Florida dog bite victims have rights that are specifically set forth in Chapter 767, Florida Statutes. Unlike Florida’s laws relating to automobile accidents and other types of injuries, dog bite victims in Florida can pursue a claim or case for injuries and damages without the requirement of proving fault or negligence on the part of the dog owner. A dog bite victim need only prove that the he or she was bitten by a dog.
Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by s. 585.01.
The important language in this section is “shall be liable”. Statutes are purposely constructed and the words “shall be liable” are strong language that pins liability on the dog owner for damages and injuries related to a dog bite incident in Florida.
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.
As stated in Section 767.04, Florida Statutes, a dog bite victim does not have to prove that the dog had bitten in the past or had exhibited any dangerous behavior or propensity to bite or attack in the past.
When a person assumes the responsibility to own and care for a dog in Florida, there is a risk of liability when the dog bites another person without any notice or expectation that the dog will attack. Because of the strict Florida laws in place, it is important for every dog owner to do his or her best to protect others from the unpredictable nature of dogs by making sure that the dog is leashed when off the property, that fences are keep in good order and repair, and that the dog is well cared for and fed. These simple acts will reduce the incidents of dog bites and protect others including children who often times are the victims of dog bite incidents in Florida.
When a child is bitten by a dog, there are many issues or questions that arise to the parent responsible for the care of the child. The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – is a resource for parents dealing with the issues presented when a child is the unfortunate victim of a dog bite incident and other incidents in which a child suffers personal injuries. You can receive a free book by clicking here.