Dog Bite Lawyer & Premises Liability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 880,000 people need medical attention for dog bite injuries each year. A vicious dog attack can leave both physical and emotional scars on a person no matter their age or gender. Often, children who were attacked by a dog grow up with a fear of all dogs, and even adults who have been bitten by a dog in Florida can be wary of future canine encounters. These traumatic experiences are often the result of pet owner negligence, and victims of dog bite attacks in Florida have the right to seek compensation for their pain and suffering.

Florida Dog Bite Law

Under Florida law, dog bite attacks are classified as strict liability, and victims of an attack may have several legal grounds in order to recover damages. Owners of course will try to protect their pet from any involvement, and even insurance companies can try to deny coverage for a dog bite attack. If a dog owner is hiding his or her pet, or if an insurance company is avoiding your claim, it is not too late to seek representation and get help. A dog bite lawyer at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A., is dedicated to fighting for the rights of dog attack victims.

Dog Bite Attacks in Florida

It’s important to understand that the State of Florida has a statute of limitations in which a dog attack victim can file a lawsuit after the attack has occurred. Victims have to file a lawsuit within this time, but victims who are severely injured may spend lengthy stays in a hospital, require multiple surgeries and even require rehabilitative services for injuries. Some dog bite victims undergo therapy for the traumatic experience, especially if the attack has limited their ability to function normally. It is imperative that through this tough ordeal you consult with a qualified dog attack attorney. At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, our Gainesville attorneys are experienced in Florida personal injury laws, and we can provide counsel on the available courses of legal action each victim may pursue.

In Florida, dog owners are liable for a victim’s injuries if the dog bites another party and if that party is on public property or is lawfully on private property. The dog owner can be held responsible for the victim’s injuries if they were negligent or did not use reasonable care. Often the lack of following leash laws leads to dogs attacking and biting victims, and in this situation, the owner would be liable for failing to properly restrain the animal.

When it comes to other portions of liability laws in Florida, victims are often required to prove that the party had knowledge of a pre-existing condition or hazard. But for dog bite attacks, an owner can be held liable even if they had no reason to expect a dog to behave aggressively.

Dog Attack Defenses

Dog owners have two lines of defense to a dog bite attack claim.

  1. Trespassing: Under Florida law, dog bite victims must be on public property or they must be lawfully on the property where the attack occurred. Trespassers, or those who do not have permission to be on the property, are not entitled to receive compensation or collect damages.

  2. Comparative Negligence: If a dog owner can show that the dog bite attack took place due to the victim’s own negligence, and that the victim is at least partly the cause of the attack, then the amount of damages the owner would pay can be reduced.

  3. "One Bite" Rule: An owner could be held liable even if it's the first time his or her dog has attacked someone. But in Florida, a "one bite" rule exists that can bar a victim from receiving compensation in an instance where the victim was aware of the animal's previous attacks or aggressive behavior.

Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies can cover a dog attack, so dog owners should consult their insurance companies to have their dog listed under their policy. This can be beneficial for the owner in the case of an attack, but many companies in Florida do have restrictions. The most common restrictions include dogs that have been known to bite in the past and certain breeds that are deemed “aggressive.”

Contact a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer Who Can Help

There are countless reasons why a dog would bite a person, and although the cause may not be directly the owner’s fault, the owner can still be held liable in Gainesville. The dog could be instinctively aggressive, it could be protecting its pups, it could be trying to take food from the victim, or it could be responding to the victim stepping on its tail. The reasons why dog bite attacks occur in Florida can go on and on. But many of these reasons do not rule out a dog attack lawsuit.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Florida, then contact a personal injury lawyer at our Gainesville law firm so that we may help you recover damages. Don’t suffer a financial burden of mounting hospital bills and lost wages due to the aggressive act of an animal. Let a premises liability lawyer at Warner, Sechrest & Butts fight for your rights and help you overcome the distressing experience of a dog bite attack.