Orlando Dog Bite Lawyers
Serving Clients in Orlando, Pinellas Park and Central Florida
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Orlando Dog Bite Lawyers
According to the website of the Florida Bar, over 500 people every year are injured severely enough by a dog bite to need hospitalization. This number is even more surprising when you realize that many dog bites are preventable.
If you are reading this, you may have been bitten by a dog and seriously injured. You were likely traumatized by the experience. You might still be in pain. You may still be dealing with the injury, due to nerve damage, infection, or the need for plastic surgery. You may be unsure whether to pursue a claim, because the dog belonged to a friend or relative. You need to find someone to help you get answers.
We are here for you. Call our Orlando dog bite lawyers today to get answers and legal advice in a free consultation.
Don’t worry about paying us upfront; there is no charge for the question-and-answer session, and absolutely no obligation.
Read on to get the basics about your dog bite claim. We’ll start by explaining some of the common missteps people make after getting bitten by a dog that can ruin a claim. Then, we’ll use a story to illustrate additional aspects of dog bite cases you need to be aware of. Make sure to read it all the way through, as it contains a lot of helpful information.
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Common Dog Bite Claim Mistakes
The violence of a dog attack makes getting bitten by a dog not only painful, but also traumatizing. When these injuries occur, it’s not uncommon for the injured person to delay going to the doctor.
Not Going to the Doctor Right Away
When bitten by a dog, people may downplay what has happened due to embarrassment. They might think they somehow brought the attack on themselves. They might be worried about causing a rift with a friend or family member. They might be worried about what will happen to the dog after they speak up. They may just be so pumped with adrenaline from the attack that they can’t yet feel the severity of their injuries.
No matter why you may be hesitating to go to the doctor or hospital, know that it is very important that you go. It’s important to your health, and it’s important to your case.
You need to make sure your injuries are treated and there’s no risk of infection or rabies. You also need proof of the injury if you later decide to file a dog bite claim. Your medical exam will establish a timeline and record of your injuries that will become important evidence the insurance company can’t deny.
Not Following Your Doctor’s Aftercare Instructions
Once you get an exam for your injuries, it is critical to remember to complete the doctor’s prescribed course of treatment. This can take many forms. It might include physical therapy for a lacerated ligament or a series of antibiotics that must be taken to completion to be effective. It may even be counseling to help you move beyond the fear of dogs you now have as a result of the attack.
If you do not complete whatever follow-up care your doctor prescribes, you are helping the insurance company devalue your claim. “After all,” they’ll say, “How injured could you have been if you didn’t need to go to your physical therapy appointments?”
It’s a mistake to give the insurance company any leverage in your case.
Don’t Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement
Saying “no” is tough. This is especially true if you’d describe yourself as a people-pleaser. And if you’re a people-pleaser feeling particularly vulnerable after a dog bite injury, saying “no” will make you feel even more awful.
This is what the insurance company is counting on. The friendly, concerned-sounding insurance adjusters are not calling to help you. They are calling for information that can be used to get your case thrown out. It won’t sound like that. These people are well-trained. Inevitably, however, they will ask for a recorded statement.
The best thing you can do to protect the value of your dog bite claim is politely say, “No,” and hang up.
Waiting to Hire a Lawyer
Just like not going to the doctor right away, waiting to hire a lawyer can be detrimental to your case.
Even though you have four years to file a personal injury claim in the state of Florida, you must remember that evidence usually doesn’t hang around. The longer you hesitate, the more evidence you will lose.
Witnesses may forget exactly what happened, move, or change phone numbers or emails.The last thing you need is the frustration of knowing that waiting to hire an attorney probably cost you thousands, or possibly allowed the insurance company to get away with not paying you anything.
Not Hiring the Right Lawyer
Once you’ve resolved to hire a lawyer, make sure that you choose someone with the experience your case requires. Not all lawyers have the same knowledge base, because each practice area of the law has its own rules and regulations.
Even within personal injury, your strongest case will be made by a lawyer who has successfully taken on dog bite cases. This experience should include the courtroom.
A lawyer who doesn’t have a track record of winning at trial is not going to be your best bet if your case doesn’t settle.
You need someone who’s handled dog bite cases, is skilled in tough negotiations, and is comfortable speaking to a jury.
Orlando Dog Bite Client Story
The purpose of the following client story is to make you aware of some important aspects of your dog bite case and to answer some of the questions you probably have. Read through to the end to make sure you get the full benefit of the information.
