If you sustained an injury from a dog bite or attack, contact the St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers today. We can investigate the incident and determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation. The dog’s owner could be liable for your injury and resulting losses.
Although many dogs are friendly and not prone to aggressive behavior, a dog bite injury can result from a range of contributing factors. Sometimes, dogs accidentally bite while playing or protecting themselves from a perceived threat.
Dogs bite down with extreme force, and their sharp teeth can cause significant physical damage. Their teeth can cause puncture wounds and tear through tissue, nerves, and tendons. Bacteria can enter the wound and lead to serious infections that require emergency medical care.
Physical injuries aren’t the only consequences of a dog bite. Victims can also suffer severe psychological or emotional harm. Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or phobias of dogs. Others develop depression from a disfiguring injury or permanent scarring.
At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, our dog bite injury attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL, understand the trauma you experienced. Even if the injury is minor, you could face a difficult journey to recover from the emotional effects of the attack. Medical bills can be expensive and cause significant financial strain if you can’t afford to pay them. You might even end up in massive debt.
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers has represented dog bite victims since 2007. Our legal team is ready to help you hold the dog’s owner liable and recover the maximum compensation you deserve. You can count on us to be your advocate and fight by your side for justice. You don’t have to go through the complicated legal process alone. We will remain by your side until the end.
Call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers for your free consultation at (727) 605-1100 or contact us online to learn more about your legal options following a dog bite injury.
Common Causes of Dog Bite Injuries
An adult or child could be the victim of a dog attack and sustain an injury. Sometimes, a dog lunges at someone without provocation. It might seem like some dogs attack a person for no good reason.
Although some dog bite injuries result from the injured person’s actions, an attack can occur through no fault of their own due to other contributing factors, such as:
- Startlement – A dog might feel startled by someone suddenly petting it or entering its personal space. The dog could bite an outstretched hand or arm if it feels it needs to protect itself.
- Maternal instinct – A mother dog has an inherent instinct to protect its pups. If it thinks someone is threatening the life or safety of the babies, it might attack.
- Fear – Sometimes, fear is a driving force behind many dog bite injuries. A perceived threat might make a dog bite to protect itself if it believes it’s in danger.
- Rough play – Unfortunately, an innocent game of fetch or tug of war with a dog could turn violent. A dog might get too excited and lunge at the person playing with them and accidentally bite their leg, fingers, or arm.
- Pain – When dogs are in pain, they don’t want anyone to touch or bother them. They may think the only way of getting someone to back off and leave them alone is to bite or attack.
You could seek legal action if you weren’t entirely at fault for your dog bite injury. Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers will review the evidence to determine who was liable for the bite and create a strategy to seek the compensation necessary to help you recover.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Puncture wounds are common when a dog bites a human. However, they’re not the only type of injury that can occur. The most common dog bite injuries include:
- Torn tendons, tissue, and muscle
- Permanent scarring
- Head and neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Facial fractures or disfigurement
- Eye injuries
- Broken bones in the feet, hands, and fingers
- Depression, PTSD, and other psychological conditions
Some dog bite injuries can lead to complications, such as:
Clostridium tetani causes the tetanus infection. It is a serious infection that affects the nervous system. Although it isn’t curable, medical treatment could manage the symptoms until the infection disappears.
The most common symptoms of tetanus include:
- Jaw cramping
- Painful, stiff muscles throughout the body
- Sudden and involuntary muscle spasms
- Sweating and fever
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
Dog bite wounds commonly contain the Pasteurella multocida bacteria. Infections, soft tissue damage, and respiratory problems can occur when this type of bacteria enters a person’s body.
The most common signs of Pasteurella include:
- Septic arthritis
- Redness at the injury site
Sepsis is the body’s aggressive response to an infection. It can cause tissue damage and organ failure, and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
The most common signs of sepsis include:
- Sweaty skin
- Trouble breathing
- Fever and chills
- Extreme pain
- Confusion or disorientation
- Low blood pressure or fast heart rate
Rabies exposure after a dog bite causes a range of severe symptoms when the virus travels to the brain. Flu-like symptoms, weakness, and fever are common during the initial stages. However, as the disease progresses, it can cause more severe symptoms, such as:
- Cerebral dysfunction
- Abnormal behavior
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by staph bacteria. It’s extremely difficult to treat due to its resistance to many common antibiotics. The infection can develop near the site of a dog bite and enter the body. When the infection spreads, it can lead to various complications, such as:
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Permanent organ damage
If you develop any unusual symptoms after sustaining a dog bite injury, seek immediate medical care at a nearby hospital or urgent care facility. The sooner you treat the injury, the more likely you’ll heal. You might need stitches to close the wound or shots to prevent infections.
Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
If someone’s dog bites you on their property, you could file a lawsuit for compensation. However, if the dog’s owner is a family member or friend and you worry that pursuing legal action might ruin your relationship, you could file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. Instead of your friend or relative paying you for your injury, their insurer can provide a settlement.
The compensation you receive could cover various losses, such as:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damage to personal property
If you file a lawsuit, you might be able to recover punitive damages, as well. This is another type of compensation that punishes the defendant for their wrongdoing. You must provide clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence for the jury to make an award of this type to you.
Florida Statute of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
The Florida statute of limitations allows a four-year timeframe to file a lawsuit for a dog bite injury. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within four years of the date of the attack to seek compensation. If the timeframe passes, you could lose your right to file suit against the dog’s owner.
Certain exceptions could toll the statute of limitations. That means you could extend or delay the timeframe for filing your lawsuit. The exceptions include:
- Legal disability – If you are under a legal disability, you must file suit within four years from the date of removing the legal disability. A legal disability means you are of unsound mind or under 18 years old when the incident happens.
- Out of state – If the defendant leaves Florida before you initiate your lawsuit, their absence won’t count towards the four-year period. The statute won’t start to run again until they return to the state.
Tolling the statute of limitations is confusing for many people. You must know state laws and the procedure for requesting the court to give you more time to file suit. Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers can review your case to determine whether you’re eligible to toll the statute. We can draft the necessary legal documents and file them with the court on your behalf.
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers is proud of the reputation we’ve gained since opening our firm in 2007. We have received recognition from multiple organizations, including Super Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Additionally, Avvo gave several of our St. Petersburg dog bite injury attorneys a top rating for our professional conduct, experience, and industry recognition.
We understand the financial strain of recovering from a dog bite injury. You might need ongoing physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion. Some people can’t return to their jobs due to the physical limitations of their injury. Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers doesn’t want to burden you with additional expenses. That’s why we take cases on contingency. You don’t have to pay us upfront for our legal services. We don’t collect our legal fees unless we secure compensation for our clients.
If you suffered a dog bite injury due to the dog owner’s or another negligent party’s actions, call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (727) 605-1100 for your free and confidential consultation. We’re available 24/7 to answer your questions and advise you about what we can do for you.