Have you or someone you love been the victim of a brutal animal attack? Lorenzo & Lorenzo’s Florida personal injury attorneys vow to aggressively fight for your rights.
Dogs may be called man’s best friend, but they are still animals, and their human owners are ultimately responsible for their behavior.
When a dog’s owner fails to properly restrain a pet and that pet attacks, its owner may be held liable for damages under Florida’s Dog Bite Law Statute 767.04 .
Tampa’s expert personal injury attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo understand that animal attack cases are one of the few instances in which the defendant can be held strictly responsible for the injuries inflicted on another person, regardless of the animal’s prior displays of aggression or the owner’s knowledge of such violence. This means that victims who file a dog bite injury lawsuit in Florida are often granted compensation.
A dog or animal attack can be a terrifying experience that results in long-lasting, catastrophic injuries and a difficult healing process. Once you have sought out medical assistance, you should immediately contact a Tampa dog bite lawyer to discuss your case.
Let us fight for justice in your animal attack case.
5 Steps to Take After a Dog Bite/Animal Attack
The moments following an attack by a dog or other animal are petrifying. You may be suffering from shock and be scared of another attack. In the wake of such a vicious attack, here are the logical steps you should take to ensure your safety, health and legal rights:
- Step #1: Find help. If you are unable to fend off the attack yourself, yell for help from nearby people. Once the dog has been chased away or restrained, evaluate your injuries. If the bite requires immediate medical attention, call an ambulance or go to an emergency room as soon as possible. To reduce risk of infection, you should consult your physician or another medical expert.
- Step #2: Locate the responsible animal and owner. Next, you, a friend or family member, or an eyewitness should identify the dog/animal responsible for the attack and determine how its owner can be found. Identifying the animal and the owner is not only important to help prevent another attack, but it’s also essential to receiving payment from the responsible owner’s insurance company.
- Step #3: Report the incident. Inform your local animal control agency or law enforcement of the attack. Give them a detailed description of the dog, as well as the owner’s name and address.
- Step #4: Take pictures. As soon as it is safe to do so, take pictures (or have someone take them for you) of the bite wounds and other injuries inflicted by the animal. Also photograph any torn or blood-soaked clothing, as well as the scene of the attack. Visual documentation of the animal is also recommended if possible.
- Step #5: Contact an expert dog bite injury law firm. Due to the nature of animal attack cases, it is important that you consult with a local personal injury attorney who has a high level of experience in these specific types of cases. The attorney should have a thorough understanding of Florida Dog Bite Law, strict liability, and what parties can be held responsible for a dog bite attack (including the caretaker, landlords, residential and commercial property owners).
NOTE: You should never provide an insurance company information about your animal attack experience or injuries, or sign any document, without first consulting with your attorney. The insurance company’s primary goal is to use this information against you to minimize your claim or get you to agree to a low settlement offer. In Florida, experienced animal attack attorneys can seek full compensation for the total damages to which you are entitled.
What Can I Sue for in a Dog Bite Case?
Calculating the total damages in your Florida dog bite or animal attack lawsuit will vary depending on the details of your claim. The final settlement amount will be determined based on whether it can be proven that the animal owner’s negligence caused the victim to experience the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Hospital/Emergency Room costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
- Punitive damages
- Lifestyle changes
- Reduced earning capacity
When Children Are Attacked
Due their smaller size and greater helplessness when confronted by an aggressive animal, children are regrettably the most common victims of serious and deadly dog attacks. When a child or minor is grievously injured or fatally wounded in an animal attack, the parents can choose to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent dog owner for damages like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and funeral costs.
While compensation will never make right the permanent physical and emotional scarring such an attack on your child leaves behind, it will help you and your family recover financially from such a tragedy.
Dog Bite Attack Statistics
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that there are 70-80 million pet dogs in the United States, which can be found in about 37-47% of all American households. Considering just how many dogs there are in this country, it’s no wonder that run-ins between canine and human are so common.
- Over 50 percent of dog attack victims are adults ages 21 and older, while children 11 years and younger account for 42% of animal attacks. Of the child fatalities in dog attack cases, 68% are children at or under the age of one.
- Based on research, the dog breeds most responsible for disfiguring injuries and deaths are: Akitas, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. (In 2015, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 91% of all dog bite-related fatalities.)
- An estimated 1,000 Americans are submitted to emergency centers each day for dog-inflicted injuries.
- You have a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog in your lifetime if you live in the U.S.
- Over 700 U.S. cities have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid 1980s.
Should I Sue?
If you are asking yourself “Should I consider suing for a dog bite injury?” and the attack resulted in significant loss of time and/or money, the answer is yes. However, practically speaking, it is important for you to also consider the costs of filing a lawsuit and hiring an attorney to determine if pursuing a claim is worth your money, hassle and time. In certain cases, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a fair settlement without ever having to file a suit, but it is important that you are fully prepared to pursue legal recourse against the defendant to the full extent of the law.
Contact an Expert Tampa Animal Attack Lawyer
Because of Florida’s statute of limitations, it is important that you act now to pursue your claim before your chance passes. Start by letting the expert dog bite injury attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo evaluate your case and determine how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have a distinguished reputation for giving each client personal attention and skilled representation. Our bilingual staff is available 24/7. Schedule your free consultation today.