Naples Dog Bite Lawyer
If asked to name the most common causes of injuries in the United States, your first answer would probably not be a dog bite. Yet dog bites are among the most commonly reported injuries in Florida emergency rooms. According to some estimates, about 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year, and of that group about 800,000 require some degree of medical treatment.
Even a “minor” dog bite injury can leave victims–especially young children–with emotional trauma that can last for years. And in many cases, the dog’s owner can and should be held legally accountable. The Naples dog bite lawyer at the Pendas Law Firm can provide skilled legal representation if you, or someone in your family, has been harmed by someone else’s dog.
Florida Does Not Follow the “One Bite” Rule
One of the common misconceptions that surrounds dog bite cases is the notion that an owner can only be held responsible if their animal had a prior history of biting or attacking people. This is colloquially known as the “one bite” rule. And while there are a number of states that follow this rule, Florida is not one of them.
To the contrary, Florida law is quite explicit that the owner of a dog “shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person” or even to another domestic animal. The dog bite victim does not have to prove the animal had any prior history of biting or attacking. Nor do they have to show that the owner was negligent or had any prior knowledge of their animal’s propensity to bite people.
That said, winning a dog bite case is often more complicated than victims realize at first. Dog owners can try to avoid liability by shifting blame to the victim. They can argue that the victim “provoked” the dog. The defense can also argue that the victim was trespassing or otherwise engaging in criminal activity on private property when the attack occurred. For example, if someone enters private property without authorization, attempts to commit a robbery, and is bitten by the property owner’s dog, the owner is not legally responsible for the robber’s injuries.
At the same time, Florida also follows a comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases. So if the owner argues that the dog was provoked, the victim can present evidence to refute that claim. A jury may choose to attribute some fault to the victim but still allow them to walk away with some compensation from the dog owner.
Contact The Pendas Law Firm Today
If you or someone in your family has been bitten by a dog, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. You should also not hesitate to speak with a qualified Naples dog bite lawyer about seeking compensation from the animal’s owner. Contact the Pendas Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our personal injury team.