Florida’s dog bite statute is found at Fla. Stat. § 767.04 and it provides a statutory remedy for any person who sustains an injury from a dog bite. This purpose is accomplished by making the owner of any dog strictly liable for such injuries. Specifically, in regards to a dog owner’s liability for damages to a person who is bitten, the law says “the owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.” To break it down, the statute specifically requires that the person to be held strictly liable must be the owner of the dog. In addition, the plaintiff must establish that when he was bitten, he was on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place. For instance, a person who sustains an injury from a dog bite that occurs on someone else’s property can be compensated under Florida’s dog bite statute. In the event that a dog owner failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that their property was safe, the dog owner can be held accountable. Florida is one of many states that impose strict liability on a dog owner. This is in sharp contrast to the common law in Florida. At common law, an injured victim was required to prove that the owner had knowledge of the dangerous propensities of their dog before liability could be imposed against the owner. The common law has been replaced with the statute and as a result, a dog owner cannot make the argument that they were unaware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies. There is some relief built into the statute for dog owners. If the dog owner puts up a sign that says “Bad Dog” on their residence, the owner will not be strictly liable unless the person is under the age of 6 or the damages are proximately caused by the owner’s act or omission. The second available defense is the comparative negligence of the person who was bitten.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Dog bites can occur for numerous reasons. If you sustained an injury from a dog bite, here are some helpful tips you should keep in mind in order to minimize the possibility of infection or further complication. The steps you should take after a dog bite depend on the circumstances surrounding the dog bite and the severity of the bite. After getting bitten by your own dog or a stranger’s dog, it is vital that you treat the wound immediately to prevent infection or any further complication. Some dog bites are not too serious, which means you may be able to administer first aid to yourself. If the dog did not puncture your actual skin, you likely have a superficial wound like a minor gash or scrape. Immediately after getting bit, you should carefully run the affected area under some clean water and soap. Next, apply some hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. Finally, top it off with some antibiotic cream and a band-aid to protect the wound from infection. For more serious puncture wounds, you should call 911 immediately as you don’t want to lose too much blood. In the meantime, you can apply some pressure to the wound. If the wound is gushing out or the wound is large, you are likely going to need stitches and should have a medical professional handle that for immediately. It is important to note that you should not use hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol on puncture wounds. For puncture wounds, it is best to seek medical assistance immediately so that a professional can determine the seriousness of the bite. If you need medical attention, try to ask someone to drive you to the hospital rather than driving yourself.
Speak with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today!
Dog bites can result in very serious injuries and it can cost thousands of dollars to get proper medical care. If you are a victim of a dog bite in South Florida, you should obtain expert legal advice from a skilled personal injury attorney in Florida. At the law offices of Suarez and Montero, we operate on a contingency fee basis. In other words, the consultation is free, and you don’t pay a single cent, unless we win your case. Once you hire our firm, one of our expert lawyers will conduct a systematic and complete investigation to come up with a customized plan of action for your personal injury claim. Our lawyers provide efficiency, experience, knowledge, and can help you get the compensation you deserve after a dog bite injury. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.
We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:
Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.
Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.