Dog Bite Claims In Florida
To many Florida residents, dogs are members of the family. Some people take their dogs everywhere and even treat them like their children. Some people forget how dangerous dogs can act toward other people. Even friendly dogs can bite people when they are sick, angry, or provoked.
Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Hundreds of thousands are injured enough to seek medical treatment. Here’s what you need to know about dog bites in Florida.
What the Law Says
Under Section 767.04, Florida Statutes, a dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by a biting incident involving their dog. This law applies whether the victim was in a public place or in a private place legally. It is important to note that Florida is a strict liability state and does not allow a “one-bite” rule. Some other states allow a dog one chance before the owner can be punished or held liable. In Florida, the victim of a dog bite does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent.
The dog owner is therefore liable for the damages the victim suffers, regardless of the dog’s previous behavior or the owner’s knowledge of their dog’s viciousness. However, the liability of the dog owner may be reduced if the victim is considered to have acted negligently. For example, if the victim trespassed onto the dog owner’s property, teased the dog, or approached the dog despite warnings not to do so, the victim will be deemed negligent to some degree. Also, an owner will not be held liable if they had prominently displayed a sign on their property with the words “Bad Dog” and a trespasser was bitten. However, children under the age of six are exempt. Even if they trespass on a person’s property and get bitten, the owner could still be held liable.
If you plan to file a personal injury claim, statutes of limitations apply. In Florida, you have four years from the date of the dog bite to file a claim. Once that deadline expires, though, you lose your right to a recovery.
Even if you are partially at fault for the dog bite, you can still recover compensation based on your percentage of negligence. Under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, your compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you were set to receive $100,000, but were 50% at fault, you will receive only $50,000. However, you can claim compensation even if you were mostly at fault—even if you were as much as 99% at fault.
Contact a Bradenton Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A dog bite can cause serious, long-term injuries. Children are especially susceptible to scarring and disfigurement, which can last forever.
If you or a loved one was injured by a dog bite, make sure you take the proper steps to hold the dog owner liable for their actions. The Bradenton dog bite lawyer at The Cahall Law Firm can help you file a claim so you can attempt to receive the highest amount of compensation possible for your damages. To schedule a free consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (941) 281-2019.