Many people have loving pets, so when a dog bites you it normally comes as a shock. Unfortunately, there are dangerous dogs that pose a significant risk to Tampa residents. A severe dog bite could be physically and mentally traumatizing. You may even require extensive and costly medical treatment.
Unfortunately, these types of accidents often leave victims in pain, facing medical expenses, and stressed about not knowing what to do next.
If you suffered harm after a dog attack, you should ask an experienced personal injury attorney whether you have ground to file a lawsuit. Working with a Tampa dog bite lawyer could help you obtain sufficient compensation from the at-fault parties.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks can cause a wide range of injuries depending on the breed and viciousness of the pet. Typically, these types of injuries are assessed and categorized on a six-level scale. The six levels of dog bite injuries are:
- Level One: Intimidation bite that makes no contact with skin
- Level Two: Contact with skin, but the bite does not puncture
- Level Three: A few teeth causing shallow punctures of the skin
- Level Four: Multiple deep punctures from a single bite with bruising
- Level Five: Several bites of level four severity or multiple attacks
- Level Six: Attack resulting in the death of the victim
You may have experienced a first- or second-level bite at some point in your life, but if a dog punctures your skin, the outcome can be severe. Most civil cases for dog attacks consist of third-level bites and higher.
Fortunately, level six bites very rarely occur, though they are still possible. A local dog bite attorney could help you assess the severity of your injury to determine the amount of compensation that may be available to you.
If a Dog Attacks Me in a Park, Could I Sue the Owner?
Under state law, the owner of the dog is responsible for damages if their pet bites someone. As long as you were not trespassing or provoking the dog, you could have a valid case.
In some instances, you may see warning signs in dog parks acknowledging the potential danger of attacks. Some parks might even require you to sign a waiver before entering. These tactics are used to limit the liability of the park itself, but you could still work with a lawyer to file a claim against the dog’s owner.
What is The Statute of Limitations for Suing the Owner?
Generally, the statute of limitations in Florida is four years from the date of the injury. This means that your lawsuit against the dog owner must be filed in the correct court within four years of the incident, or the case may be permanently barred.
Assessing Liability in Tampa Dog Bite Cases
According to § 767.01 of the 2019 Florida Statutes, the dog’s owner will be held liable for any harm their pet causes to another person or animal. The owner would be at fault even if they were unaware of the vicious tendencies of the dog. It does not matter if the dog was on or off a leash. In certain circumstances, a landlord or a third party who was taking care of the dog may be liable.
It also is not necessary to suffer an actual bite to claim damages. For instance, injuries incurred in a fall when a dog knocked you down or chased you would be covered. The owner is also liable if a dog killed or injured your pet or damaged your personal property. Most importantly, Florida dog bite laws do not require the victim to prove their injuries were a result of an owner’s negligence.
However, Tampa is a comparative negligence state, meaning you could be deemed partially responsible for your injuries. The liability of the owner will be reduced by the percentage of fault contributed to you, so it would be beneficial to seek out legal help if you are accused of partial liability in a dog bite case.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Attack Injury Cases?
Homeowners insurance usually covers dog bite injuries unless they are specifically excluded from the policy. If you are unsure whether the owner of the dog is covered by homeowner’s insurance, state law allows us to obtain that information for you.
Compensation for Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Children account for about half of all dog bites. The consequences of an animal attack could include deep bites, scratches, bone fractures, infection, and nerve damage. Our injury attorneys could pursue all that compensation you or your child is entitled to after a dog attack, which could include:
- Cost of reconstructive surgery
- Past and future lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical impairment or disability
- Psychological trauma and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We hope to obtain the just compensation you need to recover physically and emotionally after an attack.
Schedule a Consultation with a Tampa Dog Bite Attorney Today
While many dogs are docile and friendly toward strangers, some encounters are not so innocent. An animal attack can lead to high medical costs and severe mental anguish. The aftermath of an animal attack can be a challenging time for you and your family. You may be uncertain whether you have a valid legal claim arising from the accident. You may be at a loss with how to proceed. Our Tampa dog bite lawyers can help. We can give you the advice and counsel you need to move forward.
We know a civil lawsuit may not completely make up for all your emotional losses, but hopefully, just compensation can help you regain some financial stability after the accident. Speak with a dog bite attorney today to develop a better understanding of your accident case and the legal process of filing a lawsuit or click the button below for a free consultation so that you can focus on getting better while we take care of everything else.