More than 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs on an annual basis, and approximately one in every six dog bites is serious enough to require emergency medical attention. Owners of dogs, no matter the dog breed, can be held responsible when a dog bit or attack occurs. If you live in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, and have suffered injuries after being bitten or attacked by a dog or another animal, it helps to know your legal rights.
Your right to recover for a dog bite will be dependent upon the dog’s history and the applicable leash laws for the county or city in which the attack occurred. Information related to the dog’s history will often need to be gathered in order for a person injured by a dog bite to have the chance to recover damages. In addition, leash law variations will have a significant impact on your ability to recover.
Since injuries from dog bites are often covered by homeowner’s insurance coverage, insurance investigators are often at work quickly after a dog bite or attack occurs. The insurance company is protecting the person it insures, from potential responsibility from the dog bite or attack. This includes gathering statements, photographing the scene, arranging for legal representation for their client and any other action that will help the dog owner.
The insurance company will try to reach a quick settlement with the injured party, with their ultimate goal being avoidance of responsibility for future medical expenses; lost wages and other damages that may develop. This is a trap that an injure person MUST avoid. When a person is injured by a dog bite, it takes months to assess the full injuries. There may be a need for reconstructive surgery, the person may be permanently disabled or they could require several rounds of surgery to correct muscle damage. This means that the true value of a claim can only be determine after a firm medical prognosis has been established by a medical professional. If you settle too soon, you will regret the settlement as injuries become progressively worse.
There are other significant issues that develop for persons injured by a dog bite. For instance, if your health insurance company pays for your medical bills they will very often seek to obtain reimbursement from your settlement with the dog owner’s insurance company. There are significant limitations on their right to obtain such reimbursement. Likewise, if you were on the job when injured, the worker’s compensation insurance company will try to obtain reimbursement of their payments for medical expenses and lost wages. Again, there are significant limitations on their right to receive reimbursement. These are important issues that you need to understand prior to agreeing to any settlement with the dog owner’s insurance company.
Determining the appropriate value of a claim for personal injury due to a dog bit is complicated. It requires the evaluation of the nature and extent of the injury, the economic losses that can be recovered and the liability issues related to the dog attack. Since the insurance companies have experience in evaluating personal injury claims and will seek to obtain the lowest settlement possible, it is important to have an attorney with considerable experience dealing with insurance companies in your corner.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, it is important to consult with a Tampa personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. At Hunter Law, P.A. we deal with the red tape after a low back injury, allowing you the time to concentrate on your recovery. Call a dog bit injury lawyer from Hunter Law, P.A. at 855.350.HURT to schedule a free consultation for your case.