Dog bites are a common source of injury; approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015, costing more than $570 million. (Dog Bite Liability by Insurance Information Institute, 2016)
With approximately 1,000 people requiring emergency medical care for dog bite injuries each day, the fact is that preventable dog bites have a fundamental cause: owner negligence.
Preventable dog bites and animal attacks can be caused by negligent owners who recklessly act, or fail to act in the following ways:
- Responsibly breed and own animals
- Warn others about their dog’s aggressiveness
- Fence-off property
- Provide proper restraints
- Protect children from attack
- Inoculate for rabies
- Neuter/spay their dogs
- Exercise and discipline their pets
Under Florida statutes, a dog owner is liable for damages to all “persons bitten.” The law covers any dog that bites any person in a public or private place, including that owner’s property. Even if the victim is negligent in provoking the attack, Florida courts will simply apportion a percentage of fault to the victim, and subtract it from the total liability of the owner. This means dog bite victims may still recover compensation, even if they were partially at fault for the attack.
Under Florida’s premises liability law, property owners must warn invitees and other guests of vicious pets because they constitute a dangerous condition on the property. Otherwise, they are liable for damages to any person who is “lawfully” on private property, either in the performance of a legal duty or upon the express or implied invitation of the owner.
We have assisted victims of unprovoked attacks by vicious dogs in receiving compensation for their physical wounds, their scars, and the emotional trauma caused by the attack. Please contact us for a free consultation.