Whether you are enjoying lunch or going for a run at a park, your relaxing afternoon can come to a screeching – and painful – halt when you are bit by a dog.
When this happens, it’s important to act quickly and take the right steps to allow yourself to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner.
Protect Yourself After a Dog Bite
If you suffer a dog bite, it’s essential to immediately follow these steps to both protect your health and gather the necessary information for a potential legal case.
- First, you need to locate the dog and its owner. Get the owner’s name, address, and phone number so you can contact him or her later. Also, ask for the dog’s vaccination records – especially proof of a current rabies shot. If they cannot prove the dog is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, you may need to get vaccinated. Before leaving the park, you should also take photos of the dog as evidence.
- Next, get medical treatment. After getting the necessary information from the dog’s owner, determine how severe the dog bite is and what kind of medical treatment you will need. If it’s extremely serious, you may need to call 911 for immediate attention. Otherwise, you should go to the emergency room or urgent care. Even if you don’t think the bite is severe enough to warrant medical attention, you still need to be seen by a medical professional. This will ensure you will heal properly and that proper steps are taken to prevent infection. It will also provide you with proper medical records of your injury.
- Take pictures of your injuries. In addition to obtaining your medical records, also take photos of your injuries to document them. Capturing images of your injuries and the dog will help prove that the issue was caused by a dog bite.
- Contact an attorney: If you want to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner, you need to call a personal injury lawyer right away. Your attorney will advise you on what steps to take to make sure you are gathering the right information for your case.
Know Your Legal Rights
When you are attacked by a dog, you can pursue legal action against the owner. Florida is a “strict liability” state, which means the owner can be held liable for the dog bite. The state laws do not require you to prove your injuries were due to the owner’s negligence. All you need to prove is that the owner’s dog attacked you.
Your injury lawyer will help you determine if you have a case, and which type of claim to pursue. Some common claims are:
- Negligence: If the dog’s owner failed to provide a reasonable level of care to prevent the dog attack, you can file a negligence claim.
- Negligence per se: This can be filed if the owner violated statutes or rules that are put in place to keep others safe. For example, if the dog didn’t have a leash on in a leash-required area.
- Scienter: You can pursue this claim against anyone who knew of a dog’s previous aggressive attack history, or other attempts to bite others.
- Intentional tort: If the dog’s owner intentionally told the dog to attack you, you can pursue other more serious claims, like battery charges.
Your attorney will help you assess what compensation you are owed and will help you put together the best case possible to seek appropriate damages.
We Can Help
If you were bitten by a dog, you need help from top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro|Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.
We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.
To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.
Your family counts on you.
You can count on us.