Dogs can be man’s best friend or their worst nightmare. Thousands of people are bitten by dogs every year, sometimes with serious consequences. Though a dog may just be acting out of instinct, fear, or due to abuse, the owners can be held responsible for their pet’s action, especially if the consequences are severe. Determining who is at fault will often require the help of a West Palm Beach dog bite attorney who has extensive experience in animal attack cases. Our firm has been voted “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Tier 1. This means we have achieved the highest tier of recognition of all personal injury firms that represent plaintiffs in the West Palm Beach area.
About Dog Owner Negligence in Florida
Essentially, every state requires dog owners to owe a certain legal duty of care to others in certain situations. If failure to provide that care results in another’s injury, the dog owner may be held liable. For example, if a dog owner knows his pet is high-strung (but doesn’t keep him in a fenced area) and the dog knocks a UPS man to the ground, the dog owner did not take proper precautions to prevent injury and may be held liable for the man’s injuries.
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Dog owners should take the following steps to protect from accidents in Florida:
- Put up warning signs about the presence of the dog
- Make sure fencing is tall and secure enough to keep dog contained
- Keep any dog on a leash while out in public
Florida Dog Bites Law
Florida imposes “strict liability” regarding dog bites. This means that the dog’s owner is liable for injuries their dog causes, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog was dangerous. Exceptions to strict liability laws are made if a dog bites the following:
- A trespasser
- A person who acts aggressively toward the dog
It also will not matter whether the dog owner did everything he could to restrain the dog or protect the public from the dog, such as put up warning signs. If a person harasses or teases your dog and it results in them being bitten, then the dog bite statute won’t apply because they are responsible for their own injury.
If you display signs that read “Bad or Dangerous Dog” in easily visible areas of your property, then you will only be liable for a dog bite if your negligence resulted in the loss of control of your dog. This exception does not apply if your dog bites a child under the age of six. If the dog had a history of injury, some states may fine the owner double or triple damages, and in some cases punitive damages to deter further misconduct. Most states have a clear rule concerning pet owner liability. Talk to an experienced attorney to learn more about the rules your state follows in pursuing dog bite claims.
Get Help with a Dog Bite Case in Florida
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Littky-Rubin & Whitman, we are dedicated to helping clients throughout Florida resolve their dog bite injury cases. Our team of seasoned lawyers has more than 200 years of combined legal experience, and we are prepared to get to work for you today. Stop by our law firm today to find out how we can use our extensive resources to protect your interests.
For more information, reach out to our skilled West Palm Beach dog bite attorneys at 561-899-2100 today!
When Is a Person Lawfully on Your Property?
If someone comes to your property to perform a duty, like a plumber who is there to fix your sink, then they are lawfully on your premises. The same goes for people who visit your property with your implied consent – like postal workers. In 2018 alone, 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs (lower than the year before). Florida ranks in the top 10 states for dog attacks.