What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog on Someone’s Property in Florida
Dog bites and attacks are common injuries that can happen at someone’s home, place of business, or even at a public park. There are certain breeds of dogs in Florida that are considered “dangerous.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 1,000 Americans are sent to the emergency room every day for dog inflicted injuries. An insurance company actually does not have to write you a policy if you own a dog that is considered to be a dangerous breed. You would be surprised at what breeds are considered dangerous. One would generally think of pitbulls or rottweilers, but no one thinks of a German Shepard as being dangerous. There is actually a long list of dangerous dog breeds as defined by insurance companies.
According to the State of Florida, here are the top 10 most aggressive dog breeds (listed in alphabetical order):
• Alaskan Malamute
• Chow Chow
• Doberman Pinscher
• German Shepherd
• Pit Bull
• Presa Canario
• Siberian Husky
• Staffordshire Bull Terrier
If you are attacked by a dog in Tampa, FL (or any city in Florida), you should immediately locate the dog owner responsible and report the incident. If you are severely injured, immediately seek healthcare assistance and go to the emergency room as soon as possible. You can also call your local animal control to give them a detailed account of the dog attack along with the owner’s name and address (assuming you already have that information). Please document your injuries from the attack by taking photos or having someone take photos of your injuries. It is also important to document the time and scene of the attack as well as the dog responsible. Consult with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to help you receive full compensation for the potential damages and suffering that has occurred from the dog attack.
Why Pursuing Claims for Dog Bite Injuries at Homes in Florida is Complicated
In many cases, the homeowner / dog owner does not inform the insurance company that they have a dog, and the insurance company may elect not to come and make a site inspection. This scenario is quite common. So as a guest you may go into the house expecting that their is homeowners insurance to provide coverage in case of any accident. But, if you try making a claim against the homeowners insurance company in a situation where they do not know about the dog, what ends up happening is that the insurance company will often void the policy from the beginning if there was a material misrepresentation in the application for FL homeowners insurance. If the insurance company voids the homeowners insurance policy in a dog bite claim, then the next step is to pursue compensation from the owner of the home property (which in Florida is normally an individual, but in some cases the property may be an LLC or other business entity).
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog in Florida (whether at a residential home, commercial business, or public space), please call The Law Offices of Christopher DeBari at (727) 656-7852 right away to discuss the nuances of your case and and begin protecting your legal rights.