Dogs are friendly animals, and many people cannot imagine their lives without them. They have the ability to support the mental health of their owners and can be really helpful for people with disabilities. Apart from that, it’s also just fun having them around. However, a dog is still an animal. If it feels threatened, it will protect itself. It also needs to be properly raised so that it obeys its owner even in stressful situations. A spoiled dog can be very dangerous to its surroundings.
Every year, over 4 million dog bites occur in the U.S., resulting in thousands of hospitalizations. They rarely lead to death but can complicate the victim’s life a lot. Apart from the injury itself, they can also cause further infections, and they often lead to emotional trauma. Fortunately, the State of Florida has implemented several laws to help and protect the victims of dog bites. If you or a loved one have experienced a dog attack in St. Petersburg, FL., you could be entitled to compensation.
The Law Place is a reputable law firm with more than 75 years of combined experience in Florida law. Our dog bite attorneys have successfully handled many dog bite claims, so they should be able to help you as well. Moreover, most of them have been rated 10.0 by the AVVO, which is the best mark an attorney can receive at this site. So, don’t hesitate and contact us for a free consultation of your case with one of our dog bite lawyers. Our phone lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (941) 444-4444.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
The liability for dog bites and other injuries caused by dogs is governed by Florida Statute 767.04. In general, the dog’s owner is liable for any personal injury and damage suffered by the victim if the attack occurred at a public place or on private property where the victim had the right to be present. However, there are several exceptions. This includes a situation when the dog’s owner displays an easily readable sign warning about a “Bad Dog” on the premises or when the victim’s presence at the owner’s property is unlawful. Moreover, it’s also necessary to take into account the comparative negligence law.
The State of Florida also doesn’t observe the “one bite” rule. This rule is used by some other states and stipulates that if the dog has no previous history of attacks, the case should be considered more leniently. If you or the dog owner come from a different state, this could cause some problems or misunderstandings, so it’s important that you know your rights.
As you can see, dog bite cases aren’t as simple as they might seem. There are many legal aspects that have to be taken into consideration. If you or your loved one have been attacked by a dog, we highly recommend you hire a St. Petersburg dog bite attorney. They know all the relevant rules and regulations and will be able to correctly analyze and evaluate your case. Plus, The Law Place offers the first consultation for free so that you can safely discuss your dog bite claim without committing to anything.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving St. Petersburg, call 941-444-4444
Florida Comparative Negligence Law
According to Florida Statute 768.81, the State of Florida recognizes the comparative negligence principle. This means that any negligence on your part that might have increased the likelihood of the attack will be taken into account. The court will determine your percentage of fault and lower the compensation that you are entitled to receive accordingly. For example, if they decide that your action or inaction slightly contributed to the attack, they might set your percentage of fault to 10%. This way, you will only be able to claim 90% of the damages. As long as your percentage is lower than 50%, you can still pursue your dog bite claim.
It’s good to know that the other party will try to protect themselves and increase your percentage of fault as much as possible so that they don’t have to pay you the full amount of compensation. They will probably hire a lawyer too. That’s why we highly recommend you hire an experienced dog bite attorney. They will tirelessly fight for your rights, and their presence will counterbalance your opponent’s legal representation.
St. Petersburg Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Dog Attack on Private Property
If the dog attack occurred on private property, your right to compensation depends on your status. Florida Statute 767.04 clearly states that the dog owner is liable for the victim’s damages if the victim’s presence on the owner’s property was lawful. When it comes to entering private property, there are three types of entities:
- Invitee – An invitee is a person who enters the property with the owner’s permission for the purpose of business dealings or enters private property that’s open to the public.
- Licensee – A licensee is a person who has received an express or implied invitation to enter the property for non-commercial purposes. For example, a licensee can be a social guest visiting their friend.
- Trespasser – A trespasser is a person who knowingly enters private property without the owner’s permission. A trespasser’s presence at the property is illegal, and they aren’t entitled to claim compensation if they sustain an injury there.
