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Determining Liability in a Dog Bite Accident

Dogs are often considered “part of the family,” so when a dog bites you, the owners are hesitant to take the blame. After all, you must have “provoked” the dog in some way for it to bite you, because biting is “out of character” for the family pet. Unfortunately though, animals tend to do things that are out of character every once in awhile, and if you have recently been bitten by your neighbor’s dog, a friend’s dog, or even a family member’s dog, you have every right to sue them for personal injury damages.

At The Pendas Law Firm, our Orlando personal injury lawyers help clients resolve a range of complex personal injury cases, and are here to help you in the event that a dog bit you or a loved one.

Florida’s Dog Bite Laws

Florida maintains a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites, and unlike in other states, Florida does not have a “one bite allowance” rule. What this means is that in the state of Florida, an owner is liable for even the first bite his or her dog should inflict on another human being, despite the dog’s previously displayed temperament, and despite the complete lack of a biting history.

However, according to the same code, if an individual acts in a negligent manner around the dog, or if the victim’s actions provoked the dog to bite, the victim’s monetary compensation may be reduced by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the attack. So for instance, if the courts felt that an individual was 50 percent responsible for a dog bite accident, and the individual was hoping to gain $10,000 in damages, they would only receive 50 percent of the awarded damages, or $5,000.

“Bad Dog”

Additionally, and according to Florida Statute Section 767.04, an owner is not liable for a dog bite if they have a sign prominently displayed on their property that warns of a “Bad Dog” on the premises. According to Florida law, a “bad dog,” or dangerous dog, is one that meets the following criteria:

  • The dog has previously bitten, attacked, or severely injured another human being;
  • The dog has aggressively approached a victim without any provocation; or
  • The dog has previously killed or severely injured a domestic animal, including another dog, a cat, chickens, goat, guinea pig, or other type of common pet.

If the owner has a prominently displayed sign on his or her property warning visitors of a “bad dog,” the owner may be free from liability should their dog bite or attack an individual on their property.

However, there is one instance in which a dog owner is always liable for a dog bite, and that is if their dog were to bite a child. In Florida, if a dog were to bite a child aged six years or younger, the owners are automatically 100 percent liable, no matter what the child may or may not have done to provoke the dog.

Consult an Orlando Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bite injuries can have lasting consequences on an individual’s life, ranging from missed work to lasting nerve and tissue damage. Because of this, our Orlando dog bite lawyers do not take dog bite cases lightly. At The Pendas Law Firm, our legal experts work with the victims of dog bites to build a strong case in their defense to ensure a positive outcome and the compensation they need to recover. To consult with an Orlando dog bite lawyer today, contact our personal injury law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS or online.  We also serve clients in the Miami, Tampa, Fort Myer, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Jacksonville areas.

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