Dog injuries can be caused by bites, jumping or running in front of a car. If you’ve been injured by another person’s dog – whether you were bitten while visiting a friend, or walking down the road and charged by a dog, knocked down by a dog, or whether a dog runs in front of your car and causes a crash – you may be entitled to monetary compensation as damages for the pain and suffering you have endured.
In Florida, a person is strictly liable if his dog injures another person. This means if the dog bites another, the owner is liable. Strict liability is a lot like speeding: if you’re over the limit, you’re guilty. There are a few exceptions but generally they do not apply to most scenarios where a person gets bit by a dog.
Dog bites and the law
There is a Florida Statute directly controlling the issue of damage caused by dog bites, which is Section 767.04 (West 2017), Dog Owner’s Liability for damages to bitten persons. It reads, as follows:
The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog.” The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
If a dog owner displays a sign on his property “bad dog”, he may not be liable unless the victim is under the age of 6 years old.
Similarly, a dog owner may not be liable if the victim is contributorily negligent, meaning the victim’s actions failed to act reasonably when interacting with the dog and contributed to the dog’s actions.
If you have been bit by a dog and want to consult with an attorney, contact the compassionate attorneys at the Coleman Law Group, Where Passion Meets Power.