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Suing for Dog Bite Injuries in Florida


A six-year-old Jacksonville girl died after being mauled by a dog in her home. The dog, a pit bull terrier, doesn’t belong to her family, but they were pet-sitting it. Under Florida law, the dog will be euthanized after a 10-day quarantine unless the owner files an appeal. In that case the dog will be held while the appeal is pending.

Dog Bite Injuries

Even when not fatal, dog bites are often serious injuries. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost one in five dog bite victims need medical attention. Children are more likely to be bitten and to sustain more serious injuries. Among adults, men are more likely to be bitten than women.

Some victims are bitten when their own dog is threatened. For example, a Green Cove Springs teen says her ear was partially bitten off while she protected her dog from a neighbor’s dog. The neighbor’s dog ran at them while they were on a walk around the neighborhood. The teen lifted her dog in the air, and the neighbor’s dog bit her. She allegedly needs reconstructive surgery, which will be expensive.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites

The Jacksonville girl’s family and the Glen Cove Springs teen both have a right to seek compensation for their dog bite injuries. In fact, Florida dog owners are strictly liable when it comes to dog bites. This means dog owners are automatically responsible when their dog bites someone, whether it’s a first offense or out of the dog’s character, or any other defense you can imagine.

But Florida’s comparative fault rules still apply. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means defendants only pay damages according to their percentage of fault. If the victim was partly responsible, then damages will be reduced accordingly. In a dog bite case, victims who provoked the dog or otherwise acted negligently will not be fully compensated.

“Bad Dog” Law

There is an exception to the strict liability law. If there is a sign prominently displayed on the owner’s property warning about a “bad dog,” then the owner is not liable for any resulting dog bites. A dog is considered “bad” or “dangerous” if it has:

  • Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or severely injured someone on public or private property
  • Severely injured or killed a domestic animal multiple times (while off the owner’s property, or
  • Chased or approached someone in a menacing way (when unprovoked).

Take bad dog warnings seriously. This strict liability exception applies whether you’re a trespasser or invited onto the property. 

Contact Us Today

Contact a Jacksonville personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are injured or a loved one is killed by a dog. We will help you seek the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and funeral costs.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.





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