Florida’s Dog Bite Statute
It is important to note that Florida is considered a “strict liability” state. This means that the owner of a dog can be found liable even if they did not expect the attack. As long as someone is bitten, whether publicly or privately, the owner can be liable.
There are instances, however, where the owner may not be found liable. For example, if the property is properly fitted with a warning sign that says “Bad Dog,” this fact could be used in their defense.
In Boca Raton as in other communities in Florida, there are three main defenses for a dog owner that could clear them of liability. They include the following:
- If the person who got bit was trespassing on the property
- If comparative negligence is present
- If a sign saying “Bad Dog” is present on the property
For someone to receive damages from a dog bite, the Florida dog bite law dictates that the person who was bit must be on the premises “lawfully.”
Considerations in a Dog Bite Case
In Florida, there are several considerations to keep in mind when you have been bitten by a dog:
- Proving liability. While Florida is a strict liability state, this does not mean you do not have to prove liability. You must be able to prove you were bitten by the dog and were on the premises lawfully. You must also show that no sign was prominently displayed warning you of a potential attack.
- Comparative Negligence. Comparative negligence can be found if both parties are to blame for the attack. This means that a percentage of the damages can be reduced based on how much the plaintiff is to blame in the case.
- Statute of Limitations. In Florida, you have four years to file a dog bite claim. This period begins on the day the injury occurred.
- Available Damages. When you speak with an experienced attorney, you will discover the legal options available to you, including potential damages. Your financial compensation will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the cost of medical expenses, and more.
When you have a sustained serious bodily injury from a dog bite, you want to make sure you are protected by the law. Understanding these considerations in a dog bite case can help you move forward.
Florida Leash Laws
When a dog is defined as a “dangerous dog” in Florida—when it has attacked someone, killed an animal, or chased someone—they must be muzzled and leashed. Leash laws vary slightly in their wording based on which Florida county you reside in. However, the main points of the law remain the same: If an owner does not properly leash their “dangerous dog,” they can be found negligent when that dog attacks someone else.