Each day nearly 1,000 Americans require emergency care treatment for dog bite injuries. Sadly, most of these victims are children. When man’s best friend turns against you or someone you love, it’s important to speak with a Pensacola dog bite lawyer like Joe Zarzaur.
What is Florida Dog Bite Law?
Dog owners have a responsibility over the conduct of their dogs and will be held responsible if they fail to control their dogs to avoid causing harm to others. Florida is strict about liability where dog bites are concerned. Under 2013 Florida Statutes section 767.04, dog owners are responsible for damages suffered by any person bitten by their dog. Dog owners are responsible whether the dog bite incident happens in a public place or in a private place including the home of the dog owner, where the victim was lawfully present. Some dog owners try to defend themselves by representing that their dog has never been aggressive so there was no way to predict that they would bite someone. Florida law does not give preferential treatment to dogs who have no history of bad behavior. In fact, the Dog Bite Law states that the dog owner is responsible for damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
An owner who knows of previous viciousness of their dog has a responsibility to take action to warn lawful visitors to their property about that. They must display a prominent sign on their property that includes the words “Bad Dog”, as a warning to visitors to their property. Any person over the age of 6 who ignores the sign assumes the risk that they may be injured by the property owner’s dog and the property owner will avoid responsibility.
Limitations in Dog Owner Responsibility
A dog owner may avoid responsibility under certain circumstances. These include:
- When the victim provokes the dog.
- When the victim was unlawfully on the property when the dog bite incident took place.
- When the dog was defending its owner or another person within the immediate vicinity of the dog from a perceived threat or attack.
- When a victim ignores any “Bad Dog” signs prominently displayed on the property.
If a victim is found to have been negligent and their actions were partly responsible for the biting incident, then any damages they are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them. This is because of the comparative fault rule, which operates in Florida. Under this rule, a wrongdoer is not completely absolved of their financial responsibility to the victim, simply because the victim was also negligent and bears partial blame.
Whether you have a valid claim or not depends on the particular circumstances of your case. An experienced Pensacola dog bite injury lawyer will be able to assess the circumstances around your dog bite incident and determine your legal position. If you have suffered a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury, and Zarzaur Law can help you get the compensation you deserve.
And no matter what, use these helpful tips to keep you safe when in close proximity with a dog:
- Do not leave an infant or toddler alone with a new dog
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog
- Do not approach or tease a chained dog, especially if it is male and unaltered
- Do not try to stop a dogfight
- Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first
- Never put your face close to a dog, especially one you do not know
- Avoid startling a sleeping dog
- Do not bother a dog that is eating
- Do not disturb a dog that is caring for puppies
If you think you may be in danger of a dog attack, use these guidelines from Humane Society:
- Never scream and run
- Stay motionless with your hands at your sides and avoid eye contact with the dog
- Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight
- If the dog starts to attack, give the dog your jacket, purse or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and stay still.
Have you been bitten or attacked by a dog?
- Try not to panic
- Immediately cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water
- Contact your physician
- Report the attack to your local animal care and control agency.
- Tell them everything you know about the dog including any prior incidents, the owner’s name and the address. If you think the dog may be a stray, tell your local animal control official what the dog looks like, location of encounter and in which direction the dog went.
Contact an Experienced Pensacola Dog Bite Lawyer Today
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Zarzaur Law is a pure contingency fee law firm. There is NO FEE unless you win. If you don’t collect, we don’t either. Results matter, so make sure to check out our case results as well as our client reviews see what are clients have to say about our firm.
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