What You Need to Know About Florida’s Dog Bite Laws

A West Palm Beach attorney can help dog bite victims recover compensation for their injuries. But who is at fault for these injuries? 

Dog bites are cause serious, devastating injuries. Sadly, many dog bite victims are children, and the experience of being attacked by a dog can lead to emotional trauma in addition to physical injuries. 

The laws regarding dog bites can vary from state-to-state. Some cities and counties have even established their own specific dog laws. For this reason, it’s important to understand the laws that govern dog bites where you live.

WHO IS LIABLE FOR DOG BITE INJURIES IN FLORIDA?

Florida is a strict liability state. This means that owners of dogs are responsible for dog bite injuries. It doesn’t matter whether or not the owner knew that the dog was aggressive or if the dog had a history of biting people. 

Because of the strict liability law, victims will not need to prove that they were bitten as a result of the owner’s negligence or the dog’s viciousness. There’s no need to prove fault–the dog owner will be held liable. 

However, this strict liability law only applies to dog bites that occur while the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property.

ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS TO FLORIDA’S STRICT LIABILITY LAW FOR DOG BITES?

Yes, there are exceptions. And you can find them under Florida’s dog bite strict liability rules. The strict liability law does not apply if:

  • The injured person was trespassing on private property at the time the bite occurred.
  • The injured person’s negligence played a role in the incident.

If the victim was negligent, the liability of the owner may be reduced to account for the role that the victim played in causing the dog attack. This means the owner of the dog may not need to pay as much compensation to the victim since the victim was partially responsible for their own injuries.

HOLDING DOG OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR NEGLIGENCE

You do not need to prove that a dog owner was negligent in order to recover compensation under the strict liability dog bite laws. However, victims also have the option of filing a personal injury claim based on the owner’s negligence. This is an option for victims who were bitten by a dog as a result of the dog owner’s negligence.

Examples of negligence may include:

  • Letting a dog roam freely without supervision around West Palm Beach
  • Walking a dog without a leash
  • Failing to keep a dog contained on a private property

If a dog owner’s negligence caused your dog bite injuries, you may file this type of claim in order to recover compensation.

HOLDING DOG OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR INTENTIONALLY CAUSING HARM

Most of the time, dogs make their own decisions regarding when to bite someone. But their owners could also make them bite another person. This can be in the form of an action that provokes, incites, pushes, orders or encourages the canines to use their teeth on someone else. 

If an owner tells its dog to bite, you could file a claim to hold them accountable for intentionally causing you harm. This is considered an intentional tort. The injured victim may seek compensation for the injury with the help of a West Palm Beach injury attorney.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR DOG BITE CASES IN FLORIDA?

You should act fast in order to recover compensation for your dog bite injuries. The statute of limitations for dog bite cases is four years, which means you have four years from the date the injury was sustained to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

If you file a lawsuit after this deadline has passed, you may lose the right to recover compensation for your injuries.