Understanding Victim’s Rights and Owner’s Liability in a Florida Dog Bite Lawsuit
For many people, their dogs are considered a member of the family. However, even the most well-cared for and domesticated animals may turn to their natural and instinctual habits and cause an injury to someone else. If a dog, or another type of animal, bites or attacks someone, the injured party may have the right to receive compensation for the damages they suffered, including pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses, from the owner of the animal or the responsible party. This is because of the Florida dog bite lawsuit.
This law contains important elements that deal with the liability of a dog owner to any individual that their dog attacks or bites. According to Florida law, any dog bite victim can pursue compensation for their damages through one of the standards of liability.
Unlike other states, where the owner of the animal isn’t held responsible for the actions unless the dog attacked or bit someone in the past, the law in Florida adheres to something that is called strict liability. What this means is that dog owners can be held liable for any type of injury that is the result of their pet due to an attack on a person who is lawfully on private party or a public space. This is true regardless of if the dog has a history of attacking or biting, or not.
While strict liability does exist in some cases, there are some exceptions to this, including attacks or bites against someone who was trespassing on someone else’s private party, or if the victim provokes the dog.
A victim of a dog bite may also have the ability to file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog based on negligence. To win this negligence claim, the victim has the responsibility to prove that the owner has, in some way, breached the “duty of care,” the victim was owed, which then resulted in the damages or injuries. This may also involve small business owners who have a dog on-site.
If you are pursuing a lawsuit for a dog bite based on negligence, it is likely because your situation did not invoke the strict liability law. There are some other strategic reasons that you can create a claim based on negligence and an experienced attorney can help you figure this out.
There are some situations where dog bite victims experience an injury because the dog owner encouraged their animal to attack. In this situation, you may have the ability to pursue a case for intentional tort.
Dog Bite Cases and Reduced Liability
Even though the majority of dog attacks and bites allow victims to hold the owner liable, in Florida, there are some situations where the owner’s liability may be eliminated or reduced completely. Some situations when this may be true include:
- The dog was protecting its owner or someone else from an attack or threat
- The victim was provoking the dog
- The victim was unlawfully on the property
Even though each case is unique, in the situations above, the victims were found to have contributed in some way to cause the injuries they suffered.
If you need help after being bit or attacked by a dog, contact our legal team at Felice Trial Attorneys Law by calling (561) 444-8822 for more information. We can review your case and help you find the best method to pursue compensation.