Every year, more than 500 Florida residents sustain dog bite injuries severe enough to require hospitalization and two Floridians die due to dog bite injuries. Dog bite injury rates in Florida are highest among children between the ages of one and nine years old. However, dog bites can also result in serious injuries for teenagers and adults.
When dog owners act negligently, the consequences can be devastating. If you were bitten by a dog or your child or loved one was gravely injured in a dog attack, you may be able to take legal action. A personal injury or wrongful death claim cannot undo the suffering you have been through, but it can assist with the cost of damages, such as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. Legal action can also be used to hold negligent dog owners accountable.
Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group online or by phone at (727) 784-8191 for a free evaluation by one of our experienced dog bite attorneys in Clearwater.
How Do You Prevent a Dog From Biting You?
Studies show that unneutered (intact) male dogs are associated with 70-76 percent of reported dog bites, emphasizing the importance of neutering pets. The number of dog bite injuries increases during the months of April through September, with the peak occurring in July.
We encourage everyone to consider the following safety tips when interacting with dogs and thank all of the responsible pet owners for taking the appropriate steps to control and vaccinate their pets:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never run from a dog and never scream around a dog.
- If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something in between yourself and the dog.
- If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball, cover your face, and stay still.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Children should never approach or play with dogs unless supervised by an adult.
- Children should tell an adult if they see a stray dog or a dog acting strangely.
- Adults should never leave an infant or young child alone with any dog, not even the family pet.
Additionally, when you or your child approaches a dog, remember to:
- Ask the owner for permission to pet the animal.
- Wait and watch the dog’s body language.
- Let the pet sniff you.
- Pet the dog in the direction of its fur.
When any animal bite occurs, the victim should seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can be incredibly serious and may lead to life-threatening injuries or infections.
How Does Insurance Coverage for Dog Bites Work?
The owner of the dog is accountable for dog bite injuries that the victim sustains. A legal claim can be filed against the homeowner, who has to make up for the financial losses either through their own insurance coverage or through other methods if they haven't insured themselves. Dog bite injuries can also be covered through the dog owner’s automobile insurance if the bite occurred inside the owner’s vehicle. In other cases, animal insurance will have to cover for the victim’s injuries.
It’s not uncommon to come across a homeowner that is not insured or who denies claiming insurance or disclosing their details. In such circumstance, insurance coverage can be proved through the legal declaration page documents of the homeowner. In cases where the homeowner refuses to disclose their details, documents can be obtained through the discovery process during the lawsuit.
In dog bite injuries, the owner of the dog is almost always held responsible and financial compensation is met through insurance coverage. If the insurance turns out to be inadequate for the victim’s medical bills and other losses, a claim can still be filed and the owner may have to pay through supplementary methods.
Options for Work-Related Dog Bite Victims
Workers in certain occupations are more vulnerable to dog bite injuries than others, but a dog bite can happen to anyone, regardless of where they work. When it comes to insurance coverage, workers’ compensation can apply to anyone who enters private properties to do their job. This means that mailmen, delivery carriers, newspaper carriers, and individuals with other similar occupations can receive workers’ compensation if they suffer a dog bite while on the job.
Workers’ or employment compensation can cover medical bills or income loss that occurs because of the accident. A third-party claim can be filed against the dog owner as long as the dog doesn’t belong to the worker’s employer. A third-party claim can be used to recover losses that are not covered by workers’ compensation, including the emotional suffering and pain associated with the dog bite injury.
How We Handle Dog Bite Cases
Every state has its own set of laws that define how cases have to be handled in court. In Florida, the dog owner is usually the defendant in the case, even if they are unaware of their dog’s behavior. Liability for dog bites can be established regardless of whether or not the dog has bitten anyone in the past and/or if the owner knew of the vicious behavior.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we work to uncover the facts of your case. Our Clearwater dog bite lawyers are prepared to fight tirelessly for you. We humbly serve Floridians in Clearwater, Tampa, Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, and throughout the Greater Tampa Bay Region and beyond.
Call our office at (727) 784-8191 or contact us online for a complimentary case evaluation.