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Dog Bites & Repercussions in Florida

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million dog bite incidents occur in the United States each year, and almost one out of five of these bites become infected. In spite of being man’s best friend and important parts of our families and lives, dogs do sometimes bite people to the point of injuring them—including children—and these bites can even cause death, in some circumstances.

If a dog bite causes serious injury or death, there are avenues to seek compensation in order to help with medical bills and any pain and suffering. Not only can the dog’s owner be held responsible, but, depending upon where the incident occurred, damages may also be covered by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

The Law in Florida

According to state law, the owner of any dog that bites someone in a public place (or in a private place, as long as the person was legally there) is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of whether the dog has had previous incidents and/or whether the dog’s owner knew of any prior viciousness. This is known as a “strict liability” law.

However, in order to file a claim related to a dog bite, like other personal injury lawsuits, a statute of limitations applies, requiring that you file your claim within four years of being bit. In addition—regardless of whether your or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, or if your dog has bitten someone else, it is important to be aware of what the defenses are in dog bite claims. For example, any negligence on the part of the person bitten—negligence which is the proximate cause of the biting incident—reduces the liability of the dog owner by that percentage of negligence contributed by the person bitten. In addition, as you can see from the way the statute is worded, only if you are legally on someone’s property are you covered under the law in terms of liability; i.e. if you are trespassing, you aren’t on that property “lawfully.”

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyers

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Lee Friedland brings years of experience to the representation of clients in Fort Lauderdale when someone has been injured by negligence or is in need of criminal defense. Even if you are only dealing with insurance companies, you want to make sure you have the very best lawyer negotiating for you.

Whether you are hoping to negotiate a settlement or take your case to court, our diverse and comprehensive personal injury practice can help. You can count on our lawyers to provide the personal attention, care, experience, and knowledge to your Florida personal injury matter. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Resources:

cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0767/Sections/0767.04.html

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