The Responsibility of the Dog Owner
Florida law states dog owners are responsible for their pet’s behavior with some exceptions. Even if the dog is not a breed that’s considered dangerous, and the pet never attacked anyone before, the owner is responsible if the dog bites someone.
Hillsborough County law mandates dog owners have constant control of their dog when they’re away from their property. This means they need to have a leash that’s strong enough to hold the dog back at all times. However, the owner is responsible if the dog is properly restrained but still bites or attacks someone.
Under certain circumstances, dog owners may not be responsible for trespassers who are attacked in their yard. It’s a different situation when children are involved. Dog owners are liable for bites suffered by kids under six years old even if they were trespassing. If the owner doesn’t have a prominent and legible “Beware of Dog” sign, they will be responsible for bites to trespassers of any age.
What Should I Do if a Dog Bites Me?
First, you should not do anything to provoke the dog to attack you again. Make sure you are safe before taking any other steps.
Get medical treatment immediately following a dog attack. Not all dogs are vaccinated for rabies and other diseases. Puncture wounds from a dog bite can become seriously infected if not treated right away. Getting medical attention also creates a record of your injuries.
Call the police to report a dog bite attack. Obtaining a police report will help log the facts of the case and offer valuable details 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.
You may also contact animal control to start an investigation or help find the dog’s owner if they aren’t around. You can file a report in Hillsborough County on this website or call at 813-744-5660.
If the owner is not present, try to get pictures of the dog to help track the owner down later. Take photos of your injuries before seeking medical treatment to help record the exact nature of your injuries. If the dog was triggered by something, try to get a photo of that, too.
If the owner is present, exchange information just as you would at the scene of a Car Accident. Write down the owner’s name, address, and contact information. Give them all your contact information in return. Be nice, but try not to talk to the owner about the attack. If they try to convince you not to call the authorities or offer you cash as compensation, firmly and politely decline.
Try to collect the names of people who saw the attack. Witnesses can be difficult to find later, but they can be a great resource to confirm the facts in your case. Request the names, addresses, and contact information of bystanders who may have seen the attack.
Dog Bite Compensation
Dog attacks are traumatic and painful. These events lead to costly medical treatment, lost work time, as well as emotional and physical pain and suffering. You have the right to reimbursement for these expenses from the dog’s owner.
Medical bills can add up fast. You can request compensation for emergency room or hospital costs, doctor bills, prescription drug costs, and other medical expenses related to your attack.
While you recover from a dog bite, you may miss substantial time from work. You can ask for compensation for lost wages. If your injury hinders your ability to do your job effectively, you may request reimbursement for diminished earning capacity.
Dog bites are painful, and puncture wounds often take a lot of time to heal. You have the right to compensation for the suffering and pain you’re experiencing. Your dog bite attorney in Redington Beach will negotiate compensation from the dog owner’s insurance company for your suffering and pain. If the case goes to trial, the court will rule on your compensation.
Being attacked and injured by a dog can be a traumatic experience. You may also seek compensation for mental and emotional suffering. The amount of reimbursement will be determined similar to your physical pain and suffering.
What if I’m Partially at Fault for the Dog Attack?
Often, insurance companies attempt to intimidate victims into accepting a lower settlement by pointing to something they did to cause the dog attack. This maneuver may be particularly valid for kids who become dog attack victims.
Children may provoke a dog attack by grabbing a toy or doing something else the dog perceives as a threat. However, kids usually don’t understand how a dog might react to their behavior and may not be trying to anger the dog intentionally.
Florida law regarding dog attacks makes it clear that even if you (or your child) were partially at fault for the dog attack, you still deserve reimbursement for your injuries. You may get a reduced payment if the court rules you contributed to the incident.
For example, if someone was taunting a dog as they walked by, then the dog attacked, the court may determine the victim contributed to the dog bite and come up with a fault percentage. In this case, the court may rule the victim was 10% responsible. If damages in the case added up to $100,000, the victim’s share would be reduced by 10%. So they would receive $90,000.
But, even if you played a role in the dog attack, you can’t be denied compensation just because you were partially at fault. You also do not have to accept the insurance company’s calculation of your degree of responsibility. You remain entitled to fair compensation even if your actions contributed to the attack.
Call the Dog Bite Attorneys at Bulluck Law Group
The team at Bulluck Law Group understands you have gone through a painful and traumatic experience. We treat all of our clients with respect and care. Call the dog bite attorneys at Bulluck Law Group in Tampa to schedule a free evaluation. We will listen to your story and assess your case and potential compensation.
Our No Recovery, No Fee Promise means you don’t owe us anything unless your lawyer gets a settlement or wins a verdict. We can put our expertise to work for you today!