Many people believe that dog bites mostly come from aggressive breeds of dogs such as rottweilers and pit bulls, however, most Florida dog bite injuries come from unsuspecting breeds like labradors, golden retrievers, and even poodles. Shockingly, dog bites cause nearly $1 billion in damages annually in the United States. These claims are not only from dog bites, but also damages related to dogs knocking down children, bicyclists, and the elderly which can result in serious injury.
A dog bite can be a both serious and traumatic event that can cause lifelong disabilities, or even lead to death. If you were bitten or injured by a dog in Florida, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us today to have a West Palm Beach dog bite lawyer explain your options.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Florida Statute 767.04 holds dog owners liable when their animal bites or injures someone. The Florida dog bite law directly 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."
This law allows for the ability to recover compensation for losses caused by a dog bite even if the owner of the dog was unaware of the animal's aggressive tendencies. If it is found that the owner was aware of the dog's aggression, and failed to take precautions to protect you, you may be able to make a claim based on the owner's negligent failure to avoid injury. In other words, the owner of a dog can be held liable just as they can with a weapon such as a loaded gun.
I Was Bitten by a Dog, But The Owner Had a “Bad Dog” Sign Posted
Florida Statute 767.04 has one exception in terms of dog bite liability. This provision states:
"However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog."
If the owner of the dog has an obvious and readable sign which warns individuals that their dog is dangerous, they may not be held liable. With the help of a West Palm Beach dog bite lawyer, it is important to analyze questions such as:
- Was the victim age six or older?
- Where did the dog bite occur? (Public or private property)
- Was a "Bad Dog" or "Beware of Dog" sign displayed in a prominent place?
- Was the sign readable?
- Did the victim read the sign?
Despite having a sign that reads "Bad Dog," the facts and circumstances of the case can still lead to a claim. No matter the breed of the dog, even if the dog is not aggressive, having a "Bad Dog" sign can help reduce liability in the event of that dog injuring another individual. If you were bitten by a dog in a public area, or your dog has injured someone in public you are entirely liable for that individual's injury. If you were bitten by your neighbor's dog on their property, for example, you can potentially recover compensation through their homeowner's insurance policy.
If you were bitten by a dog in Florida, it is important to begin gathering relevant information as soon as possible after receiving proper medical attention. It is imperative to note the time, date, and location of the dog bite as well as statements from anyone who may have witnessed the attack. Some additional information to collect can be:
- Owner of the animal's information
- Photos of the animal
- Photos of the injury(s)
- Proof of rabies vaccination (from the owner of the animal)
- Dog license information (dogs 4 months and older must be licensed and wear a tag in Florida)
- Information regarding any past dog bite incidents
Dog Bite Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL
Negotiating a dog bite settlement on your own can be difficult. A West Palm Beach dog bite lawyer can assist in negotiating a proper settlement on your behalf while you recover from your injuries. If you or your loved one were attacked by a dog in Florida, contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Palm Beach County today.