Animals of all kinds are loved and appreciated in different ways. Dogs, in particular, can make incredible companions and can be extremely kind and personable. They help us in more ways than just companionship, such as helping the police force and supporting those with disabilities.
Unfortunately, however, dogs can still be aggressive and can bite. Even the sweetest-looking dogs can cause humans a great deal of damage if they feel like they are in a situation that requires them to attack.
Dog bites can be extremely serious injuries. Not only can they break the skin, but they can cause nerve damage and fractures. There is also the possibility that a dog bite injury will get infected, putting the victim at risk of becoming extremely ill.
If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bite injury, then contact The Law Place today. Through one of our free consultations, we can put you into contact with a dedicated personal injury lawyer who will help you to understand Florida dog bite laws and how it applies to your case. Our team has over 75 years of combined experience in personal injury cases and wants to make sure that you achieve the justice you deserve.
Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444 for your free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Florida Dog Bite Statute
Florida’s dog bite law can be found in Florida Statute 767. Florida Statute 767.04 specifically states that a dog owner is liable for another person’s injuries if their dog bites any person in a public place or a private place, providing the victim is there lawfully.
This statute also includes the definition of a dangerous dog, as well as the classification and registration of dogs as dangerous, the confinement of dangerous dogs, and the penalties of attacks or bites by dangerous dogs.
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Florida Is a Strict Liability State
Florida is a strict liability state in regard to dog bites. This means that the owner of a dog will be held liable for dog bite injuries, regardless of whether the owner knew that the dog would bite. Therefore, in most cases, if you have been bitten, the court will find the dog owner liable due to strict liability.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Florida?
A statute of limitations is a specific period of time in which you can file a lawsuit in Florida’s civil court system. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the court will almost certainly dismiss a case, except for extremely rare cases where an extension can be given.
As a dog bite case would be considered a personal injury lawsuit, it would follow Florida’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This can be found in Florida Statute 95.11 and states that an action must be brought within four years. This four year time period begins on the day that your injury occurs
Dangerous Dogs in Florida Law
Whilst all dogs can bite, many of those that do are classified as ‘dangerous dogs.’ It is important to understand the laws surrounding dangerous dogs, as if you are bitten by a dangerous dog, you may be entitled to a greater amount of compensation if the owner has failed to properly confine the dog. This information is also provided for in the Florida dog bite statute.
What Is the Legal Definition of a ‘Dangerous Dog’?
The definition of “dangerous dog” is provided for in Florida Statute 767.11. It states that a dog is ‘dangerous’ if it has:
- Bitten, attacked, endangered, or has inflicted severe injury on an individual on public or private property.
- Severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property more than once.
- When unprovoked, the animal has chased or approached someone in a menacing fashion or with the intent to attack whilst on any public grounds – provided that those actions were seen by a witness and then investigated by the appropriate authority.
Florida Statute 767.12 provides exceptions, stating that a dog will not be dangerous if:
- The aggression occurred when the injured person was unlawfully on someone’s property or, if lawfully on private property, and the person was tormenting, harming, or assaulting the dog, its owner, or a family member.
- The dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
Legal Responsibilities of a Dangerous Dog Owner
A dangerous dog owner is legally responsible for the actions of their dog if they do not follow the precautions laid out in Florida’s dog bite statute. Dangerous dogs must be registered with the state by the dog owner, and the owner of the dog must confine the dog within a securely fenced or otherwise enclosed area.
When taken outside of its enclosure, the dog must be muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash. If the dog is moved to another address, dies, is sold or given away, has bitten or attacked a person or animal, or is loose or unconfined, the owner of the dog must notify the appropriate animal control authority.
Punishments for Violating Dangerous Dog Laws Under Florida Law
If a dangerous dog owner is found to have violated Florida’s dog bite statute, they face a civil penalty of a fine of up to $500. In terms of criminal punishments, dangerous dog owners could face criminal charges and a fine of up to $1,000 if their dangerous dog attacks or bites a person or domestic animal without provocation, with this being raised to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years for the dog owner if the injury is severe or the attack causes death.
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What Compensation Can Victims of Dog Bites Receive?
Dog bite attacks can be hugely physically and emotionally traumatizing and can significantly affect your life. No matter the severity of your injury, it is important to claim compensation to help your recovery and return to pre-dog bite life. There are a number of types of damages you can claim if you have been a dog bite victim:
- Medical bills – If you have been a victim of a dog bite, you will likely have incurred significant medical bills, whether through hospital visits, rehabilitation, surgical costs, or medication. It is important that you get these high costs compensated.
- Lost wages – If you have missed work as a result of your dog bite incident, you can be compensated for the earnings that you lost.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering allow you to be compensated for the emotional trauma that you have suffered as a result of being a dog bite victim.
- Wrongful death – If a loved one has died as a result of a dog bite, then the dog owner may be liable for wrongful death, especially if they have committed a negligent act.
It is extremely important that you receive the compensation that you deserve. As can be seen in the above categories, this compensation will help you pay for the costs that came as a result of the biting incident and will allow you to move further along the path back to normality. At The Law Place, we want to help you maximize your compensation in your dog injury case to help you obtain the justice you deserve.
Florida recognizes the comparative negligence principles, as provided for in Florida Statute 768.81. As a result of this, any negligence on the victim’s behalf that contributed to the dog bite attack will be considered by the court. The court will consider if the bitten person’s negligence contributed when determining the compensation that the dog bite victim is entitled to. The court will then lower the amount of compensation, depending on the level of fault that the court determines the victim to have.
Due to this, it is important that you are represented by a knowledgeable attorney when making a dog bite claim. Our team at The Law Place wants you to receive the compensation you deserve and will fight to make sure that you do not receive fewer damages than you are owed.
Contact The Law Place About Your Dog Bite Claim Today!
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a dog attack or dog bite, then contact The Law Place today. Our dedicated team, with over 75 years of experience, is knowledgeable in dog bite cases and wants to help you succeed in your lawsuit. Our attorneys prioritize the attorney-client relationship and will provide you with legal advice catered to your personal experience. It is important to us that you receive the compensation that you deserve to aid you in your recovery process.
To book your free consultation, contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.