Tampa Dog Bite Attorneys
Every year, more than 4 million people in the U.S. are seriously injured by vicious dog attacks. Worse still: more than half of these dog bite victims are innocent children. While some breeds are more aggressive than others, any dog which is stressed, sick or frightened may attack — resulting in horrific, often life-altering consequences for the victim.
Florida dog bite law provides strong legal protections for those injured by dangerous animals. Under Florida’s “strict liability” statute, a dog owner may be held liable for the victim’s medical expenses, wage loss and damages, including pain, suffering and scarring, regardless of whether the animal has attacked before or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s danger nature.
At the Fernandez Firm, our Tampa dog bite attorneys have successfully handled thousands of personal injury cases including numerous dog bite claims throughout the state. With over $50 Million in jury verdicts and negotiated settlements, our firm has earned a reputation for being aggressive, yet professional, dedicated trial attorneys.
Dangerous Dog Breeds
Each day more than 1,000 people in the U.S. require emergency care and treatment as a result of dog bite injury. Shown above are the two most deadly dog breeds in America: Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers. According to research from DogsBite.org, these two breeds accounted for 73% of all total recorded fatal attacks in the past 8 years. And this is not a new phenomenon: compiling decades of U.S. and Canadian press accounts, a report issued by Animal People found that Pit Bulls (245) and Rottweilers (84) and their mixes contributed to nearly 66% of the total recorded fatal attacks (497) from 1982 and 2012.
Whether the danger posed by these two breeds of animal is a result of genetic makeup, learned behavior/training, strength/capacity for harm or a combination of all these factors, it is good practice to never approach an unfamiliar dog of any breed, and to teach our children this valuable, and perhaps life-saving, lesson.
Reporting a Tampa Dog Bite in Tampa
A Tampa dog bite should immediately be reported to Animal Services and Rabies Control, with as much available detail regarding: the dog’s owner; vaccination history; location of the attack; and the current location of the animal, when possible.
In addition to providing care for sick or injured animals, Animal Services is authorized to quarantine animals that have bitten a human in order to insure the public’s health, safety and welfare. All injuries by animals occurring in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Orlando and majority of Florida Counties are investigated by Animal Services in compliance with Florida’s dangerous dog law.
At the Fernandez Firm, our Tampa dog bite attorneys have significant experience in litigating animal attack claims. Regardless of animal’s breed, our lawyers will guide you through the steps necessary to immediately investigate this traumatic event and report all dangerous dogs to proper authorities as required by law.
“In the 8-year period between 2005 to 2012, Pit Bulls killed 151 Americans, about one citizen every 19 days, and accounted for 60% of the total recorded deaths (251) in the United States.”
2012 Dog Bite Fatalities
National Dog Bite Statistics
69% Dog attacks result in death
72% Dog attacks involve children
77% Dog attacks result in injury
79% Dog attacks induce harm
85% Dog attack involve adults
3 Steps to Take if Attacked
In the last several years, there have been a number of tragic dog attack cases in the state, including several horrific pit bull attacks resulting in death. If you or a loved one are attacked and bitten by a dangerous dog, it is critical you take the following actions:
- After the attack get to a safe location, out of the animal’s reach, keeping the animal in sight, if at all possible. If your injuries permit, locate the dog’s owner, obtaining the owner’s name, address and telephone (preferably verified by a driver’s license or photo ID).
- Immediately clean your wounds with soap and warm water.
- Seek immediate medical attention from a local hospital or medical doctor.
Tampa Dog Bite FAQs
Tampa residents love dogs, and the city boasts numerous dog-friendly establishments, including Hyde Park Village, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and many of the city’s bars, restaurants, and shops.
Despite what dog owners may think of their dogs, a seemingly cute or friendly dog can turn against you in a heartbeat, resulting in serious harm. There is no way to predict a dog’s behavior or why dogs sometimes bite people that they know and sometimes strangers. When you or someone you love suffers a severe dog bite, the consequences can extend beyond physical harm and include soaring medical bills and missed work time.
The Fernandez Firm helps Tampa dog bite victims by protecting clients’ rights throughout their claims and resulting lawsuits. If you, your child, or someone else close to you has sustained injuries from a dog bite, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
How have you helped other people in Tampa, and can you help me?
Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm have a successful track record of winning more than $90 million in settlements and verdicts for past clients. From car accidents to other types of cases involving negligence, we stand firm against liable parties and their insurance companies.
