Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, and the injuries that a person might suffer could become infected and lead to other concerns. If you or someone you love was a victim of a dog bite attack in Hillsborough County, you may be able to take action against the negligent dog owner or the municipality if no owner exists.
A Tampa dog bite injury lawyer at Distasio Law Firm can help you hold the appropriate party accountable for your injuries and demand they compensate you. Our team will do what it takes to help you build a legal case that establishes how the dog bite affected your life and why you may be entitled to compensation.
How Our Legal Team Can Help You Build a Case About Your Dog Bite Injury
If you opt to work with a personal injury lawyer from our firm, our legal team can help you in many ways. In fact, if you are still healing from your injuries, our team can take on the legal responsibility of managing your case for you so that you can continue getting medical treatment and handling other personal matters.
Below are some main services we provide each of our clients in Tampa, Florida.
First, we will listen to what happened to you in a free consultation. Once we understand your perspective, we may then conduct a private investigation of our own to gather more information and evidence so that we may be able to hold the responsible party accountable.
Important evidence to gather in a dog bite injury case can include:
- Photos of the area where the dog bite occurred
- Photos to prove whether warning signs about the dog were posted
- Photos of your injuries
- Your medical bills and medical records
- Animal control reports about the dog
- Witness statements about what they saw and heard
Once we gather evidence, we can then analyze it, organize it, and prepare a written report to tell a compelling story about what happened to you and why the person or entity responsible for the dog must compensate you for your injuries.
As we build your case, inquiring parties may attempt to reach out to you in hopes of settling your case so that your case does not go to court. Other parties include the dog’s owner, the owner’s insurance company, or the owner’s attorney. These parties might try to:
- Propose a settlement deal
- Ask for a statement from you about what led to your injuries
- Suggest you have no grounds to sue for compensation
However, when you work with our team, we can handle these communications for you and protect you from undervaluing your case or admitting fault in your case. We can address these messages and respond accordingly.
You also should not accept the first settlement offer you receive from an insurance company, as this figure is often based on a flat rate figure detailed in their policy and may not factor your total scope of damages. Our legal team can help you calculate how much your case is worth and also perform other administrative tasks, such as:
- Filling out and submitting paperwork on your behalf
- Consulting expert witnesses to retrieve testimony for your case
- Filing legal motions if necessary
- Scheduling court dates if you decide to file a lawsuit
- Keeping you updated on your case as new developments occur
In many cases, plaintiffs are able to negotiate a settlement with the owner’s insurance company, provided they submit substantial evidence that proves the amount of damages they’ve suffered. However, sometimes the insurance company does not want to cooperate with the plaintiff and agree to their terms.
If a lawyer from our team cannot reach a settlement for you, we may have to file a personal injury lawsuit about your dog bite injury to the court system in Tampa and continue your pursuit of compensation there.
If we have to file a lawsuit, that does not mean your case will go to trial. Many cases still have an opportunity to settle before they have to go to trial. However, if your case has to go to a trial, we are prepared to represent you.
After getting bit by a dog, your main priority should be to administer first aid and get medical care to treat your injury. Once you have addressed your wounds, you can take certain proactive steps to start building your personal injury case.
As soon as possible, report your dog bite attack to Hillsborough Animal Control. Reporting the incident is very important for several reasons, such as:
- Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement will document what happened before evidence gets destroyed.
- Investigators can interview everyone involved to ensure witness recollections are preserved.
- Animal Control’s investigation may be able to identify whether the dog was involved in any other dog attacks, whether the dog was vicious, and whether the owner had knowledge of the dog’s past behaviors.
- Animal Control can cite the dog owner for what happened and make sure corrective measures are taken.
Animal Control can also provide insight on whether anyone can claim the dog or if it is considered a stray, which would fall under the local municipality’s liability. All of this information can be critical to constructing your argument against the liable party.
Take photographs of anything and everything you think might be important. Things you might want to take photographs of can include:
- The area where the dog bite attack happened
- Any warning signs about the dog that might be posted around the area
- The dog
- Your injuries
Finally, you should get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone who might have witnessed the event or have knowledge of the dog’s dangerous or vicious nature.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Tampa, call (813) 259-0022
What a Tampa Injury Lawyer Must Prove When Pursuing Damages for a Dog Bite
All dog bite cases in Florida are controlled by Florida Statutes § 767.04. This statute applies regardless of whether the bite occurred in a public place, like a park, or at the owner’s house.
As the statute describes, all dog owners are strictly liable for any dog bite injury caused by their dog if the bite happens in a public place or if the victim is lawfully on private property. This means you may only have to prove:
- The dog bit you.
- You are not the owner of the dog.
- You suffered injuries because of the dog bite.
In many cases, the plaintiff does not have to prove the owner was negligent or that the dog has a history of biting. The only time a plaintiff would have to prove these things is if the owner had signs posted that say “Bad Dog” or something similar. Our legal team can explain the rules surrounding dog bite injury cases to you in a consultation.
The dog owner might not be the only party who can be held responsible for your injuries. We may be able to assign liability to any property owner who knew or should have known about the dangerous propensities of the dog yet took no action to protect others from harm.
Other potentially liable parties in your case might include:
- The property owner where the dog attack occurred
- A landlord
- The apartment complex owner(s)
- A local municipality
If other parties besides the dog owner may be held liable for your injuries, we must provide evidence that establishes this claim. Evidence might include complaints from tenants about the dog, reports to law enforcement about the dog, and surveillance footage of the property that the owners or managers had access to see.
The most important thing to prove is the extent of your damages. When pursuing compensation, we must list the types of damages you suffered, which may include:
- Pain and suffering from physical and emotional injuries
- Scarring or other permanent disfigurement to your body caused by the dog bite
- Emotional trauma caused by the attack
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that developed after the attack
- Past and future medical expenses
- Income you lost in the past because of your injuries and income you might expect to lose in the future
You may be entitled to other injuries not listed here, which we can discuss with you in your consultation after we examine your case in full.
Tampa Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (813) 259-0022
Call Distasio Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation About Your Dog Bite Injury
Our team representatives are ready to hear about your case and see how one of our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you. Do not hesitate to call, as your case may be limited on how long you have to submit your case in Tampa. We can identify your case’s legal deadline, then have a lawyer from our team start working on your dog bite case immediately.
Call (813) 259-0022 today to receive a free consultation with our team.