Dog Bite Attorneys Serving Sarasota, Bradenton, Port Charlotte and Throughout Southwestern Florida
Dog bites and animal attacks can cause broken bones, lacerations, puncture wounds, facial disfigurement, emotional trauma and other serious injuries. Our attorneys for dog bite victims in Florida know such animal attacks can happen anywhere, any time. Perhaps you had a dog chase you while jogging or lunge at you during a bike ride. Maybe it was a familiar dog, such as a neighbor's dog, bit you when you went out to get your mail. A friend or family member's dog could have even attacked you or your child in their home.
No matter the cause of the attack, the owner of the dog may be liable for the personal injury you or your loved one sustained and can be held legally responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Farrow & Pulice knows how to pursue compensation from insurance companies after you've been injured while applying appropriate discretion to avoid disputes between friends, neighbors or family members. Most dog bite claims are handled through the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy. But if the dog owner does not own a home, our law firm still may be able to help you by filing a dog bite lawsuit.
While dog bites are the most common types of animal attacks, Florida is a state where some people keep exotic animals as pets (sometimes illegally) such as snakes, birds, lizards, monkeys and even "big" cats. Call us promptly if you have questions about your animal attack.
Dog bites can leave lifelong scars on your body and cause damage to your mental health. Especially for children, the traumatic experience can create phobias, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About half of the 4.5 million victims of dog bite attacks in the United States are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 20 percent of all dog bites result in injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Knowing what to do the moments after an accident and the days, weeks and months that follow is critical to ensuring a child's physical recovery and obtaining compensation to cover medical bills and other damages.
First and foremost, Farrow & Pulice urges all dog bite and animal attack victims to seek appropriate and immediate medical attention. Second, avoid any behaviors at the scene of the injury that could put you or a loved one at further risk of an attack. Our firm recommends alerting animal control authorities of the attack as soon as possible, especially in instances involving an attack by an unfamiliar animal on somebody else's property. If you're not sure how to reach the proper animal control authorities, call the police department.
Take the following steps after an animal attack:
- Identify the dog's owner and location.
- If you do not know who owns the dog, attempt to determine where the animal lives.
- Photograph the location where the attack took place.
- Document the extent of your injury.
- Retain all medical records related to treatment for your dog bite injury.
- Obtain copies of medical and police reports and animal control documentation.
A lot of details, facts and information need to be collected and presented to insurance companies to receive full compensation for your child's dog bite injuries. Even though the cause of your child's accident may be clear-cut, you may find yourself dealing with insurance companies that downplay the extent of your child's injuries or try to say your child caused the accident. We can help build your claim and obtain compensation to cover the long-term cost of your child's injuries, including future medical care, therapy and emotional damages.
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Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can be among the most frightening and painful to experience. Even a small dog is capable of causing permanent damage or scarring. Larger and more aggressive breeds are capable of causing serious injuries or even a fatal injury. A dog bite from a large animal may require amputation or other surgery on the hands, arms or legs. Dog bite injuries can be especially severe when injuries to children occur. The CDC reports that children between 5 and 9 years old are at the highest risk of being bitten.
The following are a few common types of dog bite injuries:
- Injury requiring surgery
- Orthopedic injuries
- Permanent damage to the extremities (hands or feet)
- Injuries resulting in permanent scarring to the face
- Loss of finger or loss of fingers
While other animal attacks do occur, dog bites are the most common type of animal bite in the United States, according to the CDC. Even a seemingly "minor" injury can result in steep medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, future lost wages and other damages. In severe instances, costly cosmetic surgery may be required as a result of the dog attack.
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About Florida Dog Bite Law
Under the dog bite laws contained in Florida Statutes Chapter 767, owners are responsible if their dogs bite someone, regardless of whether the victim is in a public place or on the owner's private property, even if the dog never displayed viciousness prior to the incident. Once the dog has exhibited aggressive behavior, animal control may decide to classify it as dangerous.
Upon declaration that the dog is dangerous, the owner is required to take specific precautions, including maintaining a proper enclosure to securely confine the dog, posting adequate warning signs, muzzling and leashing the dog when outside of its enclosure and notifying authorities of a transfer of ownership.
Owners face criminal charges in some dog bite cases. Knowledge of a dog's propensity for viciousness can result in a second-degree misdemeanor. If the dog was previously declared dangerous, the owner may be charged with a more serious first-degree misdemeanor. If the dangerous dog causes severe injury or death, the owner may be charged with a third-degree felony. These criminal offenses are handled separately from your civil lawsuit.
Contact Farrow & Pulice PA
Hold property owners responsible after you were injured or a loved one was injured or killed by an animal attack. The experienced legal team at Farrow & Pulice is ready to fight for you. Call us today at 866-408-1220 or contact our firm online to schedule your free initial consultation. Our law firm has offices in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Englewood, Lakewood Ranch and Port Charlotte that are centrally located to major hospitals for your convenience.