According to a study by the Insurance Information Institute, nationally the average cost per dog bite claim has risen 162% from 2003 to 2020 with the average cost per dog injury claim in Florida being around $45,000.
Dogs can make the best companions, but can also cause a lot of damage if they are triggered and bite another individual or animal. A dog bite can not only cause damage but can also spread disease.
Every state is different when it comes to how they approach dog bite claims. Florida has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites. Make sure you know your rights whether you are the victim or if you believe your dog was provoked by the individual that was bitten.
Florida Dog Owner Liability
Under Florida law, the owner is liable for any damages done by their dog to another person, domestic animal, or livestock. It is important to know that Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites because as an owner you may own a very trained and well-behaved dog, but may have no warnings or indications that your dog was going to attack another individual or animal.
Florida’s Dog Bite Statute
According to the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at LaBovick Law Group, it is “crucial to consider the statute of limitations when pursuing a personal injury claim” so that an injury victim doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to recover fair financial compensation.
A dog bite injury claim falls under a personal injury lawsuit. In the state of Florida, personal injury lawsuits give you four years to get this kind of case started. With the four years starting the day of the attack.
“Bad Dog” Exception to Statutory Liability in Florida
If a dog bite occurs on the owner’s property with a noticeable and readable sign reading “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog”, then there is no liability under the statute. If the signs are posted and readable, but the individual that is bitten is under the age of 6 then the sign exception does not apply. According to the Florida dog bite statute, section 767.04, this exception is due to the fact that the victim would be too young to be able to read the sign.
Defenses to a Florida Dog Bite Claim
There are really only two defenses to a dog bite claim in Florida: comparative negligence and trespassing. Comparative negligence is when both parties are partially at fault. This can occur in the case of a dog bite attack because the victim was provoking the dog or if the animal was protecting someone in the vicinity from what the animal perceived as a threat. In the defense of trespassing this could also have to do with the animal protecting someone in the vicinity from a perceived threat if they trespassing onto the property, or as stated above it could also have to do with having proper warning signs up when the bite occurs on your property.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
With dog bite claims falling under personal injury lawsuits it is essential to reach out to a Florida personal injury attorney if you were the victim of a dog bite attack, or if you are the owner of the dog and believe that the individual that was bitten was trespassing or acted with comparative negligence.