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Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
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Florida Dog Bite Claims

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Whether they belong to us or to a neighbor or friend, many of us interact with pets on a daily basis. For the most part, these interactions are positive, it is however, important to remember that while dogs may be man’s best friend in most cases, animals can and do pose a risk to our safety. Fortunately, those who are injured by someone else’s pet are often eligible to recover damages under Florida’s strict liability laws. For help filing your own claim against the person whose dog caused your own injuries, please contact one of our dedicated Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorneys today.

Strict Liability  

When it comes to animal attacks, Florida abides by a strict liability policy, which means that an animal’s owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their pet, even if they did not have any prior awareness or knowledge that their animal was aggressive or was likely to bite or otherwise attack someone. Under this type of legal claim, victims are spared the task of having to prove that the dog owner’s negligence caused the injury. Instead, plaintiffs need only prove that:

  • The dog in question belonged to the defendant or was under his or her control;
  • The dog bit or otherwise injured the plaintiff; and
  • The plaintiff was either in a public place or was lawfully on private property at the time of the attack.

Not having to shoulder the burden of providing evidence of negligence is fortunate for dog bite victims, as these types of injuries tend to be both traumatic and physically devastating.

Negligence Claims  

Most dog bite claims fall under the umbrella of strict liability. However, it is possible for animal attack victims to file a claim against the animal’s owner on the grounds of negligence, which requires the injured party to provide evidence that, ultimately, it was the owner’s negligent conduct that was responsible for the attack. Those who choose to file this type of claim will also be burdened with the responsibility of proving that the defendant owed a duty to use reasonable care in restraining the animal, but breached that duty, as a result of which, the victim suffered an injury. This is a much  more difficult task than that required under a strict liability claim, but is often necessary for those who do not satisfy the elements required of a strict liability suit.

Limitations to Owner Liability  

There are a few different circumstances under which Florida animal owners cannot be held liable for injuries caused by their pets, including when:

  • The injured party was unlawfully on the dog owner’s property;
  • The injured party provoked the animal; or
  • The owner posted proper warning signs that included the phrase “Bad Dog”or “Beware of Dog” that were easily readable and legible.

Even in these cases, a person can still be held liable for his or her dog’s actions if the injured party is a child, or the property owner assured a visitor that he or she could ignore the sign. Similarly, even if a person provoked the animal, he or she could still be eligible to recover damages, although the recoverable amount will be reduced by that person’s percentage of fault in causing the injury.

Contact Us Today  

To speak with an experienced lawyer about your own dog bite claim and your legal options, please call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0767/Sections/0767.04.html

Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and serves clients in and around Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Broward County.

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