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Florida Dog Bite Attorney


Florida has strict liability laws regarding dog bites, which are very favorable to the victims of dog bites.

In Florida, the law says that the owner of a dog is “strictly liable” for injuries that their dog causes to you. Strict Liability is a legal doctrine referring to absolute legal responsibility for an injury that can be imposed on the "wrongdoer" without proof of carelessness or fault.

In spite of strict liability, the dog’s owner can raise “provocation” as a defense. This means that if you provoked the dog and were bitten, then the owner has a legal defense and may not be liable. However, assuming you did not provoke the animal, you do not have to prove negligence on the part of the dog's owner. The only question is how much money you should be awarded for your injury or loss. Florida’s Dog Bite Statute (F.S. 767.04) reads as follows:

“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. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words "Bad Dog." The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law. “

Dog bites can leave serious and permanent physical and emotional scars on the victim. At The Trial Professionals, P.A., we have the financial resources and experience to help you pursue the maximum compensation for injuries suffered in a dog bite case.

Provided there are no specific exclusions, homeowner’s policies generally cover various elements of damages including medical expenses in the past and future, lost wages in the past and future, and past and future pain and suffering. Another avenue of recovery could be against the owner of the premises, typically a landlord, who leased an apartment to the dog's owner. In that scenario, the landlord would generally be responsible only if the dog had a history of biting or viciousness about which the landlord knew or should have known.

Your Florida dog bite attorney will need to promptly investigate the facts of your case to explore the liability component and potential insurance coverage which may be available. In any dog bite or animal attack case, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to investigate quickly.

One of the most important aspects of any dog bite case is determining whether or not there is any insurance coverage for the incident. These days a lot of insurance companies exclude dog bites from insurance policies.

It is important to get photos of the dog and dog owner's home, if at all possible, particularly pictures showing any dog warning signs, or lack of such signs. Many times dogs will run loose and it may be difficult to find out who owned the dog, so if you are able to secure video of the dog running loose, this can be especially powerful evidence. You should also report the dog bite to police, so that the incident can be properly documented. The police should do a report and contact animal control, who will also investigate and will file a report. If the dog was not properly registered or vaccinated, animal control will also attempt to capture the dog and put it in quarantine to make sure it does not have rabies.

Above all, we are trial lawyers. Opponents in the local legal community know that we are willing to try cases—even the most difficult ones. Because of our reputation, we typically obtain settlements that are generally better than those obtained by lawyers with a reputation for being reluctant (or downright afraid) to go to court. Should you or a friend/family member become a victim of a dog bite, contact the Florida dog bite attorneys at The Trial Professionals for a free case evaluation.

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