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Dog Bites In Florida


In this day and age, dogs are the most popular pet in the United States. That said, dog owners are also more aware than ever that their pets can cause harm to others. Data reported by Forbes estimates that around 4.5 million people per year are bitten by dogs, with around 18 percent of those (roughly 800,000) requiring medical care. If you have been unlucky enough to be bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner for what you have been through.

Strictly Liable For Injuries

Florida law states that the owner of a dog that bites will be strictly liable for any injuries that result. Strict liability is a legal concept that states that a defendant is liable for injuries sustained by a plaintiff, even if they had no intent to cause those injuries – in dog bite cases, an owner is strictly liable even if they had no idea their dog was a bite risk. This may seem harsh – especially to dog lovers – but since dog bite injuries can be so serious as to be life-changing, Florida’s legislature found it appropriate.

Dog bites can be minor – but if they are serious enough to warrant medical attention, they may be serious enough to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. A serious dog bite can require hospitalization and missed work time, to say nothing of the potential expenses of needed medical equipment or physical therapy. Damages in dog bite cases can also include “non-economic” damages like pain and suffering or mental anguish.

Potential Defenses

While strict liability is intended to confer liability on dog owners without requiring a plaintiff to establish negligence, there are two possible defenses by which an owner can eliminate or at least minimize their degree of fault. The first is if the injured plaintiff was trespassing – a plaintiff must be lawfully present on the premises in order to recover for a dog bite injury. This is based on Florida’s law of premises liability, which holds that a landowner only owes a trespasser the duty to refrain from deliberately injuring them.

The second defense for a dog owner is if the injured plaintiff can be found to have harassed or otherwise tempted the dog to bite. This would fall under the heading of comparative negligence – if the injured person ‘intentionally or recklessly’ provokes the dog to act, they cannot claim that they were bitten without any indication it would have occurred, or that the dog was unnecessarily vicious.

Contact A Dog Bite Attorney

Being bitten by a dog is a scary experience for most, but liability does not always lie exclusively with the owner. If you have been bitten by a dog, contacting an Orlando dog bite attorney from the Hornsby Law Group should be your first step toward seeking damages for your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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