Dog bite injuries in Florida are handled under a legal theory known as “strict liability.” What this means is, according to F.S.767.04, a dog owner may be liable if his or her dog bites someone – even if that dog had no history of any vicious behavior and even if owner had no prior warning or knowledge the dog might bite. The injured person does not have to prove the owner’s failure to use reasonable care played any sort of role in causing the bite. Rather, they must show the defendant owned/ controlled the dog, the dog bit the victim, that bite caused injury to victim.
There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule. Those include:
- The person who was bitten was not lawfully in the place where the bite occurred. (In other words, he/she was trespassing.)
- Comparative negligence. This asserts the dog bite victim’s own negligence was partially to blame for causing the bite. This generally doesn’t apply to children under the age of 6.