What is Florida’s Law on Dog Bites?
Dogs are often touted as being man’s best friend. Unfortunately, they sometimes bite and attack, which leaves victims with severe injuries. Many people think that dog bite injuries are only minor, but that is not usually the case. Dog bite injuries are unique because dogs have so much bacteria in their mouths. When they break a person’s skin with their teeth, that bacteria can get inside the wound and become infected. Dog bites can also cause serious scarring and disfigurement, leaving victims with injuries that will impact them for the rest of their lives.
It is important that everyone in Florida understands the law on dog bites, so they can recover the compensation they deserve.
Florida’s Law on Dog Bites
Unlike many other states, Florida does not have a one-bite rule. Instead, the Sunshine State follows a model of strict liability for dog bites. Under this statute, victims of dog bites and attacks can hold owners liable without the requirement of showing the owner was negligent. Victims do not have to prove a dog owner was aware that the dog had violent or aggressive tendencies, or that the dog had bitten someone in the past. In most cases, the victim must only show that the dog bit them and that they sustained injuries as a result.
Some exceptions do apply to the strict liability statute. Strict liability typically only applies when a person is bitten or attacked by a dog when they are on public property, or lawfully on private property. For example, if someone trespassed on a dog owner’s property and became injured by the animal as a result, they will not typically have a dog bite claim.
Dangerous Dogs in Florida
Another law pertaining to dogs in Florida is the dangerous dog statute. In some instances, a dog may be declared as dangerous in the state. When this is the case, the owner is responsible for taking additional measures to ensure their dog does not hurt anyone, such as fitting them with a muzzle when out in public. Dangerous dogs must also be kept in a secure location that has appropriate signage to warn people that the dog is dangerous.
When a dog has been declared as dangerous and the owner does not take these precautions, they can be held criminally liable. Dog owners may also face criminal charges if they encouraged the dog to bite or attack someone and it resulted in injuries.
Our Florida Dog Bite Lawyers can Help You Recover Compensation
Although criminal charges will not help victims of dog bites directly, filing a personal injury claim for damages will. At Eighmie Law Firm, P.A., our Port St. Lucie dog bite attorneys have the necessary experience to file these claims properly and on time to give you the best chance of recovering the full amount of compensation you deserve. Call us today at (772) 905-8692 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.