Are Dog Bite Lawyers Expensive?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately one out of every five people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. Dangerous diseases and the risk of infection make dog bites a serious medical emergency. Pursuing a personal injury claim is one option that injured individuals may want to consider.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations and collect no fees unless they collect compensation for you. If you experienced a dog bite due to a negligent pet owner, discussing your case with a Florida dog bite attorney can provide you with options for pursuing justice. Schedule a free consultation with Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today.
Why Dogs Bite
Thirty-six percent of homes in the United States have at least one dog. More than half of all dog bites occur in a home with dogs that are familiar to the victim. Whether you are visiting a relative, neighbor, or friend, a dog that you thought you knew can turn on you in an instant.
Certain situations can trigger even the friendliest of dogs to bite. Dogs may bite you or your child for one or more of the following reasons:
- The dog becomes startled or frightened.
- Dogs may bite to protect their owner or their puppies.
- The dog may be reacting to a stressful situation.
Some dogs bite as an attempt to play. Their initial nip may turn more serious if they become aggressive. A dog may also bite if it isn’t feeling well. While a dog may bite for what seems like no reason at all, certain triggers make dogs more prone to hurting someone.
Who Dogs Bite
While a dog can bite anyone, children are especially at risk. One study found that infants and children up to two-years-old comprise the majority of emergency room visits due to dog bites.Young children are often unaware of a dog’s mental state. Pulling on a dog’s tail or its ears is play to a child but can easily anger a dog. The extra danger for children is that due to their small size, many dog bites occur on their head, face, or neck. Due to the strength of a dog’s jaws, a child often endures scarring and possible cosmetic surgery for their injury.A dog can bite adults, either by chasing them, jumping on them or during play. Adults may receive bites to their arms, hands, or wrists when trying to defend themselves against the dog.
The following list contains some of the most common types of dogs that bite:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Lhasa Apso
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Bull Terrier
The reason why a dog bit you is usually among the least of your immediate worries. Seeking medical care is essential to preventing infection and disease from your wound.
Health Dangers of Dog Bites
The CDC reports that there are more than 60 different kinds of bacteria found in a dog’s mouth. Approximately 18 percent or more of dog bites become infected with bacteria. The following diseases can result from a dog bite:
- Rabies – The rabies virus is typically spread through the saliva and bite of an infected animal. Rabies affects the brain and is almost always fatal once discovered. Rabies is preventable when dogs receive the vaccine. When seeking treatment for your bite, ask the doctor if a vaccine is necessary for you.
- Pasteurella – This bacteria results in a painful, red infection at the site of the bite. It can cause more serious illness in patients with weak immune systems. Pasteurella is present in more than half of all infected bite wounds.
- MRSA – As a staph infection, MRSA is resistant to many types of antibiotics. Dogs with MRSA often exhibit no symptoms of the disease that can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in people. MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs, resulting in life-threatening infections.
- Tetanus – Described as a toxin, tetanus develops as the result of a particular bacteria. Tetanus can cause rigid paralysis in people and is especially a problem for dog bites that leave deep wounds.
Due to the possibility of dangerous diseases—especially rabies—report the dog bite to local officials. If you don’t know who owns the dog or if it exhibits strange behavior, consider contacting your local animal control officer or local police. If you do know the owner, ask if the dog has a current rabies vaccination. The owner should present you with the rabies vaccine license number, the name of the veterinarian, and the owner’s address and contact information.
Physical Do Bite Damage
In addition to disease, what makes a dog bite dangerous is the pressure of a dog’s bite. Measured in terms of a PSI (pounds per square inch), the force of a dog’s jaws and teeth can severely damage layers of skin, tendons, and even muscle. An open wound is prone to infection, making immediate medical care imperative.A dog bite can make you very ill and damage your soft tissues to the point that you require surgery. Depending upon where the dog bites you, you may face challenges with daily tasks or miss time from work due to your injuries. For example, a dog bite to your hand can affect your career if you use a computer all day.
Pet owners must control their pets. Maintaining control is essential for everyone’s safety, and while some owners may believe that their dog would never bite someone, pet behavior is unpredictable. If a dog bit you, you may have options to seek compensation for your injuries under Florida law. Gather as much evidence as possible regarding the incident that resulted in the bite. Statements and contact information from witnesses can serve as a great benefit in any future litigation.
