Dog Bite Law in Florida

If you are the victim of a dog bite, representation — regardless of your part in the incident — is always a logical decision. However, another choice decision is developing a surface understanding of dog bite liability statutes in Florida.

2014 Florida Statues: 767.04 – Dog Owner’s Liability for Damages to Persons Bitten

A simplification of the Florida state statue regarding a dog that bites someone while at large — meaning the dog is not on the owner’s property at the time of the incident — contains several elements. In essence, if the dog is at large when it bites someone, the owner of the dog is liable. The dog’s history is irrelevant, meaning it does not matter if the dog has never bitten anyone before nor shown signs of aggressive behavior toward humans.

However, that is not to say that the person who was bitten is not responsible for their behavior in any way, shape or form. If the person bitten was behaving in a negligent manner when bitten, that fact can dramatically reduce the amount of liability the dog’s owner must take responsibility for. Examples of negligent behavior include things like abusing the dog, intimidating it, harassing the dog or playing with the dog in a manner that incites an accidental biting.

The issue of liability is further confused if a dog bites a person while it is — as well as the person bitten — on the dog owner’s property. There are a number of variables that determine liability, including: the age of the person bitten, what warning signs the dog exhibits, and whether or not the owner of the dog posts signs on the perimeter of their property warning others that the dog may be aggressive.

Hiring a Dog Bite Attorney

While a dog bite may seem cut-and-dried, each party is responsible for presenting all the facts. That attorney’s doing so can confuse a seemingly simple case. As such, it is almost always a wise idea to seek representation.

How Does Florida’s Personal Injury Protection Law Affect You?

Last year, changes to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law took effect, and accident victims and their accident attorneys have had to accept fewer benefits and reduced payouts for claims. They also have less time to seek medical treatment and fewer options for who can provide treatment. Now more than ever, accident victims need the protection of a personal injury attorney to make sure they get compensated for their injuries.

Narrow Treatment Window

Under the new law, accident victims must seek medical treatment within 14 days from the accident. This means that there is a very short window to see a doctor. It is important that anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident seek comprehensive medical treatment right away — even if there are no immediate apparent injuries — just to be sure that the window doesn’t close before it’s too late.

Limited Physicians

In the past, a wide variety of medical professionals could provide treatment for accident victims. The new PIP laws exclude treatment from massage therapists and acupuncturists and in some cases limits payment for chiropractic visits to $2,500.

According to the new law, patients must see a medical doctor, a doctor of osteopathy, dentist, physician assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner to determine that injuries need immediate attention, and one of these providers must provide a referral to a chiropractor in order for those visits to be covered. This means that any patients who prefer a more holistic approach to their treatment will be forced to rely on their own medical insurance or pay out of their own pockets.

Don’t Face the Laws Alone

If you’ve been injured in an accident, getting well should be your first priority, not dealing with insurance companies and complicated regulations. Enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney will make sure you receive the benefits that you’re entitled to so you can get back on your feet.

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