Dog ownership has been on the rise for the last decade. In 2019 alone, the pet industry was one that was worth over 75 billion dollars, and over 35% of households in the state own a dog. The majority of these animals are well looked after and loved by their owners.
Unfortunately, in rare cases, dogs can turn and can bite innocent people. There are over four million cases of dog bite attacks in the United States every year.
Nobody expects to be the victim of a dog bite attack. The injuries caused and the shock and fear caused can lead to long-lasting mental problems and physical injuries or disfigurements. While you are spending time trying to recover from the attack, you may also have to think about how to seek compensation from the party responsible. You should not have to foot the bills for an injury that was not your fault.
If you have been bitten in the Clearwater area, we can help take some of the stress off your shoulders. Here at The Law Place, we have been dealing with a dog bite and personal injury cases for over 75 years collectively. We know the exact laws involved and have dealt with cases just like yours before. We know how much dog bites can affect a person’s life and know the best way to investigate.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so give us a call on (941) 444-4444.
What to Do Immediately After a Dog Bite
Dog bite wounds can lead to some nasty complications. If you have been bitten, the first thing you need to do is to apply strong pressure with a clean cloth to the wound to slow down the bleeding.
As soon as you have done this, you need to seek medical care immediately. For lesser wounds, you may not think it is important to seek medical attention, but with infections and wounds that can take a while to surface, you should always get your dog bite injury checked out by a healthcare professional.
Over 18 percent of dog bite victims end up with infections. With over 60 known types of bacteria found inside a dog’s mouth, this is just another reason to make sure that any dog bite victims seek medical help to clean their wounds and create a second appointment to check for infection.
After you feel safe and able, you should report the dog bite to the authorities. By Florida law, you should report any bite caused by an animal that could be rabid. Animals with rabies are extremely dangerous and will need to be dealt with by animal control. Even if you do not suspect the dog of having rabies, you should still report the bite so that it is documented.
Finally, once you feel able, you should contact a Clearwater personal injury dog bite lawyer. Contact an attorney right away and make use of their free consultation. The legal issues surrounding Clearwater dog bite injuries are always complex and difficult to navigate. Your Clearwater dog bite lawyer is the only person besides the medical doctor who treats your injuries that will look after your best interest from this point forward. You should always be offered a free consultation in the first instance before you proceed with a case.
Common Injuries We See as a result of a Dog Bite
Clearwater Dog bites can be a lot more serious than a simple laceration or puncture wound. Although the wound itself is the most obvious injury and may require stitches or cause long-lasting scars or disfigurement, the more serious cases arise after further complications are found.
There is a range of common and not-so-common viruses and diseases that can happen as the result of a dog bite. Rabies is perhaps the most serious one, due to the high mortality rate and nasty side effects of the virus and the way it affects the brain.
The rest of the common bacteria found inside a dog bite, such as Pasteurella and Staphylococcal, are usually not life-threatening, except for those with lower immune systems, but can still cause nasty symptoms if left unchecked.
Furthermore, an extremely common result of a dog bite injury is mental and emotional trauma. Victims of dog bites often suffer from PTSD, especially when the victim is a young child.
A life long fear of dogs or phobia can be a crippling mental side effect of a dog bite. One that can affect you forever.
Who Is Responsible in a Clearwater Dog Bite Incident?
There are a couple of different factors that come into play when deciding who is responsible after a Clearwater, FL dog bite injury. Usually, though, the person responsible for the dog is the one responsible for dealing with any damages caused by that dog.
The first factor in placing liability and fault after a Clearwater dog bite incident is called owner negligence. This law states that if an owner is found to have been acting in a way that a normal dog owner would not, they may have contributed to the attack and may be found negligent because of their actions.
The biggest example of this is when an owner deliberately ignores Florida’s leash laws or when they allow their dogs to roam freely in a public location where dogs should be on a leash.
Florida Statute 767.04 states that a dog owner is liable for any injury caused and any damages against a victim that is innocent. This is regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior or not. The only situation where the owner may not be found liable is when the victim deliberately provoked the dog or trespassed on land where there is a sign that states “bad dog.”
Time Limits on Filing Suits
Under Clearwater, FL dog bite law, you have four years from the date of the incident to lodge a claim. After that time has elapsed, you may forever lose your right to make a claim regarding that specific incident.
Call the Law Place as Soon as Possible After Your Clearwater Dog Bite Incident
Here at the law place, we have dealt with a huge range of cases just like yours, all across Florida. We have a skilled team of personal injury lawyers ready to offer the best legal advice and give you a clear indication of where you stand.
We will liaise with all of the parties involved and investigate on your behalf. We will work as hard as we can to seek the fair and reasonable compensation that you deserve.
Dog bites can be terrible and traumatic experiences for those involved, but you should never have to deal with medical bills and emotional trauma alone.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today on (941) 444-4444, and we can take the weight off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your mental and physical recovery.