Our approach with clients is one of care and compassion. We acknowledge the stress of our clients’ situations and how their lives may have changed instantly because of their injuries, and we strive to handle the legal complexities of our clients’ cases while they focus on their mental and physical recoveries.
While our past results illustrate our legal experience and knowledge, they do not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome in your case. Each Tampa dog bite case is different and will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Regardless, we fight equally hard on behalf of dog bite victims as we do car accident victims, and you can rest assured knowing that we are pursuing maximum compensation on your behalf while you’re recovering from your injuries.
Are Tampa dog bites preventable?
Yes, if owners maintain control of their dogs.
Dog behavior is unpredictable. No matter the size or breed, a dog can transition from playful to harmful within seconds. It’s often difficult to predict dogs’ actions, and depending on the circumstances, it may prove impossible to avoid a serious injury. That’s why pet owners must maintain control of their dogs through leashes and other restraints, but that isn’t always the case.
Dogs bite for many reasons, including:
- The dog is feeling sick or is in pain.
- Something startles the dog, such as a loud noise.
- The dog feels threatened and wants to protect a toy or its owner.
Pet owners have a responsibility to control their pets’ actions and understand their behavior to protect others. If a dog bit you, the owner may face liability for your damages if the owner failed to manage the pet responsibly.
No one should suffer financially or physically due to an irresponsible pet owner. If you encountered a dangerous dog who caused your life to change forever, get help from Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm today.
How serious is a dog bite?
While all dog bite injuries are serious, some injuries place victims at risk for severe complications or possible death.
According to Dr. Ian Dunbar’s dog bite scale, there are six levels of dog bites, with levels four through six constituting the most serious:
- Level four means that the dog bite victim has sustained one to four punctures from one bite, with at least one puncture being half the length of the dog’s tooth.
- Level five involves multiple bites, at least two of which constitute level four punctures.
- Level six bites are rare, and they typically result in death.
In addition to bone, muscle, tissue, and other types of bodily damage, a dog bite can expose a victim to rabies. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, and if left untreated, rabies can affect the brain and result in death.
Infection is another concern that may develop with a dog bite wound. If you or a close loved one suffered harm due to an uncontrolled dog, seek justice and compensation for your damages. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you fight for compensation for your dog bite injuries.
How does a dog bite affect Tampa children?
Children are especially drawn to dogs, regardless of size. Children’s natural curiosity and trusting nature sometimes place them at risk for serious harm. Due to their small stature, which places them close to a dog’s mouth, they may sustain serious facial trauma. Research shows that children age five and under are more likely to experience bites in the head and neck than older children.
Of special concern is the psychological and emotional effect of such an event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is possible in children following a serious dog bite and may result in:
- Changes in behavior; and
- Avoidance and fear of animals.
Witnessing major changes in your child due to a dog bite often proves upsetting, particularly as you deal with their injuries, medical treatment, and insurance claims. The severity of your child’s injuries may require plastic surgery due to scarring and extensive mental health counseling.
If a severe dog bite has turned your child’s world upside down, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm for a free case evaluation and to determine your eligibility to pursue compensation. We are available 24/7.
What damages can I pursue after my Tampa dog bite?
A dog bite to any part of the body can limit—or end—an injured individual’s ability to work. As your income shrinks, medical bills grow, and household expenses continue, the stress of your situation may cause you sleepless nights and prevent you from obtaining the rest necessary for a full recovery.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to a dog bite, you may qualify to pursue compensation for these damages:
- Medical costs, including hospital and doctors’ fees relating to your immediate care.
- Ongoing medical expenses, including physical and psychological therapies, medications, and other continuous medical needs.
- Lost income lost due to your time missed from your work.
- Potential future earnings if you cannot return to the same job that you held before your dog bite injury.
- Non-economic costs relating to the overall impact that the dog bite has had on your quality of life, including pain and suffering damages.
For dog bites that result in a fatality, you may qualify for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death attorney can determine if your relationship with the dog bite victim is close enough to pursue this option.
The financial hardship that dog bite victims experience due to pet owners’ negligence is not fair, and injured individuals should seek compensation for their injuries. The first step toward holding pet owners responsible for dangerous dogs is to contact an experienced Tampa dog bite attorney.
How long does a Tampa dog bite case take?
The length of a Tampa dog bite case, which is a civil claim, will depend on whether your case settles out of court or proceeds all the way to trial. Most cases settle before litigation, but if the at-fault parties refuse to offer fair compensation, your attorney will likely recommend pursuing litigation.
