Who is liable For a Dog Bite in Florida? Determining Responsibility

In Florida, determining liability for a dog bite involves several factors and considerations. Dog bite cases in the state are typically governed by both statutory and common law principles. To understand who may be liable for a dog bite in Florida, let’s examine the key factors.

Dog Owner’s Liability

Florida has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites. According to Florida Statutes Section 767.04, a dog owner is generally liable for injuries caused by their dog biting someone, regardless of the dog’s history of aggression or prior incidents. This statute applies whether the bite occurs on public or private property, including the owner’s property.

Negligence Claim

In addition to strict liability, a victim may also pursue a claim against the dog owner based on negligence. This means proving that the dog owner was negligent in controlling or restraining their pet, and this negligence led to the bite. Negligence claims may arise from scenarios like an owner failing to leash their dog in a public place or not properly securing their dog in a fenced yard.

Property Owner or Landlord Liability

In some cases, if a dog bite occurs on a property that is not owned by the dog’s owner (e.g., a rental property), the property owner or landlord may also be held liable if they knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities. This could involve previous incidents or knowledge that the dog posed a threat.

Third-Party Liability

Occasionally, a person other than the dog owner, such as a dog sitter or handler, may be held liable for a dog bite if their actions or negligence contributed to the bite.

Types of Evidence a Florida Dog Bite Injury Attorney will Collect to Prove Negligence

When pursuing a dog bite injury case in Florida and aiming to establish negligence on the part of the dog owner or another responsible party, a skilled attorney will gather various types of evidence to build a strong case

  • Incident Reports: Your attorney will request any incident reports related to the dog bite. These reports may have been filed with animal control, the police, or property management, and they can provide important details about the incident, including the date, time, location, and circumstances.
  • Police Reports: If law enforcement responded to the incident, your attorney will obtain police reports, which can provide additional details about the circumstances surrounding the dog bite.
  • Medical Records: Comprehensive medical records are crucial. Your attorney will collect records detailing your injuries, treatments, surgeries, and any ongoing medical care. These records help establish the severity and extent of your injuries.
  • Photographs and Videos: Visual evidence is compelling. Your attorney will obtain photographs or videos of your injuries, the dog, and the scene of the incident. These visuals can help demonstrate the severity of the attack and the conditions at the time.
  • Witness Statements: Statements from witnesses who saw the dog bite incident or can testify to the dog’s prior aggressive behavior can be invaluable. Your attorney will gather witness statements to corroborate your account and establish negligence.
  • Dog Owner’s History: Your attorney will investigate the dog owner’s history, looking for any prior incidents involving the dog. If the dog has a history of aggression or previous bites, it can be a strong indicator of negligence on the part of the owner.
  • Leash and Restraint Records: If applicable, your attorney will request records or statements regarding the dog’s restraint, such as leash or confinement records. This can help establish whether the owner followed safety protocols.
  • Animal Control Records: Your attorney may obtain records from animal control agencies, which may have information about previous incidents involving the dog and whether the dog was declared dangerous or potentially aggressive.
  • Property Maintenance Records: If the dog bite occurred on someone else’s property, your attorney may request maintenance records, which can show whether the property owner or landlord was aware of any unsafe conditions related to the dog.
  • Expert Testimony: Your attorney may consult with experts, such as animal behaviorists or medical professionals, who can provide insights into the dog’s behavior, the severity of your injuries, and the long-term consequences.
  • Veterinary Records: If available, the dog’s veterinary records may contain information about its behavior and any history of aggression or medical conditions that could have contributed to the attack.
  • Insurance Documentation: Your attorney will investigate the dog owner’s insurance coverage, including homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies, to determine the potential sources of compensation.

Choose an Experienced Florida Dog Bite Injury Lawyer to Maximize Your Compensation

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Florida, you should contact Robert W. Rust, Esq., an experienced dog bite injury attorney at Rust Injury Law in Miami, Florida. Attorney Robert will tirelessly fight to ensure you receive the largest possible compensation for your medical expenses, income loss, pain and suffering, and other related losses. Call us at 305-200-8856 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.