Any dog has a propensity to bite if threatened, provoked, overly excited, or protecting puppies or family members. Under Florida’s dog bite law, the dog’s owner is liable for damages if it bites someone.
If a dog bites you, you should immediately seek medical care. After doing so, you should promptly hire a Holiday dog bite lawyer for help. A capable personal injury attorney can evaluate what happened and recommend a course of action that best fits with the circumstances of the bite incident.
Strict Liability Doctrine
The bitten person may sue under Florida’s strict liability doctrine, which places liability for the injury upon the dog’s owner or controller, even if the dog’s owner or its controller had not been careless in handling or supervising the dog.
It does not matter if the dog was on a leash when the bite occurred or if the dog was on its own property, on public property, or in a public building at the time –liability still exists. Florida law also imposes liability on the dog’s owner or controller if the person bitten was six years old or younger just because of the young age.
The Latin word scienter means knowingly, and in the law applying to dog bites, it means that the dog had previously bitten someone or tried to do so and the dog’s owner or controller knew that. Scienter is also called the one bite rule. The injured person must prove both of those elements to achieve damages under strict liability, and a Holiday dog bite lawyer can assist the plaintiff with this argument.
If a dog seriously harms someone, animal control authorities may declare the dog dangerous pending an investigation. The dog may be confiscated and impounded at the owner’s expense. If the dog is determined to be dangerous, it can be destroyed. The dog cannot be declared legally dangerous if the person bitten was abusive to the dog in some way.
Another method of achieving damages is if the owner or controller was negligent in managing the dog.
To prove negligence, the person bitten must prove that the dog’s owner or controller:
- Had a duty of care toward the person who is bitten to prevent the dog from biting
- The dog’s owner or controller acted in a way that violated duty of care
- Because of the violating act the dog bite happened
- Actual financial damages resulted
However, if the person was bitten had any fault in causing the dog to bite, the damages are reduced by the amount of fault assessed. If a person was antagonizing the dog, that might be assessed at 50 percent, and damages are reduced by 50 percent. A jury or the court makes that assessment based on evidence.
Dog Owner Defenses
The dog’s owner or controller is not liable under negligence doctrine if a warning about the dog’s propensity to bite was conspicuously placed, such as a sign including the phrase “bad dog.” The owner or controller also is not liable for a dog bite if the person bitten was trespassing on the property at the time.
Speaking with an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been attacked and bitten by a dog, then do not hesitate to contact a Holiday dog bite lawyer who can examine all the aspects of your case and advise you of your legal options going forward.