Although we value our 4-legged furry friends as lifelong companions, their behavior will occasionally result in biting injuries with significant consequences for the victim. When unexpected injuries occur, victims need to understand their rights under Florida’s dog bite laws and the responsibility of pet owners.
The Concept of Strict Liability
Whenever a personal injury case addresses dog bites and the owner’s liability, the state of Florida adheres to what is known as “strict liability.” In other words, the victim only needs to prove that the animal acted aggressively towards them. The framework for strict liability also states that the owner of the animal can be liable for any subsequent injuries, even if they were unaware of the dog’s potentially aggressive nature.
Furthermore, it also means that the victim typically doesn’t have to prove that their injuries resulted from the animal owner’s negligence. In Florida, a dog’s owner can be held liable for the victim’s injuries if the victim was bitten while lawfully being on private property or in a public area. Even if the victim was bitten under different circumstances, they can still file a personal injury claim against the owner. However, they will have to prove that the owner failed to use reasonable care or was negligent. This includes instances if the dog was off the leash or bit the victim unprovoked.
The Importance of Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer
Some dog bites are so severe that the victim needs immediate medical attention and is left permanently disfigured or scarred. Incidences such as these require the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer that realizes the importance of pursuing a claim against the dog’s owner. In addition to protecting the rights of the victim, there are several benefits involved when hiring legal representation for a dog bite, including:
- access to valuable resources for gathering evidence and investigating the case
- outstanding negotiating abilities
- thorough knowledge of Florida’s dog bite laws
- years of personal injury trial experience
- you have your advocate
In addition to the owner of the animal, other parties may be held liable or responsible for the victim’s injuries including:
- animal caregivers or keepers including dog babysitters, a pound, or a shelter
- landlords who know the animal is dangerous
- parents of minors if the dog is owned by an individual under 18 years of age
- property owners who allowed the dangerous dog to stay on their property
If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury and are unsure of your rights in the matter, call the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155.