The boy was “severely injured,” according to responding officers, while his 35-year-old mother suffered a leg wound.
Based on witness reports, the boy was riding his bicycle in the driveway when the pit bull mix dog circled him. The boy fell of his bike and the dog attacked, biting him on his right leg, left arm and shoulder as the boy tried to fight him off. His mother rushed to his aid, and she too suffered bites on her right leg and left arm.
Reporters with the Sun Sentinel gleaned that the dog escaped its home, several houses down, using a door that had accidentally been left open.
The animal’s owner retrieved it from the scene of the attack, but officers with animal control seized the dog to place it in mandatory quarantine.
Witnesses later described the dog’s attack on the child as “vicious,” though animal control indicated he had no previous formal history of biting. He was vaccinated for rabies last summer. The owner was cited for failure to register the animal with Broward Animal Services.
Our Fort Lauderdale dog bite injury lawyers recognize these individuals likely have a case for seeking compensation from the dog’s owner for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other legal grounds.
It does not matter here that the dog didn’t have a prior history of biting people.
What F.S. 767.04 states is the owner of a dog that bites any person while the victim is either in a public place or lawfully on private property, is responsible for resulting damages.
The law does say if the victim in any way contributed to the attack through his or her own negligence – i.e., teasing the dog or otherwise provoking it – the percentage of liability will reduce the overall damages awarded.
That means if the victim is found to have played some role in provoking the attack, a jury might find him 40 percent negligent, and if the award of damages was, say, $50,000, he would only be awarded $30,000 of that (or 60 percent of the total) due to the contributory negligence factor.
Contributory negligence standards are relaxed significantly, however, when considering the actions taken by a child. In this case, it doesn’t appear based on the initial facts reported the child provoked the animal anyway.
Animal owners owe a duty to guests and to the public – especially to children – to train their dog appropriately and to keep it properly controlled at all times. Failure to do this resulting in injury is a form of negligence, and victims should be fully compensated.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Mother and son remain hospitalized after being bitten by dog, March 30, 2015, By Linda Trischitta, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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Hodson v. Taylor – Boating Injury Case Weighed, March 30, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer Blog