What Could Lower My Dog Bite Injury Award?
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, many of which result in permanent damage, scarring, and even disfigurement, so it is unsurprising that dog bite laws in Florida tend to focus primarily on victims’ rights. That does not mean, however, that dog bite injury awards are as cut and dried as many people imagine. There are, for example, a number of ways that a dog bite victim’s damages award could be reduced, often as a result of his or her own actions, so if you were recently injured by someone else’s pet and have questions about the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, you should speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Florida
In Florida, the owner of a dog that bites another person can be held liable in both civil and criminal court. In fact, because Florida is a strict liability state, a dog’s owner can be held civilly liable for injuries caused by his or her animal, even if that individual wasn’t aware that the animal was aggressive prior to the attack. This also means that dog bite victims are not required to demonstrate that an animal’s owner’s negligence actually contributed to or caused his or her injury. Instead, an owner can be held legally liable for bite-related injuries as long as the victim can prove that he or she was bitten by a particular dog while lawfully in a public or private place.
Limitations on Dog Bite Injury Awards
It’s important to note that a dog bite victim’s award can be reduced in certain cases, including when:
- The victim of the attack was provoking the animal immediately prior to being bitten;
- The victim was not lawfully on the dog owner’s property;
- The dog was protecting its owner from an apparent threat; and
- The owner had displayed a sign that included the words “Bad Dog” on his or her property, unless the victim was under the age of six years old or the owner also contributed to the attack through a negligent act or omission.
In these types of situations, when a victim is partially responsible for an attack, his or her damages award can be reduced by that individual’s degree of fault in causing the attack. This is because Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that while injured parties will not be barred from recovering compensation for an accident that they contributed to, their damages award will still reflect their degree of responsibility in causing the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Dog Bite Legal Team for Help with Your Case
If you or a loved one were recently bitten or otherwise injured by someone else’s dog, you could be entitled to monetary compensation for related medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. To learn more about your own legal options following an animal attack in Florida, please contact the dedicated Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyers at Boone & Davis by calling 954-566-9919 today.