South Florida Dog Bite Attorneys with Decades of Experience in Personal Injury Law

As dog ownership rates increase in Florida, the number of irresponsible individuals purchasing pets also increases. Dogs require training, guidance, and obedience education. However, many lazy owners refuse to properly train their dogs and fail to take any remedial steps when the dog begins to show signs of aggression or violence. Most dog attacks occur unexpectedly when the owner is not watching. Common dog bite victims include joggers, bikers, children, postal workers, and neighbors. When a dog is vicious and untrained, it does not matter if it knows you or if you are not doing anything threatening. The dog can and will attack, and you need to be prepared if the dog begins to get aggressive.

While the best way to avoid a dog bite injury is to avoid a vicious dog, you should not have to restructure your entire life around avoiding the dog by refusing to do things that you love, such as running or biking. If a dog does attack you, do not fight back or try to tear yourself away. If the dog is in the process of biting you, the best approach is to go limp. Be passive. The dog will cease to perceive you as a threat and will abate. However, if you try to tear yourself away, the dog may latch on even harder, causing more severe injury.

Dog owners are responsible for their dogs. If you have been bitten by a dog, legal remedies exist under the Florida Dog Bite Law. Experienced dog bite lawyers at Kaiser Romanello have worked with countless dog attack victims on pursuing justice. We will help explain the law to you, review your case, investigate any claims, discuss your legal options, and zealously advocate for your rights. We offer free consultations to clients in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and all other South Florida areas. Call Kaiser Romanello at 855-200-1000 today to schedule a free appointment.

Florida Dog Bite Law

767.04 of the 2014 Florida Statutes outlines the liability of a dog owner when his or her dog attacks an individual. The Florida Dog Bite Law is what is known as a strict liability statute. Strict liability statutes impose liability on individuals regardless of knowledge or intent. According to the Florida Dog Bite Law, dog owners are responsible for dog bite injuries even if (1) the owner had no awareness of viciousness or (2) the dog did not have a history of viciousness.

If the victim is partially responsible for the injury, such as through provoking the dog, the dog owner’s liability will be reduced in proportion to the victim’s fault.

Who Qualifies as a Plaintiff?

Not everyone who has been bitten by a dog qualifies as a plaintiff for a dog bite lawsuit. Only individuals who are in public places or lawfully on private property can sue for dog bite injuries. Public places include the following situations:

  • The dog is at a park.
  • The owner is walking the dog through the neighborhood.
  • The dog has gotten loose and is wandering the community.
  • The dog is tied up outside of a store.

The more confusing concept is when a person is “lawfully” on private property. Lawful entry occurs when:

  • The victim was invited onto the property, such as a house guest.
  • The victim was given authority to be on the land due to state, federal or postal laws, such as to deliver mail or packages.

Often times, owners will display signs that read “Beware – Vicious Dogs” in order to deter trespassers. Trespassers are not lawfully permitted to be on the owner’s private property. If a burglar sneaks into the yard, intending to break into the house, the dog owner is not liable for any ensuing dog attack. In addition, if the owner has a sign that clearly reads “Bad Dog,” the owner will only be liable for injury if: (1) the victim was under 6 years old or (2) the owner had acted negligently.

Dog Owner Negligence

Because the Florida Dog Bite Law is a strict liability statute, it does not matter what the owner is doing at the time of the accident, how the owner cared for the dog or how the owner restrained the dog. It only matters whether the dog has bitten someone either on public property or with lawful authority to be on private property.

However, when the dog owner is negligent, victims who are generally not eligible to sue may then sue. Negligence can include a violation of animal control ordinances, as well as failure to properly restrain dogs. For example, a dog owner fails to vaccinate the dog, and the dog gets rabies. The dog owner posts a “Bad Dog” sign, but a traveling salesman decides to enter the yard to ring the doorbell. If the rabid dog attacks the salesman, the owner will still be liable under the Florida Dog Bite Law because animal control ordinances mandate rabies vaccinations.

Seek Experienced Dog Bite Injury Guidance from Kaiser Romanello

If you have suffered from a dog bite injury but are unsure of how to proceed, contact Kaiser Romanello for a free case evaluation. No case is too small. We serve South Florida clients in a variety of different personal injury and civil torts cases. Call Kaiser Romanello at 855-200-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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