Each year, approximately 4.5 million people in the country will be injured by a dog bite. Bites can result in serious injuries, lead to life-threatening infections, and cause permanent disfigurement. In Florida, dog owners can be held financially responsible for harm caused by their pets. If you have been bitten by a dog in Florida, contact Lavent Law, P.A. today for help recovering the money you deserve.
For years, our Florida personal injury attorneys have successfully handled personal injury claims on behalf of injured dog bite victims. We have a thorough understanding of Florida dog bite law and know how to negotiate the best possible settlement for our clients. We will not rest until you are properly compensated for your Florida dog bite injuries. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Florida Dog Bite Law
In Florida, dog owners can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog’s bite. Strict liability simply means that you don’t have to prove the owner was negligent or knew about the dog’s tendency for biting. Instead, you must simply show that you were bitten by the dog. This means that you would even be able to recover compensation from an owner who took every possible precaution to protect you from a dog bite, but failed.
Florida Code Section 767.04 explains that “the owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
In other words, an owner is liable for any dog bites that you sustain in public or while lawfully on private property. It does not matter whether not (1) the dog has been aggressive in the past or (2) the owner is aware of the dog’s vicious disposition.
Limits on Recovery
While dog owners in Florida can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by dog bites, Florida law does carve out some defenses to limit their liability.
Florida Code Section 767.04 states that “any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident.”
What does this mean? The damages you can recover will be limited if it is determined that you provoked the dog or otherwise caused it to act viciously. A judge or jury will determine your role in the incident and reduce any damages you are entitled to receive by your own degree of fault.
This limitation does not apply to children under the age of 6 who are injured by a dog bite. Children are not considered to have the capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.
Owners will also not be liable for damages caused by a dog bite if the injury occurs on the dog owner’s property and “the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog.” However, if it is established that the owner’s own negligence contributed to the attack, he or she may still be held financially responsible for the victim’s dog bite injuries.
Property Owner Negligence
A dog’s owner may not be the only person who is liable for your dog bite injuries. If your dog bite occurs on privately-owned property, the owner may be liable if he or she knew that a dangerous dog was present but failed to warn you of that danger. For example, if you are bitten in an apartment complex, the landlord may be liable if he or she knew that a vicious dog lived on the premises.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
At Lavent Law, P.A., we are dedicated to helping you recover compensation for any injury you suffer because of a Florida dog bite. Commonly reported dog bite injuries include:
- Skin punctures and tears
- Contusions and lacerations
- Cellulitis and infection
- Damage to nerves, tendons, and soft tissue, and
- Scarring and disfigurement.
If you have suffered a dog bite injury it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, your wounds can result in serious complications and infections. Many times, these complications can pose a serious threat to your health and well-being.
Damages Available to Dog Bite Victims
What kind of compensation can you recover from a Florida dog bite lawsuit? In most cases, you’ll be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for the financial costs of your dog bite injury. These can include your current out-of-pocket costs, as well as reasonably calculable future costs related to your injury. Examples of economic damages available to dog bite victims may include:
- Corrective surgery
- Lost wages, and
Non-economic damages are paid to compensate you for the consequences of an accident that are difficult to value. Examples of non-economic damages available to dog bite victims may include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Embarrassment, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
When Can I File a Dog Bite Claim?
It is important to act quickly after your dog bite incident. Under Florida law, you will only have four years from the date you suffered your injury to file a claim for damages. If you do not file a claim before the statute of limitations expires you will not be able to recover the money you deserve.
You can make sure that your claim is filed on time by speaking with an experienced Florida dog bite attorney immediately after you are injured. Call the attorneys at Lavent Law, P.A. today for help.
Florida Dog Bite Attorneys
Have you been injured by a dog bite in Florida? Call Lavent Law, P.A. to find out how we can help you hold the dog’s owner responsible for your injuries. The money you recover from your lawsuit can help to pay for expensive medical bills and compensate for the emotional trauma of the attack. We will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to call us today.