If you have suffered an injury due to a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for costs such as medical expenses. Dog owners are required by law to compensate dog bite victims for their injuries. Bryan W. Crews is an Orlando personal injury attorney. Mr. Crews is prepared to handle your dog bite case and will zealously advocate on your behalf.
Florida statute § 767.04 states that dog owners are “liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.” Section 767.04 applies to anyone in public, and those lawfully on private property. If the person bitten contributes to his own injury through carelessness or provocation, this “reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.” To lawfully be on the private property of the dog owner, according to the statute, you must be performing “any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States,” or be there by invitation from the owner. However, the owner may not be liable if they prominently display “on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words ‘Bad Dog.’” This prominent display does not apply if the one bitten is under the age of six, or if the dog owner carelessly causes the dog bite.
Some jurisdictions abide by what is called the “one bite” rule. Another way to think about this rule is that the dog owner must be on notice that he or she is the owner of a vicious dog before the law will attach liability for a dog bite. This is also sometimes called the “free bite” rule because dog owners will not be held liable for the first instance of biting. As demonstrated above, § 767.04 does not follow the “one bite” rule. In Florida, dog owners are held liable “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” Dog owners in Florida are held strictly liable for their dog’s viciousness, and their liability is only reduced if the one has bitten somehow contributed to the bite.
Further, the Florida legislature has codified procedures for declaring, impounding, and destroying dangerous dogs. A dog that has “aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being” may be investigated and classified as a dangerous animal. During the investigation, the dog may be impounded with the owner paying all related costs. The investigation may result in the dog being destroyed to ensure the safety of the community.
It is important that you report dog bites as soon as possible. Once reported to the proper authorities, they will begin investigating. The longer you wait for the greater risk of loss of critical evidence.
This past August, a woman in Fort Walton Beach was attacked by a pit bull. According to news sources, the woman sustained four separate wounds from the attack. Upon arriving, law enforcement was then charged by the pit bull. The dog was tranquilized and taken to an animal shelter for observation.
Dog bites can cause severe wounds, disease, or even lead to infection if left untreated. They may also result in long-term scarring or permanent injury. Any medical treatment that you receive should be paid for by the owner of the dog. If they refuse to pay or are unwilling to compensate you fully, contact Bryan W. Crews, an Orlando personal injury attorney today.
Generally speaking, you have four years to file a personal injury claim. The facts and circumstances of each case are different. While this article primarily addresses the statutory liability, dog bite victims may file other types of claims including negligence.
Bryan W. Crews is a seasoned personal injury attorney with decades of experience. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact Bryan W. Crews for a free case evaluation.