What to do if You or Your Child is Bit by a Dog
- Seek immediate medical attention regarding cleaning the wound and testing for various injuries specifically related to animal bites such as rabies. In severe attacks, procedures such as cosmetic surgery, repair of broken or shattered bone and others may be required.
- If able to safely, take photographs or videos of the injuries and the scene where the bite took place
- Do not admit liability for yourself or your child. Should you decide to make a claim, the insurance company will investigate liability. If you admit it, they will gladly place all blame on you and deny your claim.
- Report the incident to the local animal control and get a copy of the report. Usually, if animal control is able to locate the dog, they can determine its status on rabies vaccination and whether it has a history of past attacks. In addition, they may be able to prevent it from doing so again. Do not let compassion stop you from taking this step. The safety of you, your child and others is more important that ensuring the dog remains alive and well with its negligent owners.
- Report the incident to the police and, again, get a copy of the report.
- Speak to a qualified attorney who can help you figure out your options.
Who Might Cover my Damages?
In the State of Florida and cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and others, the law is clear on the fact that the owner is liable for all damages caused by the dog. Sometimes, homeowner’s insurance policies will cover these types of damages; however, many insurance companies are beginning to remove this coverage from their policies. At this point, you have to hope that the person responsible for the dog has sufficient assets to cover your damages and pursue a recovery against those assets.
In some unique cases, a business insurance policy or the insurance policy held by a property or landlord may also cover damages from a dog bite. Because coverage varies by state, city, company and policy, it is important to contact an attorney who can thoroughly investigate all of your options. Attorney Herman & Wells not only handles personal injury cases but insurance disputes as well, giving him a unique skill set given that he understands how to document, describe and prove your injuries to a jury as well as how to pursue any involved insurance companies tactfully and aggressively.
Statutes of limitation may apply and can vary by state, so it is best to talk with a qualified attorney soon after an injury to determine if you have a valid claim.
There is no charge for an initial consultation. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries as a result of a dog or other animal attack, please contact us online or call toll free 888-821-3195 or 727-821-3195.