Were you or a loved one injured by a dog in Tampa, FL? Dog attacks can be traumatizing and leave you with disfiguring injuries. Dog bite victims are often entitled to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A Tampa dog bite lawyer at Catania & Catania, P.A. can help you fight to secure the money you need and deserve. We’ve been helping injured clients in the Tampa Bay area get the financial compensation they deserve since 1992. That hard work has paid off–we’ve recovered over $500 million already.
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How Catania & Catania, P.A. Can Help With a Dog Bite Claim in Tampa
Dogs bite for any number of reasons. Even the most well-trained dog can react negatively to a situation and cause serious damage. Sadly, dog bite injuries can have severe consequences for the victim, including puncture wounds, lacerations, and even PTSD. These injuries can leave scars all over the face and body.
If you’re suffering because someone else’s dog bit you, you deserve to be compensated. Our Tampa personal injury lawyers know how much your financial settlement means to your family.
When you hire us, our lawyers will:
- Conduct a full investigation into the attack
- Identify all sources of compensation
- Defend you if the owner blames you for provoking the dog
- Work with experts to calculate the fair value of your personal injury claim
- Negotiate with the insurance companies to maximize your settlement award
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bite injuries. That doesn’t mean getting compensation will be easy. Our personal injury attorneys will use our 28 years of experience and resources to make the at-fault party do the right thing. Call today to learn more about how we can help.
How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries in Tampa?
The American Animal Hospital Association estimates that about five million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. According to the CDC, about 800,000 dog bite victims require medical treatment every year. More than 14,000 are hospitalized for their injuries.
In Florida alone, 1,281 dog bite victims submitted claims to insurance for damages in a single year. That means six out of every 100,000 Floridians filed dog bite injury claims.
These injuries can be expensive to treat. The average cost of treating a dog bite injury in Florida was nearly $44,000 in 2018–down slightly from treatment costs in prior years, but still significant.
What is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
The value of a dog bite case in Tampa depends on a number of different factors. Often, the age of the victim is important. Unfortunately, kids are often the most vulnerable to dog bites. The psychological consequences can be dramatic when a child suffers a serious and painful injury.
Even as an adult, it’s important to factor the emotional trauma of a bite into the value of your case.
Other important factors in determining the value of your injury claim include:
- The severity of the injury
- The cost of your medical treatment
- The duration of your medical care and rehabilitation
- Any permanent disability or disfigurement
- The value of any lost wages and income
You only get one chance to recover the maximum compensation possible. Our lawyers are here to help you fight for every dollar you deserve. Whenever you’re ready, call our law firm for a free consultation.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
After establishing the dog owner’s liability, dog bite victims may be entitled to economic damages for their financial losses and non-economic damages for personal, subjective damage.
Economic damages typically include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and lost future earning potential
- Future medical expenses
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Psychological counseling, especially for children
Non-economic damages compensate victims for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- PTSD, anxiety, or depression
- Disfigurement and scarring
Victims of fatal dog bite injuries can’t fight for themselves. Our lawyers can help their families fight to recover damages for wrongful death.
If you were injured or lost a loved one, reach out to our Tampa dog bite attorneys for legal advice today.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite or Animal Attack in Florida?
Comparative negligence laws in Florida allow injured parties to recover compensation even if they’re partly responsible for an accident. The Florida dog bite law is no different. As the victim, your compensation award can be reduced if the owner can prove you were also negligent.
If your own actions partially caused the dog bite, your settlement can be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault allocated to you. They may blame you for provoking the dog or trespassing on their property.
Of course, allocating blame is never a simple task in these cases. That doesn’t stop insurance companies from trying to avoid responsibility. If you’re being blamed for a dog bite attack, it’s important to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you minimize the consequences.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause serious damage–especially if the victim is a small child.
Some of the most common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Damage to ligaments, muscles, and tendons
- Nerve damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
It’s important to seek medical treatment if you or your child has suffered a dog bite injury. All of these injuries can be dangerous in themselves. If the dog wasn’t properly vaccinated, the risk of infection may be much higher.
How Do I Establish Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Florida?
Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite injuries. That means dog bite victims don’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent to recover damages.
Florida doesn’t follow a “one bite rule” either. Owners can be held responsible even if they had no prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious tendencies and even if the dog had never bitten before.
Under Florida dog bite laws, you can recover damages for dog bite injuries if:
- You can prove the dog bit you
- You were lawfully on private property or in a public space
If both of those things are true, the owner is on the hook for damages even if they weren’t negligent. If the circumstances were different, however, you may be required to establish negligence to recover compensation.
For example, if the dog attacked but did not bite, the strict liability law doesn’t apply. In these cases, you’ll have to prove that the owner failed to exercise reasonable caution under the circumstances.
How Do I Show a Dog Owner was Negligent?
Dog owners might be held liable for negligence if they:
- Failed to keep the dog restrained on a leash while in public
- Failed to keep the dog in a proper enclosure
- Let the dog roam the neighborhood
- Failed to install adequate warning signs indicating the presence of a dangerous dog
In these cases, it can be important to establish whether the owner knew about the dog’s aggressive tendencies. Under Florida dangerous dog laws, owners can face criminal charges if they fail to take proper precautions to prevent a dangerous dog from hurting others.
Can a Dog Owner Escape Strict Liability for Dog Bite Injuries?
There are circumstances where an owner can avoid the strict liability rules if their dog bites another person.
The primary defenses to the strict liability rule in Florida are:
- The victim was at least six years old and the owner had placed a “bad dog” sign prominently on their property
- The victim provoked the dog
- The victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the attack
Even if these factors are relevant to your case, it may still be possible to recover compensation on other grounds. Our experienced dog bite attorneys will evaluate your case for free and help you understand your legal options. Just give us a quick call today to schedule your free case review.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Florida?
You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to take legal action. Most dog bite claims are resolved by filing an insurance claim.
Under Florida law, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit for dog bite injuries. if the victim was a child, you may have more time–but you shouldn’t count on it.
It’s always best to consult a lawyer as soon as possible after a dog bite. At the very least, we can gather and preserve the evidence you’ll need to take legal action.
Contact a Tampa Dog Bite Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured by a dog, it’s always a smart idea to speak with an attorney. At Catania & Catania, P.A., we offer a free consultation, so you don’t have to worry about the cost. Call an experienced Tampa dog bite lawyer to schedule your free initial consultation today.