Tampa Dog Bite Attorney
The attorneys of Bulluck Law Group help victims of dog bite attacks by helping find the dog’s owner, collecting the evidence of the case, and fighting to get victims the compensation they need. Our Tampa dog bite attorney works tirelessly to interview neighbors and witnesses and to see that you get the care you need to recover from your attack.
According to the Florida Department of Health, over 600 Florida residents require hospitalization for dog bite injuries each year. Children under ten years old have the greatest risk of being attacked, but attacks can happen to people of any age. If you or your child are attacked and bitten by a dog, the attorneys of the Bulluck Law Group are Tampa dog bite attorneys with the commitment and expertise you need.
Dog Owner’s Responsibility
Florida law makes clear that dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their dog with only a few minor exceptions. Even if the dog has never attacked anyone before and is not from a breed recognized as frequently dangerous, if a dog bites someone, the owner is responsible.
Hillsborough County law requires dog owners to have continuous, direct control over their dog when not on the owner’s property. This means they must have a leash strong enough to restrain the dog at all times. However, even if the dog is properly restrained, the owner is responsible if the dog bites or attacks someone.
Dog owners may not be liable for attacks on trespassers in their yard under certain circumstances. Dog owners are responsible for dog bites to children under six years of age, even if they were trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack. Additionally, if the owner does not have a sign up in a prominent that is clearly readable and includes the words “Bad Dog”, they will be liable for any dog bites suffered by trespassers over the age of five, as well.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
First, do not take any action that might risk having the dog come back to attack you again. Ensure your own safety before taking any other steps.
Seek medical attention immediately following a dog bite. Not all dogs have had rabies and other vaccinations, and puncture wounds from dog bites can become seriously infected if not treated promptly. Seeking medical treatment also helps document your injuries.
Call the police to report the attack. Getting a police report will help document the facts of the case and provide valuable information for your claim. You may also call animal control. They may start an investigation of the incident or help locate the dog’s owner if he or she is not present. In Tampa and Hillsborough County, you can file a report online on their website or call them at 813-744-5660.
If the owner is not with the dog, try to get a picture of the dog to help track down the owner later. Take pictures of your injuries before receiving medical treatment to help document the exact nature of your injuries. If something may have triggered the dog’s attack, try to get a picture of that, as well.
If the owner is with the dog, exchange information as you would at the scene of a car accident. Get the owner’s name, address, and contact information, and give him or her yours. Keep the conversation cordial but try not to discuss the attack with the owner at this time. If the owner wants to talk you out of calling the police or animal control or offers you cash to “take care of things,” politely yet firmly decline.
Try to get the names of witnesses to the attack. Witnesses can be hard to track down later but can be a valuable source confirming the facts of your case. Ask for the name, address, and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the attack.
Compensation for Dog Bites
Dog attacks are painful, traumatic events that require expensive medical treatment, lost time from work, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. You have the right to seek compensation for these expenses from the dog owner.
Medical expenses add up quickly. You can seek compensation for hospital or emergency room costs, doctor bills, the cost of prescription drugs, and any other medical expenses related to your attack.
While you recover from your injury, you may miss significant time from work. You can seek compensation for the wages you lose due to your injury. Additionally, if your injury prevents you from being as effective in your job as you were previously, you may seek compensation for diminished earning capacity.
Dog bites are extremely painful, and the puncture wounds from a bite often take weeks to heal. You have the right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experience because of your dog bite. Your Tampa dog bite attorney will negotiate the compensation for your pain and suffering from the dog owner’s insurance company. If your case goes to trial, the court will determine the compensation for pain and suffering.
Few things are as mentally and emotionally traumatic as being attacked and injured by a dog. You may also seek compensation for the mental and emotional suffering you experience from your dog attack. The amount of compensation is determined similarly to physical pain and suffering.
What if I’m Partly to Blame for the Dog Bite?
Insurance companies often try to intimidate victims into accepting a low settlement offer by pointing to something you may have done to cause the dog to attack you. This may be especially true for children who are victims of a dog attack. Children may incite a dog to attack by taking a toy or doing something that seems threatening to a dog. However, children often fail to realize how a dog will react to their behavior and may not intentionally be trying to anger the dog.
The Florida laws regarding dog attacks make clear that even if you or your child were partly to blame for the dog attack, you still deserve compensation for your injuries. If the court finds that the victim of a dog bite contributed to the biting incident, your compensation may be reduced.
As an example, if a person was taunting a dog as they walked by and the dog attacked, the court may find the victim contributed to their dog bite. The court will determine the percentage the victim contributed to the attack. In this example, the court may decide that the victim was 10% responsible for the attack. If the total damages in the case were $100,000, the victim’s compensation would be reduced by the 10% the court found they contributed to the attack. The victim would still receive $90,000 in this case.
However, even if you contributed to the dog attack, you cannot be denied receiving any compensation solely because you were partly responsible. Nor do you have to accept the insurance company’s determination of your degree of responsibility for the attack. You are still entitled to fair compensation even if you did something that contributed to the dog bite.
Call Bulluck Law Group
The attorneys of the Bulluck Law Group understand that you have suffered a painful, traumatic injury. We treat each client with care and respect. Call the Bulluck Law Group and let us schedule a free evaluation of your case. We will hear you out and listen to your side of the story. Your Tampa dog bite attorney will give you an honest assessment of your case and the compensation you may be entitled to. The Bulluck Law Group’s no-recovery, no-fee promise means you will never owe a dime unless your attorney gets you a settlement or wins a verdict on your behalf. Put our experience to work for you today.