As you can see, it’s not always clear that you are actually entitled to compensation if you get bitten by a dog. To learn more about what damages you might be entitled to claim following a dog attack, contact The Law Place and schedule a consultation with one of our dog bite lawyers.
The Best Steps to Take After a Dog Attack in St. Petersburg, FL.
To support the success of your dog bite claim as much as possible, we highly recommend that you stick to the following steps:
- Get to safety. Put distance between yourself and the dog to prevent further bites.
- Notify the owner of the dog that an attack occurred. Get their contact details and as much information about the dog as possible, especially its vaccination record, to rule out rabies. If it’s a street dog, it should be caught and tested. You should get the rabies shot immediately if the dog shows signs of rabies, such as acting erratically or foaming at the mouth.
- Administer first aid. If the injury is small, wash it gently with warm water and soap. If it’s bleeding, apply a clean cloth to stop the flow. Don’t forget to disinfect the wound and apply a sterile bandage.
- Notify your employer and record your injury in the company’s accident book if you sustained the dog bite injury during work.
- Write down the exact place, date, and time of the attack.
- Write down the names and contact details of any witnesses.
- Take a picture of your injuries to record their extent, and make sure you keep recording the progress.
- Visit a doctor as soon as possible to prevent future infection, even if your injuries seem only minor.
- Contact an experienced dog bite attorney.
- Look for signs of infection. If your wound becomes red, swollen, warm, and tender to touch, seek medical attention again.
At The Law Place, we have already helped many dog bite victims receive the compensation they deserve. Have you been attacked by a dog? Then don’t hesitate and contact us today for a non-binding, free consultation with one of our St. Petersburg dog bite attorneys to learn more about what you could be entitled to claim.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Common Injuries Sustained in a Dog Bite Attack in St. Petersburg, FL.
The severity of dog bite injuries varies according to the size of the dog or the number of attacking dogs if there is more than one. The most common dog attack injuries include:
- Cuts and puncture wounds.
- Scratches and bruises.
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Abrasions or lacerations.
- Nerve and muscle damage.
Apart from the above-mentioned injuries, a dog bite can also cause serious health complications:
- Bacterial infections – If the dog bite breaks the skin, you can be at risk of an infection from the bacteria living in the dog’s mouth.
- Rabies – Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Once clinical symptoms appear, it’s 100% fatal. If you don’t know the dog’s vaccination history, seek medical attention immediately.
- Tetanus – Tetanus is a bacterial infection that causes muscles throughout the body to tighten. However, it’s uncommon since most people in the USA are vaccinated against it. If you can, make sure you are up to date with your tetanus shot.
- Scarring – A dog bite or scratch can create permanent scars.
- Death – In the USA, the number of deaths occurring as a result of dog bites is very low, usually less than 20 per year. Unfortunately, 70% of these deaths happen to children under 10.
Once again, we would like to highlight the importance of seeking medical attention if you get bitten by a dog since it can literally save your life. After all immediate health threats are taken care of, you can start focusing on the legal aspect of your case. If you hire one of our St. Petersburg dog bite attorneys, we will take the stress off your shoulders, and you will be able to focus fully on your recovery. Call us today and schedule a free consultation with a professional personal injury lawyer.
Damages You Can Claim Following a Dog Bite Attack in St. Petersburg, FL.
Dog attacks affect not only the victims’ physical health but also their emotional and mental state. An event like this can also limit your ability to earn money, which could compromise your family budget. There is no reason why you should suffer because somebody didn’t raise their dog properly. An experienced dog bite lawyer from The Law Place could help you claim the following damages:
- Medical bills – A dog bite can leave you with serious injuries, so you might even need expensive surgery, rehabilitation, or special medication. You should be compensated for all your medical expenses, both past, present, and future. This also includes traveling costs to and from your medical appointments.
- Lost wages – If your injuries are serious enough so you can’t perform your job and have to stay at home for some time to recover, you should get compensation for all the salaries you didn’t receive because of that. You can also get compensated for your lost earning potential if you have to change your job due to the injuries.
