We’re all dog lovers in Florida. Many homes feature multiple four-legged friends with wagging tails, and most of us wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately, proximity between humans and dogs can lead to serious bite injuries for the owner, visitors, or even strangers in a public space like a sidewalk or park.
Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog? Bite victims can face painful injuries, medical bills, and mental trauma. Additionally, you may struggle to get your bills paid by your insurance company in the event of a dog bite.
If a dog has bitten you, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Your dog bite injuries lawyer can explain liability, how to move forward with a case, and find out if the dog that bit you was labeled a dangerous dog by the state.
What Should I Do if a Dog Bites Me?
If a dog bites you, you can take several steps to ensure that you have enough evidence for your case. Before leaving the scene, get the contact information of the dog’s owner, including homeowner’s insurance information if the bite occurred on the owner’s property.
If any witnesses can corroborate the details of the incident, get their information. You may need their testimony to build your case if you file a lawsuit.
Report the incident to police and animal control officers to start official documentation of the incident. Take photos of your injury and any scarring that results after healing. You’ll also need to document all medical care you received.
All of this information can help you and your personal injury lawyer build a case should you decide to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. You may want to file a suit if you discover that the dog had bitten someone previously or if the owner knew the dog had bitten someone and didn’t have the dog on a leash or muzzled when you were injured.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?
Reputable dog bite lawyers can help you figure out the complexities of liability in your dog bite case. In the state of Florida, if your dog bites someone, you as the owner are strictly liable for the person’s injuries. Several conditions exist to determine the degree of liability of the owner or caretaker of a dog that bites someone.
Private vs. Public Property
If a worker or guest receives a dog bite while on the dog owner’s property, the owner is liable. A person is legally on a dog owner’s property when performing work on the property, including delivering mail or packages, delivering food, or landscaping. Additionally, if you were an invited guest, you were legally on the property.
If you were trespassing or engaged in criminal activity while on the dog owner’s property, the dog owner would typically not be considered liable. There may be exceptions depending on additional aspects of the case.
Public property, such as in a downtown area or at a public park, is treated the same as being lawfully upon private property. A dog owner should only take a dog out to a populated area when following basic safety measures to keep their dog and the people around their dog safe.
Severity of the Bite
If the dog bite caused serious injury or death, the owner may be subject to criminal penalties on top of the civil liabilities associated with a dog bite. If you or a loved one suffered a serious dog bite injury, you may pursue penalties to the full extent of your loss under Florida law.
How Does the State of Florida Define a Dangerous Dog?
Florida statutes may deem a dog to be dangerous for any of the following reasons:
- It was previously considered dangerous in an earlier case or another state
- It had previously bitten someone, inflicted serious injury, endangered life, or aggressively attacked someone
- It had chased or threatened a person in a public area (street, park, sidewalk, etc.) without provocation
If they display a “bad dog” sign, a dog owner may not be liable for a dog bite by a dangerous dog on their private property. However, this sign will not absolve them of liability for any victim under six years of age.
At Cohen and Juda, P.A., We Will Represent You Personally in Dog Bite Cases
If you or your loved one have suffered due to the negligence of a dog owner in South Florida, contact the law offices of Cohen and Juda, P.A. We will personally represent you in cases involving injuries due to dog bites. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, we are pleased to offer you a free consultation. Call 954-800-6567 today to speak with our team located in Plantation, FL.
Copyright © 2022. Cohen and Juda, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Cohen and Juda P.A.
8211 W Broward Blvd, Suite 310
Plantation, FL 33324