Fusco Law Group PLLC

Questions About Your Legal Rights?

Call the Fusco Law Group for a Free Consultation.

What You Need to Know About Dog Bite & Injury Laws in Florida

Florida is a dog-friendly state. Wherever you are, there’s probably a canine nearby.

Dog owners frequently take their dogs to restaurants with outdoor patios. Dogs accompany owners on errands, including visits to those big hardware stores. As summer nears, dogs can be found running about with families at Florida beaches and parks.

All these Florida Fido activities can be fun and exciting; however, they open up a potential dog bite scenario. A dog bite can result in serious injuries that may be costly for owners or entitle victims to monetary compensation.

If you’re dealing with a dog bite issue or injury, please don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of our Personal Injury Attorney. We’re here to address any concerns or questions you might have about dog bites.

Call us for a free consultation at (904) 567-3113 to discuss your situation.

How Many Dog Bites Occur in Florida?

Barking enraged shepherd dog outdoors

Florida ranks 2nd in the country in dog bites that resulted in an insurance claim. In 2018, there were 1,281 dog bite claims in Florida according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

What is the Average Cost Per Claim for Dog Bites in Florida?

The average cost per dog bite insurance claim in Florida was $43,893 according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

However, monetary compensation may actually be more based on the severity of injuries and damages.

That’s why it’s important not to settle with insurance claims before seeking guidance from an experienced dog bite attorney who can evaluate your case and represent your interests.

When is a Dog Owner Liable for Dog Bite Injuries and Damages in Florida?

Florida is a strict liability state with regards to dog bites. According to Florida Statute (FLSA 767.04), a dog owner is liable for injuries and damages if:

  • Their dog bites another person
  • The person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place

What the Florida Law Means to Dog Bite Victims

For dog bite victims, this means the dog owner can be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog, including bites or accidents (tripping over the dog, being pushed by a dog, etc.).

If you’re a dog bite victim, you may seek and recover monetary compensation for injuries and damages that may have cost you money such as medical bills and lost wages.

Additionally, dog bite victims may be able to pursue compensation due to injuries that may have life-long impacts such as scarring, emotional and mental distress, and permanent disabilities.

What the Florida Dog Bite Law Means to Dog Owners

For the dog owner, this means they may not be liable if the dog bite victim was trespassing.

Additionally, an experienced attorney may raise a defense of comparative negligence on behalf of the dog owner. This means if the court finds the dog bite victim was partially at fault for the injury, the damage amount may be reduced by the percentage of blame between owner and victim. For example, the dog owner may be able to show the injury came about due to provocation from the dog bite victim.

Whether you’re pursuing compensation or a defense in a dog bite incident, a knowledgeable dog bite attorney can help you understand your situation and legal options.

What is the Deadline to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Dog bite victims should be aware they have a four-year statute of limitations with regards to filing a lawsuit for their injuries.

What are Common Dog Bite Injuries and Damages in Florida

The types of injuries that dog bite victims may sustain and seek compensation for include:

  • Cuts, bruises, lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Facial scarring
  • Bite and teeth marks
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Permanent damages

What Can Happen if Your Dog Bites Someone or Another Dog?

Beyond a dog bite lawsuit risk, dog owners must contend with the “Dangerous Dog Act” that can lead to criminal charges in certain situations.

If a dog bites a person or another dog, the owner may be charged with a misdemeanor if the dog is classified as dangerous by the Animal Control Board. If the owner knew of their dog’s aggressive tendencies even without the “dangerous” designation, they can still be charged.

Dog owners of dogs who bite another dog would be held responsible for injuries sustained in the attack.

Dogs that bite a person may be impounded. If the injuries caused by the attack are severe, the dog may be euthanized.

What if Your Dog was Protecting You and Your Family?

Dog owners have the right to defend their dog in bite cases where the dog was defending itself, its owner or owner’s family. This also includes situations when the dog bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s property.

What Can Happen if Your Dog Bites Someone Protecting Their Dog From Your Dog?

You may be held liable if your dog attacks another dog and the other dog’s owner gets injured protecting their dog.

Can You Be Held Responsible if You Have a Bad Dog Sign on Your Property?

Florida Statute (FLSA 767.04) does state that a dog owner is not liable for dog bite injuries on their property if, at the time, they had a prominent and readable sign that included the words “Bad Dog.”

However, this may not protect the dog owner from a lawsuit. Under common law, the owner may be sued if the dog bite victim is under the age of 6 or if the dog bite was due to the owner’s negligence.

Can Social Workers Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

While social workers from the Florida Department of Children and Families can request that you remove your dog, they have no legal powers to make you do so.

However, if they have concerns regarding the safety of children in your home due to a dog with a history of aggression, the social worker can work through the court system to remove the child.

Always Involve a Personal Injury Attorney Regarding Dog Bites

If you’ve suffered injuries due to a dog bite or are a dog owner concerned about your situation, enlisting the guidance of an experienced attorney can help you understand your position and develop a game plan for the best possible outcome in your case.

Please contact a Personal Injury Attorney from the Fusco Law Group at (904) 567-3113 for a free consultation.