Are Some Breeds of Dogs More Likely to Bite a Child Than Others? Legal Rights of Dog Bite Victims

Florida-Dog-Bite-150x150A dog can be a great companion and friend.  Certainly, there are many benefits to dog ownership.  There are also responsibilities as well.  When a dog bites a child or another person, the dog owner can be liable for the resulting personal injuries.  In the State of Florida, a dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries / damages caused by the dog bite even if the dog never showed any dangerous propensities.  Strict liability is a bit different than a negligence standard which applies to automobile accidents, slip and falls, and other personal injury matters.

Under the Florida Strict Liability Rule, the dog bite victim is not required to show negligence or carelessness on behalf to the dog owner. The dog bite victim is only required to show that the victim was bitten or attacked and suffered injuries. There are some exceptions to the strict liability rule when signs are posted and the victim is a trespasser. However, in most instances, the dog owner will be liable for the personal injuries.

Dogs bite for a multitude of reasons whether it is from being put in a stressful situation or protection of an owner/pup. According to research conducted by otolaryngologists, dogs weighing in over 66 pound and dogs with square shaped heads are more likely to cause serious injury with a bite. It is widely believed that dog breed is a tell of an animal’s likelihood to bite, which is represented in myths such as pit bulls being the most dangerous breed. But information from the American Veterinary Medical Association may suggest otherwise. After evaluating multiple data sets the AVMA came to the conclusion that while breed may be a factor in dog bites, the breed type just a small piece of the puzzle. Other factors such as training methods, sex, neutering status, and the environment in which the dog is kept affect the aggressiveness to similar degrees.

Being aware of what causes a dog bites is important to keep in mind when petting dogs you are unfamiliar with. Always ask the owner for permission to  pet the dog before making any actions. Crouching down and having the dog approach you can be the difference between the animal seeing you as a friend or a threat. Remaining still as the dog approaches you allows it to move towards you at its own pace and feel less threatened. If the dog begins to get aggressive it is important that you do not panic. Running away from the dog may increase the dogs aggressiveness and lead to a bite.

As stated earlier, in Florida a dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries suffered by a dog bite victim. There may be some exceptions to this general rule.  If a child or adult is bitten by a dog, there may be a legal claim or case to pursue.  David Wolf is a personal injury and dog bite injury attorney with over 28 years of experience. He has represents children and adults in the aftermath of a dog bite situation.  One key factor in pursuing a case or claim for a dog bite victim is the availability of homeowner’s insurance or liabilty inusrance.  Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to exclude or limit the amount of insurance coverage for claims associated with a dog bite or dog attack.  David Wolf is the author of the book – When A Dog Is Not Man’s Best Friend – The Legal Rights of the Dog Bite Victim.  Get this book for free at Florida Dog Bite Book.  David Wolf firmly beleives in Giving a Voice to Injury Vicitms and Their Families.  Contact attorney David Wolf for a Free Consultation.