Dog Bite Laws in Florida
Blog   |  September 20, 2023
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Dog Bite Laws In The State Of Florida

In accordance with Florida legislation, a dog owner may be deemed responsible for injuries arising from a dog bite, regardless of whether the incident occurs in a public or private setting.

It is imperative to be aware that there is a limited timeframe within which you can initiate a lawsuit following a dog attack injury. We strongly encourage you to promptly reach out to Kemp Law Group for a complimentary consultation to ascertain the viability of your case. Delaying this crucial step could result in the forfeiture of your right to file a claim.

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Liability for Dog Owners

In the state of Florida, dog owners can potentially face legal consequences, both in criminal and civil contexts, in the event of a dog attack.

Florida adheres to a “strict liability” stance, meaning that dog owners can be held responsible for a dog bite, irrespective of their prior knowledge about the dog’s aggressive tendencies. Crucially, Florida’s dog bite laws do not demand the victim to prove that their injuries resulted from the owner’s negligence.

According to Florida statutes, a dog owner can be held accountable for injuries if it can be demonstrated that the dog bit the victim while the victim was either in a public area or lawfully present on private property.

Even in scenarios outside the above-mentioned circumstances, it might still be feasible to file a personal injury claim against the owner. In such cases, the victim must establish that the owner acted negligently or failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to the injury.

Victims may seek compensation for their injuries through common law claims such as:

1. Negligence: An owner can be considered negligent if they did not provide a standard of care equivalent to what a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances.

2. Negligence per se: An owner might be held accountable if they violated statutes or regulations established to safeguard public safety.

3. Scienter: Commonly known as the “one bite rule,” this provision holds anyone with knowledge of a dog’s history of attacks or attempted bites liable for damages.

4. Intentional tort: In specific situations, a claim like battery may be pursued if it can be proven that the owner intended for the dog to attack the victim.

If you or someone you know has experienced a dog attack, you may be eligible for compensation. To explore your legal options, reach out to our experienced team of attorneys who will assess the specifics of your case.

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The Dangerous Dog Statute

The Dangerous Dog Statute plays a pivotal role in Florida’s dog bite laws, designed to safeguard the public from dangerous dogs.

In severe cases, a dog displaying aggressive behavior can be deemed “dangerous” under Florida law. In such instances, the owner must adhere to specific precautions and stringent rules regarding the dog, and they can be held criminally responsible for any harm caused by the dangerous dog.

The dog must be registered with local authorities and kept in a secure location marked with appropriate warning signs for dangerous dogs. When taken off the premises, the dog must be restrained with a harness or leash and muzzled.

Florida dog bite laws categorize a dangerous dog as one that:

1. Has aggressively attacked, bitten, or severely injured a person, or has attempted to do so.

2. Has seriously injured or killed another animal on more than one occasion.

3. Has chased or aggressively approached a person without provocation.

If your injuries were inflicted by a dangerous dog, you may have grounds to initiate a personal injury claim to seek compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Limitations on Dog Owner Responsibility

While in most situations, Florida dog bite laws hold owners liable for injuries caused by their dogs, there are specific circumstances in which an owner’s liability can be reduced or eliminated:

1. If the victim was unlawfully on the property.
2. If the victim provoked the dog.
3. If the dog was defending its owner or someone in its immediate vicinity from a perceived threat or attack.

Furthermore, if the owner of a dangerous dog has taken proper precautions and displayed warning signs, they are less likely to be held liable for damages. However, depending on the circumstances, the victim may still have grounds to file a claim.

In cases where the victim shares some fault in the attack, such as provoking the dog, the damages awarded might be reduced accordingly based on the victim’s level of fault.

Given the complexity of dog bite claims, it is crucial to consult an attorney to examine the details of your case.

Obtain Answers to Your Questions About Florida Dog Bite Laws

Florida’s dog bite laws are intricate, and determining the extent of owner liability can be challenging. This underscores the importance of having an experienced attorney on your side to help ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries and suffering.

Here at Kemp Law, we can assist you in seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Do not hesitate to contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Call 727-847-HURT.

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