Dog Bite Injury FAQ

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first thing you need to do is to take care of the wound that you received. If it’s extremely significant and you need hospitalization, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

How Long After a Dog Bite Can You Sue?

Generally, the statute of limitations for a dog attack or a dog injury is just like any other personal injury claim and it varies by each state law. It’s normally a negligence claim for the dog owner who has failed to supervise or restrain his dog, and so each state will have a different amount of time in which you can bring a lawsuit. In Florida the statute of limitations for a dog bite case is four years. That means that your lawsuit against the owner of the dog or what any person that was in control of the dog must be filed in the correct court within that statute of limitations period. Otherwise, your case may be forever barred. If you’re unsure of the statute of limitations or have questions as to this issue, you need to contact an accident or injury attorney right away.

What Are The Symptoms Of Rabies From A Dog Bite

After the first exposure from a dog bite, the symptoms of itching or discomfort like pins and needles pricking the skin occur at the dog bite area. In addition, the person may develop a fever and headaches; these symptoms usually last anywhere from two days to potentially weeks. There’s an acute phase of the disease and that begins to set in any time from two days and longer. The National Institute of Health suggest that the average incubation or latent incubation period can last anywhere from three to seven weeks but those symptoms may not appear for even longer. Other symptoms that you may have if you’ve contracted rabies from a bite include anxiety, stress or tension, delirium, convulsions, extreme sensation at the bite site, hallucinations, loss of feeling in that area of the body or loss of muscle function, fevers, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling, difficulty swallowing. If the symptoms persist it is potentially fatal so you need to seek treatment as quickly as possible from the time you have been bitten.

What are the risks of a dog bite?

The risks of a dog bite potentially are harm to muscles or tendons or bone if the bite is significant enough or deep enough. If it’s not, if it’s broken the skin, you run a risk of infection or rabies. Treatment needs to be undertaken as quickly as possible from the date of the dog bite and will usually require some sort of antibiotic or potentially a tetanus shot to prevent rabies.

What Happens When You Report A Dog Bite

You should contact either the police so that they can do an investigation of the incident or your local Animal Control office so that they can then write a report and determine if this dog has bitten anyone in the past, if there’s been prior incidents with this dog owner and to determine if the dog is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations or if potentially the dog has rabies. Contacting the police or Animal Control is extremely important after a dog bite.

Who Is Responsible For A Dog Bite

The responsible person in a dog bite is either the owner of the dog or the person is responsible for the dog at the time that the incident occurred. That means that if you’re aware of the owner and they were the one who is responsible for the dog at the time of the bite, they may be covered under insurance and the insurance company would be responsible to pay for your injuries. That insurance company could either be their homeowner’s insurance company or their renter’s insurance company, depending on whether they own or rent a home. The same thing applies to anyone who is in possession or control of a dog. Again, their homeowner’s or renter’s policy and that insurance company would potentially be responsible to pay for your damages.

How do you sue someone for a dog bite?

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you have a right to bring a claim against the person who owned the dog or the person who is in control of the dog.  You can contact a personal injury lawyer to represent you on a contingency fee basis to bring your claim. Normally they’re able to work with the homeowner or the homeowner’s insurance to reach a settlement for money damages for your injury, your medical bills and your pain and suffering. If they are not able to do that they will then file a lawsuit against the homeowner or the dog owner to collect the full value of your damages.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On A Dog Bite

The statute of limitations on a dog bite vary depending upon what state you are located in. Normally, a dog bite is considered a negligence claim and, therefore, similar to a car accident has a statute of limitations set by the legislature of each state. In Florida, for example, a dog bite claim has a statute of limitations of four years. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the statute of limitations in your state.

What Are Common Dog Bite Lawsuit Questions

There are certain suggestions for dog ownership to help to limit whether a dog will bite another person or try to help lower the chances of that occurring. The Insurance Information Institute actually offers seven tips on dog ownership. The first is to consult with a professional, such as a veterinarian, animal behaviorist or breeder, to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household or your neighborhood. Second, to spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it and particularly to use caution in bringing a dog into a home that has an infant or a toddler. Third, to have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are not fixed. The fourth is to socialize your dog so it knows how to act around people and animals. Fifth is to teach children to refrain from disturbing a dog that is either eating or sleeping. Sixth is to play nonaggressive games with your dog, such as fetch, as compared to playing aggressive games like tug of war that could encourage inappropriate behavior. And seventh, never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears to be threatening.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

At Steinger, Greene and Feiner, our experienced personal injury lawyers have the strong legal backgrounds and extensive legal knowledge that you need to have the best chance of a successful personal injury claim. Whether you are negotiating a settlement outside of court or proving your claim to a jury, you can trust us to use our legal skills to help you get the best outcome possible.