Florida’s Dog Bite Lawsuits, Injuries, Liability, and Compensation
Dog bites often lead to serious injuries suffered by the victim. This can include scarring, nerve damage, and even the loss of a limb. Dog attacks are sometimes fatal. In other cases, they lead to serious deformity and require millions of dollars in plastic surgery.
Each type of personal injury lawsuit has its own rules. Dog bite lawsuits differ from other types of personal injury lawsuits in a number of ways. In this article, we’ll discuss how dog bite lawsuits work in Florida.
Strict liability and dog bite lawsuits
Florida Statute 767.04 deals directly with dog bite liability. Florida holds pet owners strictly liable for dog bites. That means that a dog owner is automatically liable when their dog injures or kills another individual. The victim must only prove that they had a right to be in the place they were bitten in order to prove liability in a dog bite lawsuit. Other states operate on a one-bite rule. In other words, the dog must have bitten someone else beforehand for the owner to be liable. These are known as negligence states. In Florida, you do not need to prove negligence to win a dog bite lawsuit.
When are dog owners not liable for dog bites?
There are two situations in which an owner of a dog may not be liable for a dog bite. These include when the bitten party was on private property without the consent of the owner. In other words, an individual who is trespassing may not be able to sue for a dog bite. In other cases, the owner of the dog might not be liable if they have a sign that says “Bad Dog” somewhere that is clearly visible. However, if the dog is not on their own property, the owner may still be liable.
Comparative fault in dog bite lawsuits
Florida has recently adopted a new rule for personal injury cases. In some cases, the owner of the dog can allege that the victim provoked their dog and that’s why they were bitten. A Florida jury hearing the case can assign some of the blame to the victim. In these cases, the victim’s compensation is reduced by their share of the blame. If a jury rules that they are more than 50% liable for their injuries, it would act as a bar to compensation under the law. In other words, if you are more than 50% liable for the injuries you suffered, you may not be able to recover anything at all.
Hiring an attorney for a dog bite claim
A Tampa dog bite attorney can help you recover damages related to your injuries. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Often, there is scarring from a dog bite. Scarring is a compensable injury under Florida rules. In some cases, the injuries will be so severe that you miss time from work.
The attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm represent the interests of those who have been injured by vicious dogs. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and we can file a dog bite lawsuit on your behalf.