Most dogs are friendly, attention-loving creatures. However, not all canines are quite so affable and sometimes even the most placid pooch will suddenly become aggressive. Unfortunately, reports from The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that there are hundreds of thousands of cases where dog-bites leave someone requiring medical treatment every year. Worse still, more than a dozen people a year die after being attacked by a dog.
Regardless of the severity of your injury, a dog bite shows negligence on the part of the owner, who can be held to strict liability statutes. This means that it is possible to sue the owner of the dog for damages caused directly as a result of the bite. This could include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of earnings
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitative treatment
- Plastic surgery
Types of Florida dog bite law
There are actually several different types of law pertaining to dog bites in Florida. These are:
In the case of strict liability, an owner may be held liable for their dog’s choice to bite, even if he/she had no prior indication that the animal may bite. In this instance, the victim does not have to prove that a lack of reasonable care caused the bite to occur.
In the case of negligence, the victim must be able to prove that the owner of the dog did something that a reasonable dog owner wouldn’t have done (such as antagonized his pet), or failed to do something that a responsible owner would have done (for example, put the animal back on the leash), and it was this negligence that resulted in the dog biting and causing the victim’s injuries.
Negligence Per Se
This law refers to a dog owner acting in a negligent manner by already violating another law or statute. This could be letting their dog off the leash in a park where canines are only allowed to visit if they are on a leash. If the dog then bites someone, the claimant can pursue the owner for negligence per se.
Cases where the victim of the bite claims intentional torts are usually quite rare. In these instances, the victim can prove that the dog owner intentionally encouraged his animal to bite. This could be through goading or other provocation.
The type of claim you may be able to file will depend on the circumstances of the bite. Your attorney will be able to advise you which is the right law for your particular case.
Types of injuries and damage that can occur in a dog bite incident
While some dog bites may be quite mild and leave little damage, some can require extensive medical treatment and have disastrous consequences.
Some of the most common injuries and damages reported from dog bites include:
- Cuts and abrasions
- Bite marks
- Soft tissue injuries
- Subsequent infection or disease, such as rabies
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Defensive wounds
- Permanent damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Although the law in Florida heavily favors the victim of the bite, the following legal defenses may be used by the dog owner:
- That the victim provoked the dog
- That the victim was trespassing onto land or property belonging to the dog owner
- Assumption of risk by the victim
Statute of limitations
A statute of limitations refers to a deadline with which anyone wanting to file a lawsuit for damages sustained after a dog bite. In Florida, the statute of limitations decrees that any lawsuit pertaining to a dog bite must be filed within four years of the date that the bite occurred. Failing to file the case before this deadline means that it will almost certainly be thrown out without being heard.
If you or someone you love has been affected by a dog bite, you may be eligible for compensation. Frank Eidson is a specialized personal injury attorney with decades of experience. He understands the traumatic effects that a dog bite can have on both the victim and their family and will work with you to ensure that you receive adequate recompense for the physical, emotional, and financial hardship you have suffered as a result of the bite. Don’t delay, contact our offices today to arrange your free, no-obligation case review. Call 407-315-2459.