might receive from a car accident or slip and fall. Also there should be a concern as to whether or not the dog has had all its vaccination and shots. That is something that needs to be looked into very quickly.

There are times the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement will get involved. Therefore it is very important that you not only notify the dog owner or whoever is taking care of the dog, but also the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement to have them properly investigate the dog bite.

Compensation from the Liable Party

There are a few things that are important in terms of dog bite injuries that we advise our clients who want compensation. First of all, the severity of the injury. Secondly, the care that is provided in treatment of those injuries. Thirdly, whether the injuries will leave any sort of permanent scarring. Often times an individual bit by a dog is either bit on the hand or the leg and those scars are going to be visible for a lifetime. Many times there is permanent scar damages from those injuries. All of this will go into determining the value of your dog bite claim. If there is scarring, that is a huge part of getting compensation. It is a very upsetting and constant reminder of the attack.

In Florida, there is a statute that holds dog owners strictly liable, you don’t need to prove negligence in their handling of the dog. They will be strictly liable for any damages caused by the dog, including medical bills and scarring which should have you feeling relieved. The compensation will come regardless. It’s a lot easier than some states have it where they have to fight to prove that the owner was liable and fight to prove that you were not.

The way you actually get compensation is through the liable party’s insurance. When we investigate a dog bite claim and find out that the owner does not have any insurance or assets, we can determine that it’s not practical or not cost effective to prosecute a claim for a dog bite. In that case we advise the client that they really do not have a claim that’s cost effective to pursue. Most people, however do have insurance, and those are the companies that we will fight to get compensation from and we will not let them bully you.

Questions for the Dog Owner

After a dog bite, the owner of the dog may not be very cooperative and perhaps be quite defensive and outright refuse to talk to you. There is important information you need to try to get from the owner that if they don’t give, they will eventually be forced to give. First of all, you need to know if the dog has its shots. Secondly, you may want to report the information to animal protective services. They may want to come out and do their own investigation. Often times this can be helpful to us.

If the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement comes out and does an investigation, they’ll look into the history of the dog, where the dog came from, whether it was involved in any another aggressive incidents, whether the dog has vicious propensities, where the dog owner got the dog, how long the owner has had the dog, and whether he was aware of the vicious propensities. All this information is very valuable. So the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement can be very helpful to your Tampa dog bite attorneys in prosecuting your dog bite case.

Challenges with Filing a Claim

To reiterate, in Florida there is a statute that holds a dog owner to be strictly liable for any damages caused by a dog bite. In some states they have a one-bite rule. If a dog attacks the mailman, that state would say, “well, that’s the owner’s first notice that the dog had vicious propensities”. Therefore, the owner is not liable for that first bite because they had no notice that the dog had vicious propensities.

Fortunately, Florida is not one of those states. They have a statute that says that the owner is strictly liable for the economic damages. In the case of a dog bite, one of the things you want to do is first of all is find out who owned the dog. Take a picture of the dog if you can. You’ll want to report the dog bite to the facility or the owner where the dog bite occurred. You may want to make some notes about what you were doing because there may be a claim that you were taunting the dog or you were trespassing. One of the key questions is if you were on the person’s property when the dog bit you. If so, were you there with the owner’s permission? All of this matters very much.

You may actually find out that the dog has bitten other individuals. This would be something very relevant to the negligence of the owner because they knew that this dog had vicious propensities as a result of them biting other people. Another thing you might want to do is talk to people that routinely go on the property. For example, the mailman or the newspaper boy, you may find that some of them have been bitten or snapped at. This all will help in prosecuting your claim against the owner of the dog.

Aggressive Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Florida, contact our experienced Tampa dog bite attorneys to fight for you. You deserve compensation for your damages. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and set up your free consultation. We are happy to help you in pursuing your claim.

