Florida’s Dog Bite Statute
Florida has clear laws regarding dog bites. According to Florida Statutes 767.04, a dog owner is liable for injuries if:
• Their dog bites another person, and
• That person is in a public area or a private space (such as the property of the owner of the dog)
Under this statute, the dog owner may be held liable for their dog’s actions even if the former does not have prior knowledge that the dog might bite.
However, Florida’s dog bite laws only cover bites. Injuries caused by a dog’s action apart from biting are less black-and-white. In such a case, the injured person has to prove that the owner’s negligence resulted in the injury caused by their dog. For instance, a guest or repairman who sustains injury after a dog knocks them down may reason that the owner’s negligence to restrain the dog inadvertently caused the injury.
Florida’s dog bite statute also takes into account the possibility that the injured person shares liability in the dog bite. In such a case, the amount of liability of the dog owner may be reduced. However, the dog owner may also
have to provide proof that the victim was willfully negligent. According to the statute, this is possible if:
• The injured person is older than 6 years old, and
• The dog owner posted visible signs warning visitors of the presence of the dog
Another occurrence wherein the dog owner may not be held liable for the dog bite is when the injured individual is trespassing or has exceeded their invitation on the property.
What To Do If You Were Bitten By A Dog
If you are now 100% sure that you were injured or bitten by a dog owned by a negligent individual, these are what you should do:
Identify The Dog And Its Owner
In order for you to hold the dog owner liable for the dog bite, you need to be able to identify the dog and its owner. If you can, take a picture of the dog, or at least remember its breed or what it looks like. If the dog owner is present and identifies themselves, make sure to get their contact information.
Document Your Injuries
Take pictures of your injuries immediately after the incident. You may also take pictures during treatment, such as if the injury worsens. These will all help with your dog bite injury case.
Talk To Witnesses
If people witnessed the dog biting incident, talk to them and get their contact information. They may be able to present relevant details later on that may support your claims.
Report The Bite
Report the bite to your local animal control office and the police. If you do not know the dog that bit you, the local animal control office may identify the owner or inform you and take the necessary action if it is a stray. You may also ask them for any similar incidents concerning the dog that bit you.
See A Doctor
Don’t worry about the medical bills. Get the proper treatment and get shots for rabies as soon as possible to prevent further problems.
Contact A Dog Bite Lawyer
Don’t hesitate to contact a Florida dog bite lawyer if you truly believe that you were attacked by a dog that has a negligent owner. While Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases like dog bites gives you four years to file a complaint, getting your case started as early as possible is still the best option.
The Bottom Line
The sooner you get compensation for your injuries caused by a dog owned by someone, the better you can heal and move on from such a traumatic experience. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer from All Injuries Law Firm now.