Since dogs are common domestic pets, there are lots of presumptions and biases people may have about dog bites. In reality, not all dog bites that cause injury come from breeds commonly considered dangerous, nor do dogs only bite if they believe they or their owner is being attacked. Some dogs are simply not well-trained, have an unaddressed habit of biting or were taught to be attack dogs without fully comprehending when it is appropriate to attack.
A dog bite attack can be a traumatic experience that can result in severe and long-lasting injuries. If a dog bit you or a loved one, seek immediate medical assistance first and then contact an experienced Wesley Chapel dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after that. Work with a capable personal injury attorney that could help you recover the damages that you deserve.
Establishing Liability for a Dog Bite
In Florida, someone can hold a dog’s owner responsible if they are bitten by that dog in a public place, or even on private property so long as the injured victim had a right to be there. Private property in the context of this definition does not exclude property belonging to the dog’s owner.
To establish liability, an injured person must prove that they had a right to be at the location where the bite occurred, and also that the dog in question is owned by the named party in the case. The owner does not have to be aware that the dog had a propensity to bite or have a dog that belongs to a dangerous breed in order to be held liable for a bite.
A dog’s owner is not responsible for the dog biting a trespasser because the trespasser has no right to be on the property. The owner can, however, be liable if the dog bites a postal worker, landscaper, or any other licensee with explicit or implicit permission to be on someone’s private property.
Comparative Negligence in Wesley Chapel Dog Bite Cases
There are other exceptions under which a dog owner may not be responsible for their pet biting someone. If the injured victim’s actions were the proximate cause of dog bite, the owner may not be liable for all the injuries that stem from the dog bite, since Florida follows a comparative negligence standard in dog bite cases. The damage award in a case when the injured victim has some fault in causing the bite is limited to the percentage of fault that is not attributed to the victim.
Under the comparative negligence standard, an injured victim could be 30 percent at fault for the incident that led to the bite if—for example—they provoked the dog in a public place. Provocation may not completely remove responsibility from the dog’s owner, but it could reduce the damage award considerably. Individuals should consult a Wesley Chapel dog bite lawyer if they want to know more about comparative negligence
Bad Dog Exception
Florida law provides an additional exception to limit a dog owner’s liability in dog bite cases. If a dog owner prominently displays a “Bad Dog” sign, they may not be held liable when the victim is bitten by a dog on its owner’s property. This exception is inapplicable only if the victim is under the age of six, or if the owner is negligent in either acting to provoke their dog to bite someone or failing to act to prevent that happening.
Value of a Wesley Chapel Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Wesley Chapel dog bite lawyer. Your attorney could examine all of the aspects of your case and advise you of your best legal options going forward. Call today to get started on your case.