For millions of Americans, dogs are a wonderful addition to the family. Protection, companionship, and love are just some the most endearing qualities our four-legged friends afford to individuals. Sadly, even the most seemingly well-behaved dogs have the potential to cause serious injuries to those they come in contact with.
Dogs of any stature may inflict terrible injuries on children, adults, and the elderly. Injuries sustained from dog bites may range from otherwise benign flesh wounds to serious maulings requiring extensive reconstructive surgery. While the owners of dogs responsible for these attacks may claim various defenses, often blaming the victim, Florida law nonetheless holds these owners responsible for the attacks committed by their animals and allows victims to seek damages.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Florida dog bite laws follow a policy of strict liability. What this means is that under most circumstances, a dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries or attacks perpetrated by his or her animal. Typical personal injury lawsuits require the injury victim filing the lawsuit to demonstrate the defendant acted in a negligent or otherwise careless manner, resulting in injury.
These laws extend to victims hurt by dogs in public places or otherwise invited onto private property. Victims hurt in dog attacks should immediately report the incident to authorities, including the police and local animal control, after which the victim should seek medical attention.
Defenses to Dog Bite Lawsuits in Florida
Even though Florida dog bite statutes hold dog owners expressly liable for their dog’s actions, there still exist some legal grey areas defendants may attempt to exploit in order to avoid being held responsible. Orlando dog bite attorneys can help explain some of these complex legal issues and guide dog bite victims through the process of filing lawsuits against liable parties.
Dog bite victims hurt in attacks while trespassing or otherwise not legally invited on someone else’s property may not have actionable claims. Similarly, coming in contact with dogs kept in enclosures marked with signs stating the presence of a dangerous or otherwise precarious animal may prevent the victim from having an actionable claims.
Florida tort laws also follow a policy of comparative negligence, meaning the extent to which a victim is responsible for his or her injury may reduce any award granted by the courts. Individuals hurt by dogs in the course of reckless or provocative activities may be subject to Florida’s comparative negligence statute. These laws only apply to individuals over the age of six years old unless the child’s parents’ lack of vigilance in supervising the child played a part in the dog attack.
Orlando Dog Attack Lawyers
If you or a family member was hurt in a dog attack, you should strongly consider seeking legal representation from an Orlando dog bite attorney. Despite Florida’s strict liability laws concerning dog bites, resulting lawsuits are not always cut and dry. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits rarely accept responsibility for their careless or reckless actions so it may be necessary to hire an attorney to help prosecute your claim.
Dog bite injury victims in Florida may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Contact an Orlando personal injury attorney about your case to hold careless dog owners responsible for your injury.