Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Florida?
Posted on June 6, 2019 in Uncategorized
When it comes animal-related injuries, it might seem difficult to know where to start, or who is liable for such damage. In the case of dangerous pets, different states have clear-cut rules in defining how to address this issue. If you’ve been victim of a dog bite, speak to a Hollywood dog bite lawyer. Florida possesses its own statutes and laws that indicate what constitutes as a dangerous dog and who is liable in these situations.
What Is a Dangerous Dog?
Under Florida’s Dangerous Dog
Statute, an aggressive dog is characterized by:
- Aggressive action toward humans –
Aggressive action involves biting, attacking, or inflicting injury. Injury must
be severe in nature, causing broken bones, excessive bite marks, or lacerations
that require stitches to repair.
- Aggressive action toward animals –
Injuring or killing other domesticated animals while not on the owner’s
- Acts without provocation – This
could mean chasing or approaching others with the intent to attack while in
Florida does not consider a dog
dangerous in the following scenarios:
- They are acting in self-defense of a
home intruder or other uninvited guest.
- They are the target of active
torment or abuse.
- They are defending their owner or
other family members/friends an active assault or violence.
- They are protecting any individual
within their immediate vicinity from impending assault or violence.
Dog Owner Responsibilities
A dog’s owner has a responsibility
to address the dangerous nature of their dog. In Florida, this comes with
taking extra precautions in keeping the public safe:
- The owner must confine their dog
indoors or outdoors in a structure that effectively secures the animal. This
structure must prevent the dog from escaping.
- The owner must muzzle and restrain
the dog while in public. A chain or leash controlled by a capable handler can
- The owner must post visible warning
signs at all points of entry on their premises. These signs must notify adults
and children that a dangerous dog lives on the premises.
- The owner must facilitate the
application of a tattoo (on the inner thigh) or electronic implantation that
indicates their dog’s dangerous status.
- The owner must notify animal control
in the following situations: the dog escapes, bites/attacks another person or
animal, the owner sells or gives the dog away, the dog does, or the owner moves
the dog to another location.
Dog Owner Liability
Dangerous dog owners are responsible
for the actions of their animal while in public places and while legally in the
presence of other individuals on their premises. The owner is liable for all
damages caused by their dog, even if they weren’t aware their dog is dangerous.
The only circumstance in which the
owner would not be completely liable is if the victim’s negligence caused the
incident. Florida practices comparative negligence, which assigns each party a
percentage of fault depending on the details of the incident. This includes
ignoring dangerous dog signs and warnings posted on the premises (unless the
victim is under six-years-old).
Violating any rules dictated under
Florida’s Dangerous Dog Statute results in penalty.
- Up to $500 in fines when violating
any aspect of the statute
- Up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1
year in jail time if the dog attacks someone while unprovoked
- Up to $5,000 in fines and up to 5
years of jail time if the dog severely injures or kills someone
Can I Sue for a Dog Bite?
If a dangerous dog attacks and
injures you without any sort of provocation, you can sue the dog’s owner. When
filing a lawsuit, you can sue for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Damages caused by dog attacks can be
debilitating and emotionally scarring. If you have suffered injury from a
dangerous dog, you can seek compensation for the damages it caused.