Dog Bites – Not Your Typical Work Hazard
Police work is inherently dangerous work and it does not seem all that unusual for an officer to suffer personal injuries in the course of his or her line of work. Chasing suspects, confronting wrongdoers, and even routine traffic stops often result in an officer getting hurt. What is not as routine, however, is for an officer to be injured by a dog – yet this does happen too, as a Miami-Dade policeman recently experienced. According to the news report, the officer was bitten on the neck by a German Shepherd. Fortunately, the officer in this case did not suffer injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital, but this does raise the question of who is liable for an injury caused by a dog.
Can’t Blame The Dog
According to Florida Code Section 767.04, a dog’s owner is liable for any damages caused by their animal when it bites someone – in most cases. If the victim is lawfully in a public or private place, and is bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner is liable. This is true despite any history of viciousness on the dog or the owner’s level of knowledge about any viciousness. So, in the case of a police officer in a situation as described above, as long as the officer was lawfully on the property where he was bitten by the dog, the dog’s owner would be held responsible for any injuries sustained.
Exceptions To The Rule
Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, and naturally that is the case with dog bite liability law as well. While liability for damages due to a dog bite usually lies with the dog’s owner, if the victim him or herself played a part in the dog bite attack, the victim will be held responsible for part of the incident as well. Negligence on the part of the victim may include taunting or provoking the animal and, in this type of case, the finder of fact would determine what percentage of the incident was caused by the negligence and hold the victim responsible for that percentage of the damages. Another circumstance that would relieve the dog’s owner from liability is if the owner had appropriate signage in place that warned of the presence of a ‘bad dog.’
Exception To The Exception
Even in cases where the exceptions apply – such as the victim’s negligence or appropriate warning signs – there is an exception. If the victim is under the age of six years old, the dog owner would be liable for the damages.
Our Attorneys Can Help You
If you have been the victim of a dog bite accident and have suffered personal injuries as a result, contact Boone & Davis for answers to all of your questions about your rights and responsibilities. We have experience with all types of personal injury matters, including dog bite injuries, and can help you to know what to expect under the law. Contact us today either by phone at 954.556.5260 or online to schedule your free consultation.