When you finish, please give us a call to get free legal advice in a consultation about your specific dog bite case.
Just a few years ago, Julie Aikins, a smart, focused high school senior went to a pool party at the home of her best friend’s boyfriend, Tim. Julie was excited to go because Beth said Tim’s family had an amazing home, and all the cool kids would be there.
Not long after their arrival though, Beth broke her promise to not leave Julie alone among strangers, and went off with Tim to the boat dock, deep in a conversation about their plans for college.
Julie was left awkwardly by herself.
After one hour that felt like three, Julie decided to call her mom, Pam, for a ride home.
She went through the open patio doors into a large, airy sunroom, looking for a bathroom where she could change out of her swimsuit.
As Julie crossed the room, a flash of movement caught her eye. She turned to see an enormous gray dog stretched across the cool white tiles.
Julie had always loved dogs, and planned to go to veterinary school after college. She quietly approached the dog, marveling. It was at least as big as she was.
It remained sprawled out, but wagged its tail. Julie couldn’t identify the breed; it may have been a mix of a wolfhound and something stockier. Mastiff, maybe? Whatever it was gave it the look of a huge, soft, teddy bear.
The dog thumped its tail again, following her approach with its eyes, but remaining where it was. Julie knelt down and reached to pet the dog’s belly.
In a roar of fury, the dog flipped up and ripped into Julie’s forearm. She fell back onto the tile, terrified, kicking her feet to get away, but not finding purchase on the slick tiles. The dog lunged again, and with a fierce growl, clamped on to Julie’s ankle like a vice.
Pain ripped through Julie’s leg as the dog shook its head, still gripping her ankle. She struggled to pull free.
Then as quickly as it had begun, the attack was over. The dog released her and lay back on the tile, completely still, as if nothing had happened.
Julie scrambled backward across the floor to the door, never taking her eyes off the dog.
When Pam pulled up, she found Julie waiting at the curb wrapped in a beach towel so big it went all the way to her feet. Pam thought it odd, given the heat, but maybe Julie was cold from the pool.
On the way home, Pam prattled on about dinner while Julie tried to pretend everything was okay. Still dazed, her mind raced. The whole episode was so weird; she was having trouble wrapping her head around it. She would have thought she’d imagined it, but there was the pain.
Pam suddenly realized her daughter hadn’t said a word, nor responded, since she had flopped into the seat beside her.
Honey, are you okay?”
Julie opened her mouth to lie and burst into tears. Confused, Pam pulled to the curb to find out what was wrong.
“Honey? Honey, what’s wrong? You know you can tell me any— Julie, you’re bleeding!”
All Julie could do was nod as blood soaked through the towel covering her forearm. It was also pooling around her feet.
“We’re going straight to the hospital,” Julie’s mom announced, turning the car around.
“Wait, mom, no! Beth is my best friend. No one even saw what happened. I should never have tried to pet the dog. Everyone will hate me,” Julie blurted in a rush of emotion.
An hour later, Pam and Julie were stunned to learn the extent of the damage. The dog had torn ligaments and muscle in Julie’s forearm and foot. She was being prepped for surgery.
Julie was released from the hospital late the next afternoon with a prescription for pain meds and antibiotics. She’d be returning in five days to check her stitches. The doctor also wanted to rule out nerve damage over the coming weeks.
That evening, Pam gave Julie her second dose of the prescribed antibiotics and pain meds, checked her stitches, and sent her to bed early.
Julie was so exhausted; she was asleep the second her head hit the pillow.
That’s when Pam called us.
We could hear Pam’s voice catch as she told us what had happened. We agreed to meet them in our office the next morning.
How much will it cost to hire a lawyer?
Pam arrived the next day with Julie in tow. Julie’s left arm was wrapped from wrist to elbow. Her right foot was also wrapped, and she was using a single crutch to keep the weight off her injured foot.
Julie, embarrassed by the attention the meeting was already focusing on her, gave us a beautiful smile and promptly turned beet red. We took seats and began.
Like many clients, Pam’s first question was, “How much would it cost to hire you?”
She went on to say that she was in the middle of a divorce. While everything was amicable enough, money was tight.
We told her, “Our law firm won’t charge you anything upfront.”
Pam was very relieved, and we went on to let her know how our contingency fee system worked.“We fund everything, covering all costs from start to finish. When it’s over, we only get paid when we achieve a successful resolution for your case.”
