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.