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Dog Bite Laws in Florida

Dogs truly are man’s best friend. A dog’s playfulness and affection can enrich its owner’s lives. However, dogs are still animals and don’t have control over their actions. A too-playful Pomeranian or an over-protective Pitbull can cause injury. If a dog bites you, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Smaller bites can usually be treated simply by cleaning and disinfecting the wound. If you suspect the animal may be rabid, it is important to contact animal control. Do not attempt to capture the animal yourself. Even if an animal does not have rabies, it is very common for bites to cause disease and infection. If the dog’s owner is available, get their contact information and see if they can provide proof of vaccination. If anyone witnessed the bite, it is advisable to gather their contact information as well.

Dog Bites and the Law

There are two views of dog bite cases: one is that that if the owner knew the dog was potentially dangerous, then the owner should be liable for the dog’s actions. Standards vary on how to determine whether the owner should have known the dog could have been potentially harmful. For instance, some states retain a “one-bite” rule where a dog essentially gets one free bite before the owner can be sued. Other jurisdictions have rules regarding certain breeds that are generally considered dangerous.

In Florida, there is “strict liability” for animal attacks. This means dog owners are always responsible for their animal’s actions as long as the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog.

Dog Bites and Comparative Negligence

In the case of dog bites, the principle of comparative negligence is still invoked. If the dog bite victim was negligent, then the this mitigates the dog owner’s liability to a certain extent. For example, if the victim was bitten after provoking the dog on the owner’s property, it may be found that the victim is partially or fully responsible for their own injuries. The dog owner’s liability is also mitigated if they have a clear warning sign on their property. A sign that says “bad dog” puts visitors on notice that there is a dangerous dog and they need to be careful. However, this sign does not mitigate liability if the victim is under six years old.

Contact a Florida Attorney for Help

Have you been bitten by a dog in Florida? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the skilled Florida attorneys at The Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. and we will help fight for fair compensation. Our lawyers are standing by to assist you today.

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