Dogs are the subject of a great amount of love and positive attention in our society. The humane society raises millions of dollars for better treatment, and people often set money aside in their wills so that they will be taken care for. They accompany their owners at restaurants, the grocery store, and even on cross-country flights. Indeed, their cuteness has become cliché, with more posters of puppies than of babies for sale at the mall.
All of this puppy propaganda makes it is easy to forget that dogs are not just all bark, but that they do have a dangerous bite as well. The same enthusiastic loyalty that raised their status to ‘man’s best friend’ and protector makes them a menace to innocent delivery people and other strangers.
If you have ever been barked at or growled at by even a small dog, you have been reminded of the scary side of our precious little pets. When domesticated dogs go further and actually attack, the results can be tragic, including serious injury and even death. These incidents have lead to strong laws holding dog owners accountable to the victims of a dog bite or attack.
Owning a dog is a bigger responsibility than you thought. You already knew about food and vet costs, and even considered the ‘picking up’ after your dog, but did you know you are always responsible for the injuries your dog caused too, even when it seems like it’s not really your fault?
Florida follows strict liability when it comes to dog bite and attack injuries. This means that fault is not an issue – the plaintiff does not have to prove negligence. The statute states that owners are liable when the victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
For example, if a dog digs a hole under a fence and gets out of the owner’s property, the owner will be strictly liable for injuries caused by that dog, even though he had the dog fenced in. The owner would want to argue that his fence was built properly and that his dog had never dug his way out before. Plus, his dog is sweet and has never bit anyone before. However, he won’t be able to make those arguments – he is strictly liable.
Strict liability means that in a lawsuit the injured party does not have to prove all the elements of negligence, such as :
Instead, the plaintiff just has to show that he was injured by the dog, and that the dog was owned by the defendant.
If the dog owner can prove that the victim contributed to the cause of the attack, by provoking the dog perhaps, then the court would apportion an amount of fault to each party. If the dog has truly been known to be a sweet, docile creature and the victim clearly provoked the pet, then the victim will likely be held partially liable.
The court could decide it’s 50/50. Again however, the law is clear that complete liability starts with the owner, even if the owner knew the dog to be nothing but kind, so owners are usually held more responsible than victims. If you have been the victim of a dog bite or you believe your dog is only partially liable for an attack, you need the assistance of a trained dog bite lawyer.
You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation and get into contact with one of our dog bite lawyers. Get the compensation you deserve. Our dog bite lawyers can help.