Our Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions:

  • In Florida there is a statute that holds a dog owner to be strictly liable for any damages caused by a dog bite. In some states they have a one-bite rule. If a dog attacks the mailman, that state would say, “well, that’s the owner’s first notice that the dog had vicious propensities”. Therefore, the owner is not liable for that first bite because they had no notice that the dog had vicious propensities. Fortunately, Florida is not one of those states. They have a statute that says that the owner is strictly liable for the economic damages.In the case of a dog bite, one of the things you want to do is first of all is find out who owned the dog. Take a picture of the dog if you can. You’ll want to report the dog bite to the facility or the owner where the dog bite occurred. You may want to make some notes about what you were doing because there may be a claim that you were taunting the dog or you were trespassing. One of the key questions is if you were on the person’s property when the dog bit you. If so, were you there with the owner’s permission?You also want to notify animal protection. They will come out and investigate. You may actually find out that the dog has bitten other individuals. This would be something very relevant to the negligence of the owner because they knew that this dog had vicious propensities as a result of them biting other people.Another thing you might want to do is talk to people that routinely go on the property. For example, the mailman or the newspaper boy, you may find that some of them have been bitten or snapped at. This all will help in prosecuting your claim against the owner of the dog.

What Questions Should I Ask the Owner of the Dog?

  • First of all, ask if the dog has had its shots, and then report the information to animal protective services, they may want to come out and do an investigation.  This can be very helpful to the lawyer if animal protective services comes out and does an investigation, they’ll look into the history of the dog, where the dog came from, an whether it was involved in any other incidents were it bit someone.

What Should I Do if the Owner of the Dog Refuses to Provide Information?

  • After a dog bite, the owner of the dog may not be very cooperative.  It’s a good idea to get animal protective services involved and they will investigate the accident and find out information relevant to your claim.

Is the Dog’s Owner Responsible for the Attack?

  • If an individual is attacked by a dog, the owner of that dog is strictly liable for any damages suffered by the individual that was bitten. In order to collect monies for scarring, it’s very important that we’re able to point out that the dog had vicious propensities. It’s important as to whether that person knew of the vicious propensities of the dog and kept it away from people. So the negligence of the person in charge of the dog is also very important.

Animal Liability Exclusion Clause

  • Normally when we talk about insurance coverage for dog bite cases, we’re talking about homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance.  One of our concerns when we contact the insurance company or the individual whose dog caused the dog bite is whether or not their insurance policy has an animal liability exclusion policy. Most homeowners and renter’s insurance are including animal liability exclusion clauses in their home owner’s and renter’s policies.  This means that they are excluding any coverage for dog bites, dog bite injuries and dog bite damages under that policy.  Sometimes there are exclusions to certain breeds or it’s a blanket exclusion for all dogs residing with the owner.  It’s very important we discover early on whether there is an animal liability exclusion policy in the dog owner’s, homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

How do I Know If I have a Case?

  • When people come into our office with a dog bite case one of the things we’re looking at is the extent of the injuries. If the injuries are extensive, the next thing we look at is the history of the dog.  In Florida, there is a statute that holds dog owners strictly liable, you don’t need to prove negligence in their handling of the dog.  They will be strictly liable for any damages caused by the dog, including medical bills and scarring.  .

Can Someone Other Than the Owner be Responsible?

  • Absolutely. If a dog owner lives in an apartment building or rental property, and the owner of that home has knowledge of the presence of the animal and the vicious propensities.  That individual can also be held responsible for the dog bite victim’s injuries and damages.

The Dog that Bit Me has Never Attacked Anyone.

  • In that case it’s important to know that in the state of Florida there are statutes that make the dog owners strictly liable for any injuries and damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether that dog has ever bitten anyone before.  It’s very important that you go seek out competent Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys to investigate even if the owner tells you the dog has never bitten anyone else, or displayed any sort of vicious propensities prior.

The Dog Owner Doesn’t Have Insurance

  • When we investigate a dog bite claim and find out that the owner does not have any insurance or assets, we can determine that it’s not practical or not cost effective to prosecute a claim for a dog bite.  In that case we advise the client that they really do not have a claim that’s cost effective to pursue.In Florida, this state has statute allowing protection for homestead exemptions.

Do I Have a Claim if My Pet was Injured by a Dog?

  • One of the things that’s important to remember in Florida is that animals are treated as property and they are handled like a property damage claim. For example, if you’ve got a Yorkshire Terrier that you paid a thousand dollars for and as a result of a dog bite the dog needs extensive veterinary care, their insurance company and any attorney involved for the dog owner will argue that you are limited in your recovery to the value of your dog. In this case they will argue a $1,000 is enough even though the bills may greatly eclipse that.  It’s a law their trying to change in Florida, but currently the state of law is that animals are treated as chattel or property and thus the damages you can recover for injuries to your pet as a result of veterinary bills is limited to the value of your dog.

Read Our FREE Dog Bite Guide

Aggressive Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Florida, contact our experienced Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys to fight for you.