Understanding Florida's Dog Bite Statute
Posted By Todd Miner Law || Nov 11, 2014
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Approximately 885,000 require medical attention and more than 27,000 require reconstructive surgery. Some people have died due to the seriousness of the dog bites. Although half of dog bite victims are children, people of all ages are vulnerable. Besides the physical injuries and psychological trauma of being bitten, victims have to worry about their wounds becoming infected and the risk of getting rabies.
Some dog bite incidents involve family members living in the home with the dog owner. Other times, a person who has no relationship to the dog owner is bitten. This is when Florida law becomes important. A Florida statute puts the responsibility for a dog bite on the dog owner. Specifically, the law states:
“The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
This means that if you were bitten by a dog, the owner is strictly liable for your damages. You do not have to prove the owner was negligent and you do not have to prove that the dog had a known propensity to bite or had ever bitten anyone else. You do not have to prove that the owner did not properly supervise the dog.
The only defense available to a dog owner is that you deliberately provoked the dog or that you trespassed on the owner’s property unbeknownst to the dog owner. If dog owners have placed a sign in a prominent place warning of a dangerous dog, and you entered the premises anyway, that also will provide the owner a defense.
Bitten By a Dog? Call Todd Miner Law for Help!
If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog, you need the services of Todd Miner, an Orlando personal injury attorney. Your first visit, where he will evaluate the facts of your case, is free. He will prepare your case and see that you receive all the damages to which you are entitled. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for your pain and suffering.