Dog bites can result in far more painful and long-lasting injury than some people might expect. Even a single bite by a dog can result in serious muscle and tissue damage, or serious infections during the recovery process. It can cause long-term nerve damage to the hands that make working difficult, sometimes enough to require a permanent change in career. A more aggressive attack can mean even more serious damage to the body, which may require extensive medical treatments and physical therapy.
The danger of dog bites doesn’t end with the physical damage, however. A violent attack can cause long-lasting psychological problems that may make it difficult to leave the house, to work properly or to manage outdoor interactions that may constantly involve unwanted contact with dogs. Long-term mental health care may be necessary to fully recover from the trauma of a dog bite attack.
If you need help after an attack, please contact our dog bite attorneys in Tampa, Florida. Our Tampa team of personal injury lawyers have worked with many dog bite victims, and we understand the unique injuries that are involved in these types of cases. We can discuss your injury with you during a free consultation if you contact us right now.
What to Do After a Dog Attack in Florida
You can assist your dog bite injury attorney by following these steps as soon as possible after an attack. If you want help right away, you can call to get answers to any questions, and more details on what you can do until your free consultation.
Seek immediate medical attention, and request a full evaluation at your next convenience
Make sure that you get medical help as soon as possible after you have been bitten by a dog. Call 911 from the scene of the attack, or from a safe location if the dog is not yet restrained and still in the area. Do not try to determine how serious your wounds are if you do not have a medical background. Even light dog bites need to be treated immediately to lower the risk of infection. EMS personnel or a doctor should be given a chance to inspect the wound.
Schedule a full examination of the injuries as soon as possible after the dog attack. During the early stages of an injury, deeper damage to nerves, bones and tissue might not be apparent because the pain from surface injuries drowns out the rest. X-rays, scans and blood work to verify that no diseases were transmitted are all recommended.
Reach out to any witnesses
Dog bite attacks often take place in residential areas where there are people around to see and hear an attack. If possible, try to collect the contact information of anyone who witnesses the attack or helps to restrain the animal. Your lawyers will also help you collect information, but if possible, try to find out the following so that you can bring it with you to your consultation:
- Who owns the dog?
- Does the owner have a history of ignoring the dogs (for example, does the dog have a history of being able to escape and roam free)?
- Was the dog under supervision at the time of the attack (for example, was the dog on a leash or being watched by owner)?
- Was the dog known by any neighbors to be aggressive?
- Has the dog attacked in the past?
All of these questions can be used to determine the negligence of the owner. However, not all dogs involved in attacks are owned by anyone. Your injury may be more attributable to the negligence of property owners or city governments who have allowed feral dog populations to gather and threaten people who travel through certain areas.
Consider an evaluation with a mental health professional
After a dog bite, you may want to schedule some time to discuss your attack with a therapist of your choice. Even a single violent experience can create stress disorders. If you notice that you are experiencing changes in behavior, or if you are developing unwanted responses to certain events, you should request an assessment from a therapist.
Therapy may be considered part of the expense associated with your recovery, especially if it limits your ability to properly do your job.
How Liability is Determined in Dog Bite Cases in the Tampa Bay Area
- In most cases, the defendant in a dog attack case is going to be the owner of the dog. Dog owners are liable if their dogs are vicious, even if they have never known their dog to be viscous. While the dog owner is the most common type of defendant, there are still many factors that can limit or split that responsibility. For example, if the dog was provoked in any way by the victims, that behavior is certainly going to be held against them.
- The dog owner’s liability may also be limited in cases where the danger of the dog was adequately advertised. If there is a sign nearby that warns that the dog is dangerous, anyone who approaches the dog carelessly, even if they did not intentionally provoke it, will likely be found responsible for their injury. This may not always apply in cases where there are young children in the area. In that case, dog owners must exercise extra care to see that the dog is secured properly.