- Pain and suffering – If the attack caused you emotional distress and led to permanent changes in your life, you should be compensated for it as well. This can include PTSD or loss of enjoyment of life. However, this compensation is hard to claim successfully, and hiring a dog bite lawyer really makes a difference here.
- Wrongful death – If the dog bite resulted in the death of a loved one, you should receive compensation for your funeral expenses, loss of their wages, and loss of consortium.
Do you think you could be entitled to some of these damages? Then we highly recommend that you call The Law Place today. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Petersburg dog bite lawyers for free legal advice.
Filing a Lawsuit in St. Petersburg, FL.
If your attorney believes that your claim could win a higher settlement than the one offered in the out-of-court negotiations, they might suggest taking your personal injury case to court. If you agree, they will build an unbeatable case for you and will represent and support you throughout the whole process. However, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible since you only have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The deadlines for filing lawsuits in Florida are governed by the florida statute of limitations. In case of a dog bite injury, you have 4 years to file a lawsuit. In case of wrongful death of a loved one, you only have 2 years. These periods might sound like a lot of time, but time flies faster than we realize. There is a lot of preparation and paperwork to be done before filing a lawsuit. The sooner you start, the higher chances you have to succeed. It’s important that you’re aware of this so that you don’t hesitate to contact our St. Petersburg dog bite lawyers and don’t miss the deadline.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
It’s important to know that if you win a claim, it usually isn’t the dog owner who pays your compensation. It’s their insurance company, and dealing with insurance companies can be quite rough. They are known to try and devalue claims as much as possible so that they don’t have to pay you the full amount of the compensation you deserve. It’s therefore handy to have a personal injury lawyer by your side, even if you’re just seeking compensation from your own insurer. They will know how to communicate with the insurance company so that you receive the highest possible settlement. Call us today to talk to a St. Petersburg, personal injury attorney for free.
How Does Cooperation With The Law Place Work?
The Law Place offers one consultation for free to all its potential clients. During our first meeting, we will learn the general facts of your case and provide you with basic legal advice regarding the direction of your next steps. This first consultation is non-binding. If you decide to walk away and pursue your case without legal representation, that’s fine with us. However, if you like our approach, we can agree on cooperation. This means that you will receive your personal attorney, who will become your advocate. You will also be able to schedule a second consultation with us to discuss your case in more detail.
If we shake our hands, our team will start investigating your case at once. They will work hard to gather all the available evidence to support your claim as much as possible. They might interview the witnesses, review the CCTV footage, or consult a veterinarian. This way, they will be able to build an unbeatable case for you. If you aren’t happy with the out-of-court settlement, they could take your case to court for you.
How Much Does a St. Petersburg Dog Bite Lawyer From The Law Place Cost?
It’s understandable that you might be worried about the cost of our services. Some law firms indeed charge their clients enormous amounts of money without actually doing something for them. That’s not our case. Our law firm works on a contingency basis. This means that we don’t get paid unless we win a settlement for you. Our legal fees get deducted from the settlement we negotiate. This way, you don’t have to worry about your expenses and can fully focus on your recovery. Don’t worry – this is a practice monitored by the Florida State Bar Association. Moreover, all our attorneys work together, so you will receive the knowledge and experience of a whole legal team for the price of just one St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer.
Call The Law Place Today for a Free Consultation
Have you or a loved one become a victim of a dog attack in St. Petersburg, Florida? Then don’t hesitate and call The Law Place today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our St. Petersburg dog bite lawyers. We provide professional and discreet legal services tailored exactly to your needs. We understand that being involved in a dog attack can be very painful and stressful, especially if the attack involved a child. Therefore we seek to establish a strong attorney-client relationship based on mutual trust. Our office will become a safe space for you, and you can be open without the fear of being judged. We are here to help!
Call us today and schedule a consultation for free with a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog attacks. You can reach us at your convenience at (941) 444-4444.