What is Strict Liability for a Florida Dog Bite Injury? How Does It Differ from Negligence?

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In Florida, a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog bite or dog attack pursuant to Section 767.01, Florida Statutes. Under this law, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog bite or dog attack. In other words, the injury victim is not required to proof fault, knowledge, or predisposition to attack by the dog in order to prevail on a legal claim or lawsuit. As noted in Knapp v. Ball, 175 So.2d 808 (Fla. 3rd D.C.A. 1965), there was not assumption of risk by a dog bite victim by her mere presence in the Defendant’s house as a guest. The Third District Court of Appeal further noted that liability is based on a legal obligation rather than on negligence. Furthermore, scienter or knowledge of a dog’s prior aggressiveness is not required for such a case.

In most cases, a dog owner is strictly liable for the actions of his or her dog that cause injury to a victim. There are some exceptions to this general rule. When a person is injured as a result of a dog bite attack, there are often times many issues or challenges faced by the dog bite victim including medical bills, medical treatment, insurance coverage, damages, pain and suffering, and other issues.

Florida and other States have unique laws in place for dog bite injuries and attacks. These cases are much different than other types of injury cases like automobile accidents, slip and falls, and other incidents.

Many dog bite attacks and injuries can be avoided with better precautions and supervision of the dog / animal. This includes dog training, fencing, and the use of a leash at all times that a dog is off of the property. For more information on Florida leash laws, see Florida Leash Laws – County by County. When a dog attacks or bites a person, animal control agencies and / or local government agencies can take action to declare that the dog is a dangerous dog. See Florida Dangerous Dog Laws – County by County.