Dog Bite Injuries

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog Bite Injuries Attorney for
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dog bite injuries can generate conflicting emotions in many victims, especially when the bite was unexpected and the dog bite victim was attempting to pet or play with the dog at the time the bite occurred. Despite this, dog bite injuries can be serious, and they can result in infection or scarring, especially when a child is the victim. Even if the owner of the dog was a friend, it is worthwhile to consult with an experienced dog bite injury attorney to determine whether the dog owner’s insurance company can be held liable for monetary damages as compensation for your injuries.

Please call our office today for a free consultation.

Many dog bite victims believe that the owner of the dog cannot be held legally responsible for monetary damages if the dog has never bitten anyone in the past, but Florida law does not grant this first-bite protection from legal liability. Your legal options may include suing the owner of the dog under various legal theories, including premises liability.

Under Florida law, owners of dogs and other animals may be held strictly liable for injuries sustained if the dog bites or attacks a person. This liability is imposed both in public places and in private homes, so long as the victim was not trespassing at the time of the attack. Strict liability is a legal theory that means the victim is not required to prove that the dog owner acted negligently or recklessly in order to recover monetary compensation. In other words, the dog owner is liable for the actions of his or her dog regardless of whether the owner did anything wrong.

The liability of dog bite owners can potentially be eliminated, however, if the dog owner displays a prominent sign warning visitors that there is a “bad dog” present. The Florida statute governing this exception provides that a bad dog is one that has:

  • Previously bitten or attacked a human being.
  • Approached a victim in an aggressive manner without provocation.
  • Previously killed or severely injured another animal that is commonly kept as a pet.

This exception likely cannot apply if the dog bite victim is a child who is six years old or younger, however. Dog owners are typically liable for injuries caused by their dog if the victim is under age seven, even if the child actually provoked the dog’s aggressive behavior.

Dog owners in Florida are strictly liable for injuries sustained as a result of a dog bite, but the owner of the dog may assert one of several defenses that can reduce the dog bite victim’s compensation award. Common defenses include claims that the dog bite victim:

  • Was trespassing at the time of the bite.
  • Provoked the dog’s actions.
  • Assumed the risk that the dog could bite.

All of these defenses essentially involve claims that the dog bite victim was at least partially responsible for the bite, meaning that his or her right to monetary compensation should be limited. Our office will investigate your case to secure the best possible compensation award and mitigate the impact of any defenses that the dog owner asserts.

Florida dog bite victims generally have four years to file a lawsuit against the dog bite owner to recover monetary damages, meaning that it is important to contact an experienced dog bite attorney to protect your rights soon after the accident. If you have sustained a dog bite injury because another person’s dog bit or attacked you, please call our office immediately.