What You Should Know About Dog Bites

Dog is known to be “man's best friend” and is one of the most lovable pets you can have. However, what happens when your “best friend” starts biting or attacking others? Though dog bites are a rare occurrence, it does happen and may constitute a personal injury case depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Who Is Liable?

Liability has to do with who is responsible for something or someone. The person who holds liability is the one that is suppose to make sure this someone or something is safe for others to be around or that others are trained in how to be safe around it. In a dog bite case, often the liability belongs to the dog's owner who is both responsible for their care and for how they treat others. If the dog bites someone than it was the owner who should have better trained the dog so that such a reaction would not have occurred.

What Are Florida's Dog Bite Laws?

Florida is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bite injuries. This means that a Florida dog owner may be held liable if their dog bites someone, even if they had no warning or prior knowledge that the dog might bite. For example, say you owned your dog for about 5 years now and it had never bit anyone before now. Even though this had never happened before and you were unaware that your dog was capable of biting someone else, you are still liable for the dog bite. Though there are a few exceptions to this, Florida is pretty strict with its liability laws and will often side with the dog bite victim.

What Are The Deadlines To File A Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Though there is a deadline, it is relatively hard to miss. As long as you file your lawsuit within four years of the date of a dog bite, you should be fine. However, if you do end up missing the deadline, your case will be immediately dismissed.

Despite the fact that you do have plenty of time to file a claim, it is better for you to do it sooner rather than later. Claims made a year or so after the fact make it seem as though the injury wasn't that serious or that you have alternative reasons for filing.

Are There Defenses Against A Dog Bite Claim?

There are two major defenses that can be used against a dog bite claim: trespassing and comparative negligence. By Florida law, the injured person must be “lawfully” in the place where the bite occurred. This means that if you were trespassing on private property without permission, the dog owner is not responsible for your injuries because your injuries were the result of breaking the law.

The second defense is only a partial one, but is an important one to note. If the dog bite victim's own negligence is partly responsible for the bite, then the owner is only partially responsible for the injury. For example, if the victim had accidentally stepped on the dog's tail which provoked the bite, then the victim is partly liable for provoking the injury.

However, if it was a child that was injured or killed during an animal attack, these defenses may no longer work and will have serious legal ramifications.

What Can You Expect Afterwards?

Typically in animal attack cases, the coverage of lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional distress are all factors that will be weighed to judge the nature of the damages. It also depends on the circumstances of the attack. Like mentioned before, if you in some way provoked the attack you may receive less or no compensation for your injuries. Still if the dog could be a danger to others or acted aggressively due to mistreatment, it is important that you seek legal action in order to protect the dog or others.

If you live in or near St. Peterburg, Florida and are a victim of a dog bite, then you should contact the St. Pete Lawyer. Our firm has plenty of experience dealing with dog bite and other liability claims and will get you the compensation you need to recover. Contact us today for a free case review!.