Any dog can bite and injure a victim. Even dogs with histories of being gentle and affectionate can be dangerous if provoked, ill, or frightened. Never approach a dog you do not know or attempt to interact with a dog in an inappropriate manner. Stress the importance of correct dog-human interaction with children and do not leave children unsupervised with any animal.
If you or your child suffers from a bite, the dog’s owner is liable for the damages. After receiving sufficient medical attention after a bite, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find out more about how to pursue your claim for monetary compensation.
Florida’s Dog Bite Statute
Florida is a statutory strict liability state, which means that a dog’s owner is legally liable for any bites that occur.
Unlike some other states, Florida does not allow dogs “one free bite” before holding owners responsible. A dog’s previous behavior is irrelevant as well – it does not matter if the dog has a history of aggression or not when it comes to determining the owner’s liability for damages caused by its bite. What does matter is whether or not the victim’s negligence contributed to the bite in any way. If it can be determined that the victim partially caused the bite by provoking or threatening the dog, the owner’s liability for the damages is reduced according to the percentage that the court determines the victim’s negligence contributed to the bite.
A child under the age of six can not be held responsible for provoking a bite.
Dangerous Dog Law
In Florida, a dog can be considered to be a dangerous dog if it meets certain requirements. These are as follows:
- it has bitten, attacked, endangered, killed, or severely injured a human being;
- it has killed or severely injured another domestic animal while on its owner’s property on more than one occasion; or
- it has chased or approached a person in public, including the street or the sidewalk, in an aggressive or menacing manner unprovoked.
As the owner of a dangerous dog, an individual is legally required to do the following:
- The dog must be registered with the state;
- All dangerous dogs must be securely confined at home and muzzled, handled by a competent handler, and on a substantial leash or chain when out;
- Owners of dangerous dogs must have clear, visible warning signs of the dog at all entry points to their property;
- Dangerous dogs must be permanently identified as such by a microchip or an inner thigh tattoo; and
- Animal control authorities must be notified whenever a dangerous dog:
– is moved to a new address;
– is sold or given away;
– is unconfined or loose; or
– bites or attacks a person or animal.
Experienced Dog Bite Attorneys Can Help
If you were bitten or attacked by a dog, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you have received appropriate medical care, contact Hornsby Law Group at 407-599-3800 to discuss your case with a member of our team. Hornsby Law Group is comprised of experienced personal injury attorneys who know Florida law and will give you top quality legal counsel and representation. We understand the issues that personal injury victims face and will give your case the personalized attention your case deserves.