Were you or your child bitten by a dog in St. Petersburg, FL? The dog owner may owe you compensation for your injuries. An experienced St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys can help you fight to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and your family’s pain and suffering.
We have over 25 years of experience between us. Over the years, our lawyers have helped accident victims recover millions of dollars in compensation – and counting.
We’re more than ready to protect your legal rights. Contact our law offices in St. Petersburg, Florida at (727) 933-0015 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options today.
How Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Dog Bite in St. Petersburg
About 40% of all Florida households own a dog. While dogs can bring a lot of joy to a family, they can also cause serious injuries if the owner isn’t careful. Dogs can bite when they’re stressed, afraid, or even while playing.
If you were a victim, you deserve to be compensated. An experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL can greatly improve your chances of getting the money you deserve.
At Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys, we have over two decades of experience helping injured clients get back on their feet again. Our award-winning lawyers have been rated as Top 40 under 40 Personal Injury Lawyers and as America’s Top Attorneys.
When you trust us to protect your family, count on us to:
- Gather the evidence to support your case
- Calculate the fair value of your personal injury claim
- Hire experts and specialists when needed to strengthen your case
- Protect you if the owner blames you for provoking the dog
- Handle all insurance negotiations and communications
Our St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys are always available to discuss your case. To learn more about how you can benefit from an attorney-client relationship, contact us today for a free consultation.
How Common Are Dog Bites in St. Petersburg?
According to CDC research, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. About 800,000 of those dog bite victims require medical care. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that more than 50% of all dog bite victims are children.
The Florida Department of Health estimates that about 600 Floridians are hospitalized with dog bite injuries every year. About two people die from fatal dog bites.
What Is My St. Petersburg Dog Bite Case Worth?
It’s important to understand how much your personal injury case is worth, even if you’ve already proven that someone else was responsible for your injuries. The insurance company might offer a quick settlement. Often, that’s a tactic designed to get you to accept less money than you deserve.
Our lawyers will carefully evaluate the facts when assessing the value of your claim.
While every case is different, relevant factors include:
- The type and severity of the injuries you sustained
- The cost of your past medical treatment and whether you’ll require future medical care
- Whether you suffered permanent impairment or disfigurement
- How the dog bite injury will impact your future
- Your emotional trauma, including PTSD
- Whether you missed time at work
- The circumstances of the attack and whether you contributed in any way
- The amount of insurance coverage that’s available
You don’t have to accept the insurance company’s initial offer. In fact, the insurance company might not take your case seriously until you hire an experienced lawyer.
At Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys, we’ve been helping clients like you for decades. We’d be happy to use our experience to help you maximize your settlement. Just call our law firm in St. Petersburg for a free case review today.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
Dog bite victims can hold the dog owner fully responsible for the damages they’ve suffered. In other words, they’re entitled to be made “whole” again – to the extent possible.
You’re entitled to economic damages to cover your financial costs, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Psychological counseling
You’re also entitled to non-economic damages, which are designed to compensate for your personal losses and suffering, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Depression or anxiety
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
The damages you’ve suffered will be different from those in any other personal injury claim. It’s important to work with a lawyer who will look at the big picture to see how the injuries actually impacted your life.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite in Florida?
In many dog bite cases, you can recover compensation if the dog owner was negligent. However, the dog owner might be able to escape liability if you provoked the animal.
Under Florida’s modified comparative fault laws, if your share of fault is 50% or less, your compensation can be reduced to account for your share of the blame. So, if the dog owner can prove that you were 30% responsible, you can only recover 70% of your settlement or verdict. If your share of fault exceeds 50%, you cannot recover from the dog owner.
Cases involving shared fault can get messy. Allocating fault between the parties isn’t an easy task. If you’re being blamed, it’s possible that the insurance company’s claims aren’t legitimate.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Depending on the dog’s size and breed, a dog bite or attack can cause extremely serious injuries.
Aside from the puncture wound itself, dog bite victims often sustain:
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue damage, including injuries to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Organ damage, which can be caused by infection
- Amputation injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
You deserve fair compensation for all of your injuries. You can count on our legal team to work tirelessly to win the money you need. When you’re ready to get started, call for a free case evaluation with our St. Petersburg dog bite attorneys.
How Do I Prove Liability After a Dog Bite in Florida?
Florida follows a strict liability law in dog bite cases. You don’t have to prove negligence to recover compensation from the dog owner.
The dog’s owner can be liable for damages under Florida dog bite laws if:
- The dog actually bit you, and
- You were in a public place or lawfully in a private place, even if it was the dog owner’s property
You won’t be required to prove that the dog had displayed vicious propensities or aggressive behavior in the past. In other words, there is no “one bite rule” in Florida.
Negligence in Florida Dog Bite Cases
Negligence theories can still be important in a dog bite case. Strict liability laws only apply if the dog actually bit you. If you were attacked, but the dog didn’t bite, you’ll have to prove negligence to recover compensation.
You may also have to prove negligence if:
- The owner displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent place, and the victim was at least six years old
- Someone other than the dog owner was responsible
The four elements of a negligence claim are:
- A legal duty of care
- Breach of duty
- Causation, or proof that the breach caused your injuries
If the dog owner was negligent, they could be on the hook for damages even if the strict liability law doesn’t cover your case.
For example, you may be able to recover damages based on negligence if:
- The dog owner violated St. Petersburg leash laws
- The dog was allowed to wander off the owner’s property freely
- The owner failed to keep the dog confined or secured
- The owner failed to take extra precautions if the dog was classified as a dangerous dog
Further, strict liability laws only apply to the dog’s owner. You’ll have to prove negligence if a third party was partly responsible for your injuries.
Responsible third parties might include:
- Dog walkers
- Pet sitters
- Property owners
- Groomers, vets, and others who were in charge of the dog’s care at the time
Dog bite cases can quickly become complex. An experienced lawyer can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to prove your case. If you’re ready to learn more about seeking compensation for your injuries, give us a quick call for a free initial consultation today.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in Florida?
You shouldn’t wait too long to take legal action after an injury. Under Florida law, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Florida law used to provide up to four years to file a negligence claim. However, the law was updated on March 24, 2023. Thus, if your dog bite occurred after that date, you’re subject to the two-year restriction.
Once the statute of limitations expires, you forfeit your right to seek compensation.
Contact a St. Petersburg Dog Bite Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one sustained dog bite injuries, call Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for legal advice today. An experienced St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer can help you understand your options and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
Our personal injury law firm in St. Petersburg, FL also provides:
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