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.