Did you or your child suffer injuries from a dog bite in Clearwater, Florida? The dog owner may owe you compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced Clearwater dog bite lawyer at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers can help you maximize your compensation.
Since we were founded in 1955, we’ve worked hard to help injured clients recover the financial compensation they need and deserve to move forward with their lives. Our legal team has successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars to help clients after catastrophic injuries, Clearwater child injuries, premises liability cases, Clearwater pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, and more injury matters. We’re prepared to fight for your family.
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How Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Clearwater Dog Bite Injury Claim
If you or your child were a dog bite victim, you already know how costly the injury can be. You shouldn’t have to handle the physical, emotional, and financial costs alone. Fortunately, Florida personal injury laws give dog bite victims a right to recover compensation from the dog owner.
A Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you get the fair damages you deserve. Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers is the oldest personal injury firm in the Tampa Bay area. We’ve helped countless individuals and families recover money after an accident. We’ll use our 65 years of experience to strengthen your case.
When you hire Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers to protect your family, you’ll benefit from an experienced advocate who will:
- Investigate to establish liability
- Assess the fair value of your injuries
- Hire experts as necessary to support your injury claim
- Negotiate to recover the maximum compensation in your case
A dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will usually compensate injury victims for dog bites. Our Clearwater personal injury attorneys are here for you when you’re ready. All you have to do is call to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your legal rights and options.
How Common Are Dog Bites in Clearwater, FL?
More than 4.5 million Americans sustain dog bite injuries each year. According to the CDC, more than 800,000 of those bite injuries require medical care.
In Florida, over 600 individuals are hospitalized each year due to dog bites. An average of two Floridians die from dog bites annually. Children under 10 are at the highest risk of dog bites and are more likely to be bitten on the head or neck than other age groups.
What is My Clearwater Dog Bite Injury Case Worth?
It’s important to know what your dog bite case is worth, even if the insurance company has already accepted responsibility for damages. The insurance company often makes a settlement offer quickly after learning the facts.
That doesn’t mean the initial offer will be fair. To get the full amount you deserve, you’ll have to evaluate the big picture and identify all of the ways the injury has impacted your life.
Key factors to consider include:
- The nature and cost of your medical treatment
- The impact of any permanent disabilities or scarring
- Your ongoing medical needs
- The value of your lost wages and income
- Any emotional trauma or PTSD caused by the event–especially if the victim was a child
If the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation, you always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Hiring an experienced injury lawyer can make the insurance company take your claim seriously.
At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve been helping clients in Clearwater for decades. We have relationships with experts and specialists who can bolster your case. To learn more about our case results and how we can help, give us a call for a free case review today.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies in Florida cover dog bite claims. You may be entitled to submit an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. Your compensation should include your economic damages and non-economic losses.
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Lost future earning capacity
Non-economic damages account for your non-financial suffering. You could be entitled to seek compensation to account for your:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- PTSD and anxiety
- Loss of consortium
Insurance companies have a strong incentive to downplay the severity of your injuries. They’ll do everything they can to pay less than you deserve. If you’d like an experienced attorney in Clearwater to fight to maximize your compensation award, call our law firm to schedule a free case review today.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite Injury in Florida?
Shared fault is often an important issue in dog bite cases. Typically, the dog’s owner will accuse you of provoking the dog. Both Florida dog bite laws and modified comparative fault laws allocate financial responsibility between all parties who played a role in causing the injury.
While you aren’t required to prove the dog owner was negligent, they can use your own negligence against you. If successful, your damages award will be reduced in proportion to your share of fault. And because Florida has a “51% rule” in place, you cannot recover damages if you were mostly to blame for the incident.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Thousands of Americans visit the emergency room because of dog bite injuries every year. Some of the injuries sustained because of a dog bite can be extremely severe–especially if the victim was a child.
At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ll fight to recover fair compensation for all of your dog bite injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Amputations caused by severe infections
While rare, some dog bite injuries can be fatal. Our Clearwater dog bite attorneys can help you file a lawsuit for wrongful death if you lost a loved one because of a dog bite injury.
Am I Required to Prove Negligence to Recover Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Florida?
Every state has its own set of dog bite laws. Under Florida state law, dog bite victims aren’t required to prove negligence to recover compensation. Dog owners can be held strictly liable for damages.
The strict liability dog bite law applies if:
- The dog bites another person and causes injuries
- The victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property when bitten (including the dog owner’s private property)
In Florida, the owner is liable for compensation even if the dog had never displayed aggressive tendencies before. There is no “one bite” law that allows dog owners to escape liability for a first bite.
Still, it’s not always easy for dog bite victims to recover fair compensation. The Florida dog bite law also considers the victim’s own actions in determining whether to award compensation.
Dog bite victims can recover compensation regardless of the dog’s former vicious behavior. However, if the dog bite victim’s negligence partly caused the biting incident, the victim’s compensation award can be reduced to account for the victim’s own share of fault.
Negligence in Florida Dog Bite Cases
Dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. However, they aren’t the only ones who may be financially liable for your injuries.
You can also hold third parties liable for your dog bite if they had a legal duty to exercise caution to prevent the dog from biting.
To recover compensation based on negligence, you’ll have to prove:
- The third party owed you a legal duty of care
- There was a breach of that duty
- The breach caused the events to happen as they did
- You suffered injuries as a result
Examples of responsible parties in your case could include:
- Dog walkers
- Property owners
- Business owners
- Pet sitters and anyone else who was responsible for the animal at the time
Negligence can also play a role when a dog attacks but doesn’t actually bite you. An animal attack can cause serious injuries. However, the Florida dog bite law only applies to situations where the dog actually bites the victim. If you were a victim of a dog attack, you’d have to prove that the dog owner was somehow negligent to recover compensation.
Negligence can be proven in a number of ways, including failure to:
- Abide by local leash laws
- Keep the dog in a confined, secure space
- Display a “bad dog” sign if the dog has displayed a history of viciousness
- Take extra precautions for a dog that has been classified as a “dangerous dog”
The victim’s age can also play a role in establishing liability. For example, dog owners can only use a “bad dog” sign to escape liability if the victim was at least six years old at the time of the attack.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After Sustaining a Dog Bite Injury in Florida?
Most dog bite victims in Florida have either two or four years to file a claim, based on a recent change in the state’s statute of limitations. The two-year time limit applies to injuries sustained on or after 3/24/2023, and the four-year limit applies to those sustained prior to that date. This statute of limitations may be tolled if the victim was a minor at the time of the attack, and there are other potential exceptions as well. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine the appropriate deadline for your case.
Contact Clearwater Dog Bite Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You could face substantial medical bills and painful corrective surgeries after a dog bite injury. Call a Clearwater dog bite lawyer at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers today to get the legal advice you deserve. We offer free consultations for all potential clients.
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