Florida Personal Injury - Dog Bite
Dog bites can be traumatic and potentially dangerous experiences. This guide will educate you on the Florida laws pertaining to dog bites and what to do if you have been bitten.
Florida Statute 767.04 - Dog owner*s liability for damages to persons bitten.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 owners* knowledge of such viciousness. However, 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. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words *Bad Dog.* The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
What does this mean?Essentially, this statute means that in almost all situations in Florida the owner of the dog is liable for the actions of their pet. One potential exception is if a sign reading *Bad Dog* was obviously present and the bite occurred on their own property, as this constitutes a fair warning that the dog was likely to bite. Negligence can also be borne by the person who was bitten if they somehow contributed to the situation, such as agitating the dog intentionally. However, in most cases, it is strictly the responsibility of the owner to prevent a dog bite or suffer the consequences.
What to do if you have been bittenThe first thing to do after being bitten by a dog, or any animal, is to seek professional medical attention. Whether it*s a pet or a stray, immediately getting the rabies vaccination and other antibiotics are crucial. Even if the dog is up to date on its own shots, you don*t want to take the risk of getting a serious infection. If the bite has broken the skin, you may need stitches or other treatment to make sure it heals correctly. Calling Animal Control to report the bite is also necessary. Having an incident report properly filed will make your claim much easier. Finally, contact a Board Certified personal injury attorney. They will help you make a recovery from the at-fault party and set you on the path towards normalcy.