Being attacked by a dog can result in painful injuries, lasting emotional trauma, and expensive medical bills. Under Florida law, a pet owner can be held responsible for injuries resulting from a dog attack. At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our St. Petersburg dog bite attorneys can help you file a claim against one or more parties for your dog attack and related losses.
Our personal injury lawyers are passionate about helping victims file claims and pursue the financial compensation they deserve for traumatic incidents. Find out how we can help you with a dog bite injury claim during a free case consultation.
Why Choose Us?
- Our law firm has a track record of success, with over $2 billion in settlements and judgment awards secured and 3,000 cases handled.
- We know how to litigate even the most complicated dog bite injury cases. We are experienced personal injury lawyers.
- Our attorneys have handled cases in more than 40 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. We know what it takes to win a dog bite injury claim.
- We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning your dog bite attorney won’t charge any fees unless your case ends in financial compensation for your losses.
Florida Dog Bite Laws – Who Pays for a Dog Attack?
Determining who is financially responsible (liable) for your dog bite injury requires an understanding of your state’s related laws. Florida’s dog bite law is found in Section 767.04 of the Florida Statutes. This law states that the owner of any dog that bites someone while the victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place is liable for damages suffered, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. This is what is known as a strict liability dog bite statute.
Under this law, a dog owner can be held responsible for most attacks and bite injuries, regardless of whether the pet owner was negligent. If you were lawfully on the property at the time of the attack and did not instigate the incident, you will be eligible for financial compensation from the pet owner. Typically, a dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy will pay for dog attacks, as dogs are classified as property in Florida.
As an injured victim, you generally will not need to prove that the pet owner was negligent to qualify for compensation. If the strict liability law does not apply to your particular case, however, you have the option of filing a claim based on negligence, such as allowing the dog to run at large. Other legal foundations for a claim include negligence per se (violations of a dog-related law or regulation) or scienter, also known as the one-bite rule. An attorney can help you determine the right type of claim for you.
Defenses to Dog Bite Injury Claims
One of the benefits that you can receive from hiring a dog bite injury attorney is the ability to anticipate and prepare for potential defenses. One of the most common defenses used is trespassing. This means the plaintiff allegedly did not have permission or lawful authority to enter the property at the time of the dog attack.
Another common defense is that the owner of the pet had a sign that included the words “Bad Dog” displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises. According to Florida’s dog bite law, this is an allowable defense to a dog bite injury claim. Two marked exceptions are when the victim is under the age of six and when the attack was caused by a negligent act or omission on the part of the owner.
Common Injuries Caused by Dogs
When a dog attacks, its teeth, claws, and sheer size can cause a wide range of serious injuries. The sharpness of a dog’s teeth and claws can cause tissue damage such as cuts and puncture wounds, while a dog jumping on a victim could knock the person over and cause fall injuries such as a hip fracture.
Bailey & Glasser, LLP accepts dog bite injury claims involving many types of injuries, including:
- Severe cuts and scrapes
- Deep lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Degloving (skin removal)
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Scalp and head injuries
- Bone fractures
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diseases, such as rabies
Severe dog bite injuries may require extensive medical care, such as surgeries and skin grafts. They can inflict long-term nerve damage and severe scarring. Dog bite incidents can also cause lasting emotional distress, including a new phobia of dogs and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the worst-case scenarios, dog attacks can be fatal – especially for vulnerable persons such as children and the elderly.
What to Do After Suffering a Dog Bite Injury
If you get bitten by a dog in St. Petersburg, protect yourself by getting to a safe location away from the animal. Write down the pet owner’s name, contact information, and insurance information. Report the dog bite to Pinellas County Animal Control for recordkeeping purposes by calling (727) 582-2600. Then, go to a hospital for professional medical treatments for your injuries.
When you’re ready to pursue financial compensation to help you pay for your hospital bills, ongoing medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses, contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP to request a free case consultation. Working with a dog bite injury attorney can make it easier to seek the case results that you need to move forward.
What Is Your Time Limit to File a Claim?
As a dog bite injury victim, you have four years to file an injury claim against a pet owner under Florida law. Four years is the statute of limitations on most personal injury claims in Florida. If you wait too long and attempt to file after your statute of limitations has expired, the courts will most likely bar you from seeking financial recovery.
Speak to a Dog Bite Injury Attorney in St. Petersburg Today
Getting attacked by a dog causes enough stress on its own without also having to deal with the legal process required to hold a pet owner responsible. At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, we can take over your legal claim. We will use aggressive strategies to negotiate fair financial compensation on your behalf. Our law firm can also go to trial for your case, if necessary.
Aside from dog bite injuries, we can also help with other personal injury cases such as car and truck accidents. Find out how we can help you during a free initial case evaluation. Contact us online or call our St. Petersburg office location directly at (727) 894-6745.