Dog bites are more common than you might think. An estimated 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year, and an estimated 19% of those bites require medical attention.
Given the prevalence of dog bites, it’s important for Floridians to understand the state’s dog bite and injury laws. Read on for a complete overview.
Florida’s Dog Bite Laws
Florida is considered a strict liability state for dog bites, meaning that dog owners can be held legally liable for dog bites even if the victim can’t prove that the bite was a result of the owner’s negligence. Additionally, dog owners in Florida can be held liable for the damages related to a bite even if their dog doesn’t have a history of biting or hasn’t exhibited aggressive behaviors before.
Under Florida law, dog owners are liable for any injuries or damage that their dogs cause if:
- Their dog bites another individual
- The bite occurs on public property or lawfully on private property
If a dog bite incident doesn’t meet the above criteria, the victim may still be able to receive compensation for the damages, but they’ll need to prove the owner’s negligence or failure to provide reasonable care, resulting in the bite.
Note that the dog owner isn’t considered liable for a dog bite if it occurs on their property and they conspicuously posted a sign reading “Beware of Dog” or “Bad Dog” (except for victims under the age of six).
What Compensation Can You Recover From a Dog Bite Claim?
Compensation for the victim in a dog bite claim may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
What Are The Possible Dog Bite Defenses?
A dog owner may be able to provide the following defenses against a dog bite claim:
- The victim was trespassing on their property
- The victim provoked the dog
- The dog was defending its owner or a nearby individual
If you were recently the victim of a dog bite attack, the experts at Weldon & Rothman, PL are here to help you recover your rightful compensation. Schedule a free case review today!