Dog bites in Florida: Understanding the laws and personal injury ramifications
May 04, 2023
In the state of Florida, dog bite accidents are a real danger. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by a dog every year. Of those, approximately 800,000 require medical attention. Unfortunately, Florida is among the states with the most reported dog bites.
Dog bites are considered a form of personal injury in Florida, and victims of dog bites may be able to seek legal damages from the pet’s owner. However, there are certain laws that must be followed in order to successfully pursue a claim.
The first step to understanding the legal ramifications of a dog bite in Florida is to understand the state’s “strict liability” law. This law holds the owner of a dog strictly liable for any damages that their pet causes, regardless of whether the owner was aware of the pet’s potential to cause harm or not. In other words, the owner of a pet is legally responsible for any damages that their pet may cause, regardless of their own knowledge of the pet’s actions or intentions.
In addition to the strict liability law, Florida also applies the “one-bite rule.” This rule states that if the owner of a dog has knowledge that their pet has a propensity for biting or attacking people, then the owner is liable for any damages that their pet may cause. This rule can be difficult to prove, however, as it requires the victim to produce evidence that the pet had a history of aggression prior to the attack.
Finally, victims of dog bites in Florida may also be able to pursue damages under the state’s “negligence” laws. These laws state that if the owner of the dog was negligent in controlling the pet, then they may be held liable for the victim’s injuries and other damages that result from the attack. For instance, if the owner fails to take precautions to prevent the pet from leaving their property or fails to seek veterinary care when the pet shows signs of aggression, then the owner may be held liable for the damages caused by the attack.
When it comes to understanding the legal implications of a dog bite in Florida, it is important for victims and their families to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. An experienced lawyer can advise the victim and their family on the best course of action and can ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. Furthermore, an experienced lawyer can help the victim and their family understand the specific laws and regulations that apply to their case and can help them navigate the legal process.
Dog bite victims in Florida should take action immediately, as their legal rights and remedies must be pursued within the prescribed time limits. With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, victims of dog bites can pursue justice and compensation for the damages they have suffered.