Blogs By K Ryan

dog bite premises liability

Dog Bites and Premises Liability

If you’ve been bitten by a dog on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation through a dog bite premises liability lawsuit.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly one million of those bites require medical attention. Some dog bites even lead to dangerous infections and death. 

Florida’s legislation says dangerous dogs are becoming an increasingly widespread and serious issue. 


Who’s liable for my dog bite?

Most of the time, Florida law places the liability of dog bites on the dog’s owner. However, there are some instances that lessen the owner’s liability, such as if negligence by the wounded person led to the dog bite. 

More drastically, the owner’s liability is voided except in cases involving victims younger than six years old if the owner had a sign prominently displayed on their property that warned of a “Bad Dog.” 

The only exception to this void is if the dog bite was directly caused by the owner’s negligence or omission. 


How does premises liability factor into dog bites?

Florida law protects property visitors from certain types of property dangers. In most cases, premises liability lawsuits require the dangerous property condition to have existed for a long enough time that the property owner must have known about it, to be recurring and therefore foreseeable, or gone intentionally unaddressed by the property owner.

An expert Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer will know what options are available to you and how premises liability law impacts your case specifically. 


What if the dog doesn’t belong to the property owner?

If you were at or on public property when bitten, the owner of the dog is liable for your injuries. 

If you were bitten by the dog while lawfully on the dog owner’s property, the owner is liable. To be lawfully on the property means you were invited.

If you were bitten on private property, contact a seasoned Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer today. An expert dog bite premises liability lawyer will know what options are available to you and how best to proceed.


Does it matter if the dog has never bitten anyone before?


According to Florida law, the dog’s owner is liable for damages to the wounded person regardless of whether this is the first time the dog has ever hurt someone. In addition, the dog’s owner still is liable even if they claim to not have known about any previous instances of aggression or viciousness.


Was the dog “dangerous”?

Though the answer may seem obvious to you, Florida has specific rules about what qualifies a dog as dangerous. If you were bitten by a dog that has been labeled as dangerous by the state, contact a dog bite premises liability lawyer immediately as this may affect your case.

To be deemed dangerous, Florida requires the dog to have:

  • Wounded or killed a domestic animal off the owner’s property at least once
  • Chased or menacingly approached a peaceful person on public property
  • Bitten, attacked, endangered, or severely wounded a person on private or public property


There are some exceptions to the dangerous label. In Florida, a dog may not be considered or declared dangerous if it hurt someone in defense of itself or a person or if it hurt someone who was unlawfully on the property housing the dog.

Though there are stereotypes about what types of dogs are more or most likely to bite, those don’t hold water. It’s important to remember that all dogs can bite a person and potentially cause serious harm and death.


Bitten by a dog? Contact a lawyer today.

A skilled Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve. Monetary awards from lawsuits can be used to cover medical bills, lost income due to injury, and more. Florida law limits how long you have to file a dog bite premises liability claim, so it’s best to move quickly. 

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free consultation with an expert premises liability lawyer. Call us now at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website to get your free, no-risk consultation. Let us help you get the compensation and treatment you deserve.

Insurance Industry Data Shows Florida Is One of the Leading States for Instances of Dog Bites in 2017

Florida Is One of the Leading States for Dog Bites in 2017

A recent nationwide study showed the number of dog bite incidents across the U.S. increased 2.2 percent in 2017 when compared with 2016. The study, which was conducted by insurance industry trade group the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm, the nation’s largest homeowners insurer, analyzed the number of homeowners insurance claims that were filed in 2017 relating to dog bites.

Although this study contains concerning findings regarding an uptick in the number of homeowners insurance claims filed that stemmed from dog bite incidents in 2017, it leaves out all the dog bite incidents where homeowners insurance claims were not filed. Therefore, the real statistics regarding the amount and seriousness of dog bite incidents nationwide and in Florida could very well be much worse than the picture presented in this study.

Florida had the second highest number of dog bite incidents in the nation according to the study and the highest average claim value, a sign that Floridians more likely to be hurt by someone else’s dog, but their injuries are more likely to be more severe than those injured in a dog bite incident in another state.

The Results of the III Study

Dog bites accounted for more than one third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2017, costing insurers almost $700 million. The III’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017, compared to 18,122 in 2016. The average cost per claim nationwide also increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $37,051 in 2017, compared with $33,230 in 2016.

The state with the second highest number of homeowners insurance claims related to dog bites last year was Florida at 1,345. The Sunshine State also had the highest average cost per claim at $44,700. More people are therefore being bitten by dogs in the Sunshine State and Floridians’ injuries are more serious than those in other states.

The Reality of Dog Bites in Florida

The III study ignores dog owners who may not have homeowners insurance either because they do not own a home and are instead renting or because they do not carry any insurance. Therefore, a dog bite victim may have little recourse if the dog’s owner lacks any insurance coverage or the financial wherewithal to pay for the damages caused by his pet.

Contact Lytal Reiter if You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in a Dog Bite Incident

Dog bites often can result in serious personal injuries. The experienced dog bite attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have represented dozens of dog bite victims and their families in personal injury lawsuits involving dog bites and other animal attacks. In many cases, the dog owner may be liable for any injuries suffered as a result of a dog bite or other animal attack in Florida, particularly if they failed to exercise their duty under Florida law to keep others safe from the dog. If you or a loved one have been attacked by a dog or another animal owned by someone else, contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath immediately for a free consultation. Call our office at (561) 655-1990 or (561) 655-1990 to speak with an experienced attorney today.

Call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.

Dog Bite Attorneys in West Palm Beach

About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath

Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer. Call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.


Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
(561) 655-1990


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