Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog in Tampa, FL? You may be entitled to recover compensation from the dog owner to help with medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. An experienced Tampa dog bite lawyer at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can help your family fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Collectively, our lawyers have over a century of experience in personal injury law. We’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of accident victims in the Tampa Bay Area and throughout Florida – and we’re ready to put our skills to work for you.
Recovering fair compensation for an injury can be one of the most important things you do. Contact or call our law office in Tampa, Florida, at (813) 223-6200 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Dog Bite in Tampa, FL
Many dog bite victims are reluctant to take legal action against the owner. However, treating your injury can quickly get expensive. It’s important to remember that homeowners’ insurance policies in Florida usually provide coverage for dog bite injuries.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can handle the legal issues and fight for the money you need.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, our Tampa’s aggressive personal injury attorneys have over 119 years of combined experience. We aggressively fight for our clients to recover the compensation they deserve after dog bites and other personal injuries.
When you hire us to represent you in your dog bite claim, we will:
- Conduct an independent investigation into the dog bite
- Determine whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior or is classified as a “dangerous dog”
- Identify all sources of financial compensation
- Defend you if the owner blames you for provoking the animal
- Negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf
Our Tampa personal injury attorneys have the resources and knowledge you’ll want in your corner. Call for a free initial consultation today to learn more about creating an attorney-client relationship.
How Common Are Dog Bites in Tampa, FL?
According to CDC data, about 4.5 million dog bites happen in the U.S. each year. About 800,000 of those bites are serious enough to require medical care. In a single year, approximately 27,000 Americans required reconstructive surgery because of dog attacks.
Dog bite injuries are also expensive. According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners’ insurance policies paid out about $882 million in liability claims for dog bite injuries in 2021. Florida ranked second in the nation for the number of dog bite claims filed. There were an estimated 1,478 dog bite claims statewide in 2021.
What is My Tampa Dog Bite Case Worth?
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2021, the average cost of a Florida dog bite claim was $54,820. However, the value of your case will depend on many factors, and all dog bite claims are different.
It’s important to know how much your personal injury case is worth before accepting a fast settlement.
The value of your dog bite claim will depend largely on:
- The severity of your injuries
- The cost of receiving medical treatment
- Your need for future medical care
- Your lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses
- How the injury and dog bite incident will impact your future quality of life
- The extent of your pain and suffering – both emotional and physical
Our lawyers in Tampa are here to help you recover every dollar you deserve. Call our team for legal advice today to learn more about your case value.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
Nearly all dog bite victims are entitled to compensation to cover their past and future medical expenses.
You may also be entitled to additional economic damages, including:
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Physical therapy
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Nursing care
- Psychological counseling
- And more
It’s also possible for victims to recover compensation for their non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
Non-economic damages can be difficult to prove. However, they can be a significant part of your compensation award.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite in Florida?
Florida follows pure comparative negligence laws. In other words, you can recover damages even if you’re partially responsible for your dog bite injuries. Your damages will be reduced in proportion to your share of fault.
Dog bite cases are slightly different from typical personal injury cases. In a dog bite case, the owner may have a strong defense if the victim provoked the animal. That makes it more likely that the insurance company will try to blame you for causing the attack.
Are you being blamed for being bitten by a dog? Call our experienced lawyers to learn more about how we can work to minimize your role in the accident.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation For All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites and animal attacks can cause significant damage. In fact, many victims suffer much more extensive injuries than the puncture wound itself.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, our attorneys often see dog bite victims who have sustained:
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Infected puncture wounds
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Back injuries
- Organ damage
- Amputation injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
Dog bite injuries can be even more traumatic if the victim was a child. In addition to the pain of a physical injury, small children often suffer extensive emotional trauma after being bitten by a dog.
If you or your child were bitten by a dog, it’s always important to seek medical care quickly. After you’ve been treated, call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Tampa dog bite attorney.
How Do I Establish Liability After a Dog Bite in Florida?
Unlike some other states, Florida doesn’t have a “one bite rule” on the books. A one bite rule gives a dog one “free bite.”
Under Florida dog bite laws, dog owners can be held strictly liable for damages, regardless of whether the dog has bitten someone or shown vicious tendencies in the past.
However, dog owners do have some defenses to the strict liability rule.
For example, the owner may claim that:
- You were trespassing on private property when you were bitten
- You provoked the dog, and the provocation caused the attack
- They prominently displayed a “Bad Dog” sign (and the victim was at least six years old)
We’ll aggressively fight to protect you against these defenses. If we can’t win your claim based on strict liability, we’ll gather evidence to prove that the dog owner was negligent.
Negligence Laws in Dog Bite Cases
To prove negligence in a dog bite claim, you must establish:
- The dog owner’s legal duty of care
- A breach of duty
- Causation, meaning that the dog owner’s actions caused the dog to bite
- The damages you sustained because of the bite
Dog owners can be negligent in many different ways.
For example, our lawyers might work to prove that:
- The dog was not on a leash in a public place, in violation of Hillsborough County leash laws
- The animal was allowed to roam free
- The animal wasn’t properly secured
- The property owner failed to provide adequate warnings about a dangerous dog
Establishing liability after a dog bite can be complex. Our lawyers can help you with the challenges. Call our law firm in Tampa to schedule a free case review to learn more.
Florida Dangerous Dog Law
Owners of dangerous dogs in Florida have additional duties.
A dangerous dog is one who has:
- Attacked, bitten, endangered, or severely injured a human, whether on public or private property
- Menacingly approached or chased a human on public property without provocation
- Killed or severely injured a domestic animal while off the owner’s property
The owner is responsible for obtaining a certificate of registration for the dangerous dog and renewing it annually. They must also keep the dog confined in a proper enclosure and notify animal control if it gets loose. The dog must be kept muzzled and restrained when outside the enclosure.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in Florida?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Florida is four years. Starting on the date of the dog bite, you’ll have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. After that time, you lose your right to compensation.
There could be exceptions, such as if the dog bite victim is a child. Contact us today to discuss your dog bite incident and ensure that you meet the statutory deadline.
Contact Our Tampa Dog Bite Lawyers For a Free Consultation
Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog in Tampa, FL? Navigating the legal process can be overwhelming. Call an experienced Tampa dog bite lawyer at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers today for help recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
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