Florida Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Attack Videos
Dog bites are one of the most underestimated causes of personal injury. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year. About 885,000 of those bitten need emergency room treatment for their injuries. While deaths from dog bites are rare, these injuries can require extensive medical care, including reconstructive surgery, to correct. They can also cause a great deal of emotional trauma, especially in children, who are the most common victims of dog bites.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Liability for Injuries to People
Under Florida law section 767.04, the Florida dog bite statute dictates the owner of a dog that bites any person while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, such as the dog owner's property "is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness". Any negligence, however, on the part of the dog bite victim that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the dog owner by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident.
For landlords and property managers, Florida law states a landlord has the duty to protect its tenants from a vicious dog that the landlord has knowledge of. If the lease agreement includes guidelines that prohibit certain breeds of dogs, the landlord can be held liable for failure to enforce the rules if he or she was aware the prohibited dog resided on the premises. In general, a landlord cannot be held liable for a dog attack that occurred off their premises, though certain exceptions do exist.
The Florida dog bite statute does have a distinctive exception: the dog owner has no liability if the dog bite victim is 6-years-old or older, the incident occurs on the dog owner's premises which had a sign conspicuously posted saying "Bad Dog" or "Beware of Dog". The sign must be easily readable and posted in a prominent place. However, this exception does not apply if the victim is too young to read the sign.
Preventing Dog Bite Injuries
According to the CDC, dog bites are most likely to happen to children ages 5 to 9, and children bitten by dogs are more likely than adults to need hospital care for their injuries. Fortunately, parents and families can help prevent dog bite injuries by teaching children how to behave safely around dogs, especially unfamiliar ones.
Teach children to help protect themselves if a strange dog approaches by following these rules:
- Do not approach or try to pet a strange dog without its owner's permission and supervision.
- Before petting an unfamiliar dog, let it see and sniff you first. Never chase a dog that doesn't want to be petted, and never poke or pull on an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run away from a dog or scream.
- If a strange dog comes toward you, stand still. If the dog knocks you to the ground, curl up into a ball and stay still.
- Don't bother a dog when it is eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies.
- Tell an adult immediately if you are bitten or injured by a dog. Also, if you see a dog acting strangely, tell an adult. Do not approach a strange-acting dog, as it may be sick or hurt.
Dedicated to Ethical Legal Service
A dog bite attack can leave a victim with significant physical and emotional injuries. The compassionate and experienced legal team of Farah & Farah has a wealth of experience helping dog bite accident victims obtain the compensation they need to recover from a traumatic accident and are dedicated to holding negligent parties legally accountable. To see how our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers can help you with your case, please contact us at (800) 533-3555.