Melbourne Dog Bite Lawyer
A dog bite is often more serious than people realize. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about half of all dog bite injuries lead to infections. And if a dog is unvaccinated they may carry and transfer serious illnesses such as rabies. And even setting aside the potential physical injuries, a dog bite often leaves the victim traumatized and struggling to cope with their ongoing emotional harm.
Under Florida law a dog owner can be held legally responsible for injuries caused by their animals. Of course, these owners are often not eager to pay up. That is why it is critical to work with a qualified Melbourne dog bite lawyer who can represent you in seeking full and fair compensation for your injuries. At the Pendas Law Firm, our personal injury team understands the law in this area and we will make every effort to ensure you obtain justice.
Florida’s “Strict Liability” Rule for Dog Bites
The laws governing dog bite injuries vary from state to state. Some jurisdictions have what is known as the “one-bite” rule, which basically means a dog owner is not liable for a bite injury unless there is proof the same animal had a prior history of biting. Florida does not have such a rule. Instead, we follow a “strict liability” rule.
This means that under Florida law, if a dog bites a person in a public place, or in a private place where the person has a lawful right to be, the animal’s owner is liable for any injuries regardless of any prior tendencies or acts on the part of the animal. In simple terms, a dog owner cannot avoid liability by claiming they had no idea that their animal was capable of biting someone.
That said, a dog owner may raise a number of other defenses under Florida law. For example, the owner may argue the bite victim somehow provoked the dog or that the victim was trespassing at the time of the attack. There are also certain exceptions to the strict liability rule for dogs used for law enforcement, hunting, or providing services to disabled persons.
Florida also follows a “comparative negligence” rule in all personal injury cases, which include dog bites. Under this rule, a judge or jury must determine the relative fault of all parties involved in an accident, including the victim. The court must then reduce any award of damages to account for the victim’s comparative fault. So if you have been bitten by a dog, the owner can try and pin some (or all) of the blame on you, so you must be prepared to defend yourself in court even as you seek to hold the owner liable.
Contact The Pendas Law Firm Today
Due to the high risk of infection, it is always a good idea to seek immediate medical treatment following a dog bite. Your next step should be to contact a skilled Melbourne dog bite lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights. Contact the Pendas Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation.