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With Experience And Dedication


By: Morey Law Firm

October 18, 2023

Understanding Florida’s Dog Bite Laws: A Victim’s Guide

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Understanding Florida’s Dog Bite Laws: A Victim’s Guide

Dog bites can be traumatic and physically damaging, especially in a state like Florida, where many residents enjoy the companionship of their furry friends. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in the Sunshine State, it’s essential to understand your rights and how Florida’s specific dog bite laws can impact your potential claim. This guide aims to shed light on the intricacies of these laws for victims seeking justice and compensation with the help of a dedicated Florida dog bite lawyer.

Florida’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws

Florida’s strict liability laws for dog bites mean that a dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or damage their dog causes, regardless of whether the dog had shown any prior signs of aggression or the owner had any knowledge of such tendencies. In essence, if a dog bites someone, the owner is typically held responsible, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown aggressive behavior.

The relevant statute, Florida Statute §767.04, states:

“The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”

Dog Owner Defenses to Florida’s Strict Liability Laws

  1.  Provocation: In Florida, if a dog owner can prove that the bite victim antagonized or provoked the dog prior to the attack, it can serve as a defense against liability. This means that if the victim’s actions contributed to the bite, the owner’s responsibility for the incident may be reduced or eliminated.
  2. Warning Signs: If the dog owner had prominently displayed an easily readable sign that included the words “Bad Dog” or another warning, they might not be liable for bites, unless the damages are caused by a negligent act or if the person bitten is under the age of six.
  3. Trespassing: The strict liability typically doesn’t apply if the person bitten was unlawfully on the property.

It’s important for dog bite victims and dog owners in Florida to be aware of these laws and consult with a dog injury attorney to understand their rights and responsibilities. Because our attorneys also provide dog bite defense in Florida, we are uniquely situated to anticipate the other side’s moves.

Dog Bite Victim Compensation

A dog bite victim may be entitled to various types of compensation, depending on the severity of the injury, the circumstances of the attack, and the jurisdiction’s legal provisions. Common types of compensation include:

  1. Medical Expenses: This covers the costs of treating the dog bite, including emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any future medical treatments related to the bite.
  2. Lost Wages: If the victim had to miss work due to their injuries, they could be compensated for the wages they would have earned during that time.
  3. Pain and Suffering: This compensation acknowledges the physical pain and emotional distress suffered by the victim. It can also cover psychological trauma, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress.
  4. Loss of Earning Capacity: If the dog bite results in long-term or permanent disabilities that prevent the victim from returning to their previous job or reduces their earning potential, they may be compensated for this loss.
  5. Property Damage: If personal property, such as clothing or accessories, was damaged during the attack, the victim might be reimbursed for the value of these items.
  6. Scarring and Disfigurement: Compensation can be awarded for visible scars or other physical disfigurements resulting from the dog bite, especially if they are on prominent areas like the face.
  7. Loss of Consortium: If the dog bite affects the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family due to physical or emotional trauma, they might be entitled to compensation.
  8. Rehabilitation and Therapy Costs: Some victims require physical or psychological therapy to recover fully from a dog attack. These costs can be included in compensation claims.
  9. Punitive Damages: In cases where the dog owner’s behavior was particularly negligent or reckless, punitive damages might be awarded to punish the owner and deter similar behavior in the future.

Being bitten by a dog can be a harrowing experience, and the aftermath can be just as challenging without the right information and legal support. Florida’s dog bite laws are designed to protect victims, but understanding these laws is the first step towards seeking justice and compensation. Whether you’re dealing with medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages due to a dog bite incident, a qualified Florida dog bite lawyer can be your best ally in navigating the legal landscape.

Consult with a Top Florida Dog Bite Attorney Today

Navigating the aftermath of a dog bite can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a dog bite in Florida, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to. Speaking with a Florida dog bite attorney can provide clarity and guidance tailored to your unique situation. For more details or to determine your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can call, engage with our online chat, or submit an Online Case Evaluation now to connect with an experienced attorney ready to assist you. Your path to justice and healing begins with informed legal support.

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