“Okay, that’s very good news,” Pam replied.
How much is my dog bite case worth?
Pam’s next question was what a dog bite case might be worth. We answered that it’s tough to say.
“First we need to do an investigation into the attack and get an accurate idea of Julie’s damages. We can start the investigation as soon as we’re hired. It will mean gathering evidence and talking to witnesses. We’ll also get started on all the necessary documentation involved in your case.”
“Wait, WHAT?” Julie sputtered, looking desperately at her mom. “Beth will freak. And there were no witnesses! They probably don’t even know it happened — Mom!”
Our lawyer calmly let Julie know that with her injuries, she probably left a trail of blood that generated more than a few questions. And chances are, given the severity of the attack, it’s happened before. There was a lot we needed to look into.
“You know, Julie,” the lawyer said, “You should be determined to keep anyone else from getting injured. We are already very impressed with your bravery. You are stronger than you think.”
Julie slumped in her chair and stared at her injured arm. “I guess so,” she mumbled, “So, what’s next?”
“Right now, we need you to focus on getting better,” we told her. “That means rest. Keep your sutures clean and dry, and follow all the doctor’s instructions. We need you to reach maximum medical improvement.”
We went on to explain that maximum medical improvement was the point when the doctor could declare Julie completely recovered, or tell us definitively that her wounds had healed as much as they ever would.
“When we know this information, we can reliably assess your damages, both economic and non-economic. When we know your damages, we’ll know how much your dog bite case is worth. Does this make sense?”
They both nodded that it did.
How long will my dog bite claim take?
“How long does a dog bite claim take?” Pam asked.
“This too, will depend, our lawyer said. Once we know the damages, we will send a demand letter to Tim’s parents’ insurance. The rest of the timeline will depend on whether or not they choose to be reasonable and fair.”
“If they are willing to work with us on a fair settlement, things will go quickly,” we explained. “If not, we’ll need to go to court.”
Julie’s eyes widened in horror, but our lawyer held up a hand and said, “Don’t worry, Julie. Many insurance companies are more than willing to settle, once they realize they’ll be dragged in front of a jury if they don’t. This is one case a jury is sure to sympathize with you on, and the insurance company will know that, too.
“It’s also important to know that neither you nor your mom will need to speak to Tim’s family. This will all be handled between lawyers and insurance providers. If these are decent people, they will want you to receive compensation for what you are going through.”
“And if they’re not decent people, why care what they think…right?” Julie asked with half a smile.
“Exactly right, Julie,” our lawyer said with a smile. “And if we do end up in court, it’s okay. Our dog bite lawyers have a long and successful record at trial. We’ve helped many dog bite victims, and we want to help you, too.”
Pam was satisfied with the information she received, and hired us to handle her daughter’s claim. We are pleased to say that we got Julie more than six times the amount the insurance company first offered. Julie and Beth are not only still best friends, but also college roommates, and Julie still has her sights on vet school.
Call Our Orlando Dog Bite Lawyers Today
We hope this story has helped you understand your dog bite claim a bit more. It’s important to keep in mind that every dog bite case has a unique set of circumstances. Give us a call as soon as you can and we will be happy to answer your questions in a free legal consultation. You don’t have to figure this all out alone. Call us for free claim advice.
“In October 2015, My husband was a passenger in a horrible car accident and was hospitalized for two months. After being in ICU for a little over a month , I reached out to Mr. Corzo and He met me in the hospital a day after. Since my husband was still unconscious and in ICU I decided to hire Mr.Corzo for Davids personal injury and workers compensation case. From the moment I met Mr.Corzo he was very emphatic and attentive to all my questions and concerns. Anytime I would email him with a question he would get back to me right away. I would even email/text his paralegal Denise after hours if I had any questions and she would get back to me within a hour. Mr. Corzo made sure he fully explained and went over everything with us before we made any decisions. Mr. Corzo went out of his way to make sure David was taken care of. After my husband was released from the hospital, Mr. Corzo called and checked up on David and made sure he was getting the care he needed. I truly believe Mr. Corzo went above and beyond for my husband in winning both cases. We are extremely blessed with the outcome and would highly recommend him to anyone that may need a lawyer. Due to my husbands injuries we will need to apply for disability, Mr.Corzo offered to help us fill out the paper work and make sure everything is done correctly. We can’t THANK him enough for all that he has done for our family. #Thankful”– David and Jennifer Alvarez