Why You Need an Attorney for a Dog Bite
When someone invites you to his or her property, you generally accept the invitation expecting a certain standard of care. This is why most dog bite cases fall under what is referred to as premises liability law. Friends, family, or neighbors extend an invitation, you accept, and their dog bites you. Filing a claim against someone you know is often difficult but necessary when it comes to expenses associated with your injury. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to reach out with a settlement offer soon after the incident. While the initial settlement offer may seem like a lot of money, chances are it isn’t enough to cover your future medical care.
An insurance company may try to deny any claim citing that you perhaps agitated the dog, causing it to bite. Don’t fall for the games and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying a settlement. Stand firm by what happened and hold the pet owner responsible for your damages. Don’t speak with insurance company representatives without legal representation. Insurance companies like to settle cases quickly and for the least amount of money possible. Protect your interests by declining to speak with them. It is a better idea to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney experienced with dog bite cases.
Recurring Dog Bite Damages
Your dog bite wound may require continuous trips to the doctor, future surgeries, expensive antibiotics, and physical therapy. Should a deadly bacteria enter your bloodstream or lungs, you may require hospitalization. The same is true if a dog bites your child. The child may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and develop a fear of dogs. Additionally, your child may require extensive cosmetic surgery to repair facial scars. The costs for therapy and additional surgeries will far exceed any existing health insurance.
Controlling a dog is the owner’s responsibility. No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that result due to a negligent dog owner. Most dog owners do not know or cannot accurately predict how their dog will interact with people—whether it is someone they know or someone new. Chancing that the encounter goes well means placing the visitor, you, at risk for serious harm and the owner liable for potential injuries.
A Dog Bite Case Costs You Nothing
A free case evaluation helps an attorney to learn more about the details of your case. An attorney can decide from pictures, medical reports, witness statements, and animal control officer reports if you have a case. Should you proceed with litigation, most personal injury attorneys charge no fee unless they collect compensation for you.
While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The uncertainty of your future as a result of the dog bite is why you should never accept an insurance company’s initial settlement. A Florida personal injury attorney experienced with cases involving dog bites knows how to best calculate your future expenses. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free case evaluation. Time is of the essence, however, so don’t delay. The statute of limitations requires that you file a personal injury claim within a certain period of time.
Most personal injury cases settle out-of-court. Should your case need to go to trial, hire a dog bite attorney who feels comfortable litigating claims. Knowing that you have someone protecting your best interests and handling the details of your case allows you to focus on your recovery.No one expects to visit someone they know, only to experience a dog bite. It only takes a second for a dog to turn on someone they know or to play too rough with a child. When you or someone you love experiences a painful dog bite, it is your right—and a smart idea—to consult a personal injury attorney.
Treat Dog Bite Injuries Seriously
When it comes to a dog bite, there’s more than meets the eye. The owner may apologize and offer you first aid. Never underestimate a dog bite. Lurking under the surface are often bacteria and other germs. Furthermore, you or your child, whoever was bitten, may have a tear that requires stitches. Obtaining as much information as possible about the dog is important, especially when it comes to the rabies virus. If you are unfamiliar with the dog and don’t know its owner, contact animal control, or the local police.
Dog bites can permanently damage the point of injury if not treated right away. In some cases, the wound may not heal correctly, leaving you or your child disfigured. If you experienced a severe dog bite, or a dog bit your child at a gathering, do seek medical attention. Once you realize the true extent of what occurred, gather your evidence and give serious thought to contacting a personal injury attorney. It is your best option for seeking compensation for your mounting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Most dogs are great companions and, when raised properly and treated kindly, are gentle souls. We may never know why a friendly dog suddenly becomes aggressive and bites someone. Owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of invited visitors to their property. When they fail to secure or maintain their dogs, resulting in a painful dog bite for one of the guests, the property owner is liable for the injured individual’s injuries. Proving liability is best left to a legal professional. Negotiating with insurance companies requires aggressive skills that come with years of legal experience. Trying to negotiate a settlement on your own can leave you disappointed and without the funds that you need for medical care.
Seek an Experienced Florida Dog Bite Injury Attorney
The right personal injury attorney will aggressively fight for you while at the same time treating you and your family with respect. Don’t risk your future or your health by accepting a low dollar insurance settlement offer. You deserve better. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a consultation with Dolman Law’s dog bite injury attorneys.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765