At the Fernandez Firm, we manage the legal details of dog bite cases on behalf of our clients. We understand Florida dog bite laws, how to use them in our clients’ favor, and how to predict defendants’ legal strategies.
When you hire us to represent you, we keep you updated and informed about your case. Negotiating with an insurance company takes time, and sometimes the process must proceed to trial. Our team can present your case to a judge and jury if necessary.
Filing a Tampa dog bite lawsuit protects your right to take your case to trial. This step is critical if negotiations with insurance companies fail to produce favorable results.
The Florida statute of limitations requires filing your case within four years of the date of your injury. Four years may seem like a long time, but time passes quickly when recovering from a serious injury.
Contacting an experienced Tampa dog bite attorney as soon as possible is essential for your case. There is no way to determine your case’s outcome or how long the process will take; however, starting early ensures your best chance at receiving compensation. The time for filing your case starts immediately, and delaying legal action may cause you to miss important deadlines and jeopardize your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Can I settle my Tampa dog bite case with an insurance adjuster without legal representation?
It’s a terrible idea.
The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim may pressure you to accept a settlement offer without legal representation. While you may feel tempted to accept this offer, particularly if you’re worried about your finances, doing so will conclude your claim and prevent any further legal action, even if you incur additional expenses down the road.
Signing and accepting an initial settlement offer may prohibit a future lawsuit if your medical condition worsens. Insurance companies know this, and they want you to accept their low initial settlement offer—a decision that will likely benefit them and hurt you.
Insurance companies realize individuals are most vulnerable after a traumatic event. Painful injuries and mounting bills can result in making a rash yet permanent decision regarding compensation.
As Tampa dog bite lawyers, we hold insurance companies accountable for the compensation that they owe our clients. If a pet owner acted negligently, resulting in a dog bite that changed your life, our team will pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
Negotiating and ultimately settling with an insurance company without legal representation can produce disastrous results. A serious dog bite leaves you no time to deal with phone calls, insurance adjusters, paperwork, or court filings. Let an experienced Tampa dog bite attorney get to work for you by reaching out today.
The Fernandez Firm: Helping Tampa Dog Bite Victims Pursue Justice
Dogs are a common sight in Tampa, as both residents and tourists frequently walk them along busy city streets. Like the Angus Guss or the Palma Ceia Park, Tampa dog parks cater specifically to the city’s furry friends.
Tampa dog parks have specific dog rules. If you took your dog to a Tampa area dog park but returned home with a serious injury, the Fernandez Firm can help. The fun outing that you planned may turn tragic and result in painful and emotional scars.
The sudden and ferocious attack that you or a loved one experienced may require extensive medical care that proves costly and time-consuming. Our team is ready to start working on your case by reviewing all of the evidence associated with your injuries. Evidence that often proves valuable in Tampa dog bite cases includes witness statements, photographs, and medical records.
Rabies and other possible outcomes of a dog bite are serious and sometimes deadly. A bite can easily become infected and thus jeopardize your overall health. Achieving a full recovery requires that you focus on your medical treatments and procedures.
Leave assertive and pushy insurance companies to us. We understand how they operate and how to counter tactics designed to pay victims the least amount of compensation possible.
A free case evaluation leaves you nothing to lose and allows you to learn if you have a case. Should we proceed with a Tampa dog bite claim and lawsuit, we will not stop until we secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact the Fernandez Firm Today if a Dog Attacked You or Your Child in Tampa
A serious dog bite case deserves a serious personal injury firm, and the damages that you’ve suffered demand accountability. Pet owners have a responsibility to maintain control of their pets—regardless of how friendly their dogs may seem at home.
The Fernandez Firm understands Florida’s dog bite laws. Leave the stress of your case in our hands. It is our honor to provide quality customer service for our clients as we help them through this difficult time.
As Tampa dog bite lawyers, we put our experience to work on behalf of our clients. We work to build the strongest case possible aimed at securing maximum compensation. We fight defendants’ attempts to settle for a low sum, deny your claim, or delay your claim.
Having an experienced litigator on your side is invaluable. You already have enough on your plate with your injuries and emotional stress. Leave the stress involved with a dog bite case to your attorney.
Canine teeth are powerful, something not known until it is too late. A bite that penetrates the skin, muscles, and possibly a bone can impair your ability to complete the simplest daily tasks for months or longer. Pet owners must face justice for not controlling their dogs.
For help with your Tampa dog bite claim and lawsuit, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm without delay.
At the Fernandez Firm, we don’t get paid unless we Win… and we want to win!