Dog Bite Liability in South Florida Personal Injury Cases

In the state of Florida, state statute F.S. 767.04 is the controlling law on personal injury cases involving a dog or other animal bite.   Pursuant to this statute, the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused by that animal if the bite occurs in a public place or to a person who is lawfully in a private place. This means someone who is not trespassing, so that the owner of a dog would not generally be held liable to a burglar who is bitten by the animal while in someone’s home illegally.

Broward Dog Bite Injury Florida dog bite law differs from other states in that it does not matter if the dog has a history of being vicious or if the owner of the dog has knowledge of any prior incidents of viciousness.  The reason this is important, and included in the statute, is because at common law, it was a defense if the owner did not have reason to believe to the dog was likely to bite another person.As our Broward dog bite injury lawyers can explain, at common law, as taught to every law student in America, every dog gets one free bite. This means that if a dog owner had no reason to know their dog was dangerous, they would not be dangerous; however, if it happened again, they would be liable.  The Florida state statue listed above specifically did away with common law defense.

In a recent article from ABC, we see an example of serious dog bite injury.  In this case, a man was attacked by a dog in Temple Terrace, Florida and is now searching for the dog’s owner.  The victim in this accident is a college student who was attacked by a dog at a local dog park.

He was playing with his puppy and throwing a ball to it when he says another dog attacked him without warning. It jumped at him and ripped his shorts or shirt as it bit him and clawed him on various parts of his body.  He was left with tattered clothing and covered in mud and his own blood. The owner of the dog asked for his number and allegedly said she would contact him, but he he never heard from her again.  He went to the hospital and was treated but is left with substantial medical bills and in serious pain and is looking for the owner of the dog, so he can obtain the financial compensation to which he claims he is lawfully entitled.

He was in a public place during the accident, as noted in the article, and, therefore, would fall within terms of the of Florida dog bite liability statue as discussed above. He is hoping that after his story is made public, the owner of the dog will contact him and make arrangements to compensate him for his personal injuries.  The local department of animal control is also looking for the dog owner, and this is one of four open cases they had where they were searching for a dog’s owner following a dog bite as of the time of this article.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Man attacked by dog in Temple Terrace Dog Park now looking for owner, May 12, 2017, By Lauren Rozla, ABC Action News
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