Dog Bites: Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Sometimes, dogs bite. Whether it is a desire to protect, discomfort, confusion with a situation, or out of defense, dogs have a number of reasons for lashing out and biting. A dog bite can be painful and results in serious injuries for all ages. For most situations, a person who has suffered a dog bite is entitled to receive some sort of compensation for their injury from the bite. Dog bites can result in deep gashes, scars, and serious impairments such as broken bones or torn muscles.
In Florida, these painful injuries often are eligible for monetary compensation.
Florida state law outlines a few different types of damages for serious dog bite victims through statutory strict liability, negligence, negligence per se, and intentional torts. Due to the complexity of the law and the subjectivity of each situation, it’s crucial to work with an experienced dog bite lawyer who can take the facts of your situation and take the right steps to fight for your rights under the law.
Statutory Strict Liability
A dog who has an owner falls under the responsibility of the dog owner. Therefore, in the situation of a dog bite, statutory strict liability means that the dog owner is directly responsible for the actions of his or her dog. It doesn’t matter if the dog has a history of biting or not. Florida holds the dog owner responsible for the dog’s bite, especially if the bite occurs in a public place.
Conversely, if the person who was bitten incited the dog’s behavior in some way or interacted with the dog in some negligent way, this action may reduce the dog owner’s responsibility. In a dog bite case, the Florida state law examines both the dog owner’s liability and the victim’s percentage of fault.
For example, if a dog owner has placed a warning sign on their home property about their dog, and the victim ignored the sign, then the dog owner is not usually held responsible for the dog bite. The liability rules also tend to not apply to trespassers, police dogs, or property damage.
When it comes to negligence, it can be difficult to set out the requirements for proving negligence. For the most part, negligence is a standard set on the idea of what a reasonable dog owner would or would not do in a specific situation. A dog owner becomes liable for his or her dog’s bite of someone when he or she has failed to do something that most dog owners would do.
For example, most dog owners leash their dogs in public spaces since the environment can be uncontrollable. This reasonable action lessens the chance that the dog will be able to easily bite another animal or human if incited by some perceived threat.
Since negligence can be quite subjective, it can be extremely helpful to work with a private injury lawyer to determine whether or not you are liable for a dog bite.
Negligence Per Se
Florida law outlines a number of rules to protect public safety, such as animal control laws. When a dog owner fails to adhere to one of these laws, he or she is considered liable for their animal’s behavior or bite.
For example, a dog owner should never allow their dog to roam the neighborhood freely. This violates an animal control law, and if the dog bites someone, the owner would be liable for compensating the victim.
Statute of Limitations
Under Florida law, almost all cases have a deadline for filing a lawsuit. When it comes to a dog bite lawsuit, the statute of limitations is four years. This means that if someone is bitten by a dog, their case must be filed within four years of that date. If a case is not filed within that time, then the victim can not file for compensation to help cover their medical expenses and recovery.
When a dog bites a victim because it was encouraged to do so by its owner, this is considered an intentional tort. A dog owner may be liable for the intentional tort if he or she provoked the dog to bite. The actions must be intentional and pointed, resulting in a dog bite.
For example, if a dog is known for its aggression and an owner encourages his or her dog in that aggressive behavior and the dog bites someone, this could be considered intentional tort.
Common Dog Bite Injuries in Florida
- Abrasions, bruises, cuts
- Bite Marks
- Broken bones and fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
A dog bite can cause serious injury. And if you’re bitten by a dog, immediately seek medical attention to hopefully ensure that you are appropriately treated, as this will minimize any possible complications or infections. Once the dog bite has been treated, reach out to a Florida private injury lawyer to determine what legal solutions may be available to you.
At Carrillo & Carrillo, we know what it takes to ensure that you receive your workers’ compensation. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what your legal options may be.