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Strict Liability vs. Negligence in Florida Dog Bite Cases

Personal Injury

Dog bite incidents can be distressing for both victims and dog owners alike. When it comes to determining responsibility in such cases, Florida has specific laws and legal standards that play a crucial role in deciding who should be held accountable for the actions of a dog that causes harm to another person, specifically “strict liability” and “negligence”.

What Are Florida’s Dog Bite Laws?

Before diving into the legal concepts, let’s understand the foundation – Florida’s dog bite laws. The state operates under a strict liability approach, meaning that dog owners can be held accountable for injuries their dogs cause to others. However, there are nuances to this rule, and certain exceptions exist.

The Florida dog bite statute (Florida Statute 767.04) states that the owner of a dog that bites someone who is lawfully in a public or private place, including the dog owner’s property, is liable for the injuries caused by the bite. If you or your loved one sustained injuries from a dog bite, consult skilled personal injury lawyers in Vero Beach for legal representation. They can review your case and help you file a claim to recover the maximum compensation.

Experienced personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the state’s strict liability laws or prove the dog owner’s negligence in fighting for your compensation. The rules are complex, so you shouldn’t go to battle alone.

What is Strict Liability in Dog Bite Claims?

Florida’s strict liability law stipulates that dog owners can be held liable for any injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether the owner knew about the dog’s aggressive tendencies or not. Under strict liability, the injured party does not necessarily need to prove that the owner was negligent or that the owner’s actions directly led to the dog bite.

Your dog bite lawyers in Vero Beach can evaluate your case and advise if you can sue for dog owner negligence if the strict liability law doesn’t apply. They can also help you weigh your risks and options to prepare you for the legal journey if you decide to pursue compensation.

What is Negligence in Dog Bite Lawsuits in Florida?

While strict liability places responsibility on the owner regardless of fault, negligence is a legal concept that centers on the idea of a party failing to exercise a reasonable standard of care. In a negligence-based dog bite case, the injured person must show that the dog owner acted negligently and that this negligence directly led to the dog bite.

Given your case circumstances, your Vero Beach dog bite lawyers can prove the dog owner’s negligence if strict liability does not hold.

They can use this standard to pursue compensation by showing that:

  • any reasonable dog owner would have acted in a particular way, 
  • the owner of the dog that caused your injuries failed to do so, 
  • their failure to act reasonably caused the bite and your injuries. 

These elements can be complex for you to prove on your own, but Vero Beach dog bite attorneys know how to do so. That’s why you should rely on their skills and knowledge to help you fight to achieve the most favorable outcome, which is recovering fair compensation for your injuries and loss.

Negligence Per Se

In some cases, negligence can be established more easily through a legal doctrine called “negligence per se.” This means that if the owner violated a law or regulation related to dog ownership (like leash laws), it might automatically be considered negligence in the context of the dog bite case.

Proving Your Injuries

The first thing you should do after a dog bite is to seek medical attention, even if you don’t think the injury is severe. Your physician will advise if you need a rabies shot or stitches. The treatment records and medical bills will be crucial in proving your claim later on. Here are some types of injuries that your personal injury attorneys in Vero Beach can show that you sustained:

  • Deep wounds in the flesh 
  • Facial disfigurement 
  • Torn muscles and ligaments 
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Broken bones

Medical records, photographs, and even testimony from medical professionals can help establish the physical and emotional toll of the dog bite. With this evidence, your dog bite attorneys can build a solid case to ensure you recover the total compensation possible.

How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Florida?

Florida’s statute of limitations has a strict deadline for filing a lawsuit in the civil court system. Different types of cases have varying deadlines, with dog bite cases having a two-year deadline to file the complaint in court since the date of the injury.

Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

Depending on your case specifics, you may be entitled to various types of damages. Possible damages dog bite attorneys in Vero Beach can help you recover are:

  • Emergency treatment and medical bills 
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs 
  • Therapy and counseling costs to deal with the post-injury trauma 
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity 
  • Scarring and disfigurement 
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Pain and suffering 

Seek Legal Help Following a Dog Bite Injury in Florida

If you or your loved one sustained injuries due to a dog bite, it would help to consult a legal team to help you evaluate your options. They can investigate what happened and collect the necessary evidence to support your claim. Experienced dog bite attorneys in Vero Beach can also help you calculate your monetary and non-monetary damages.

The personal injury lawyers at our law firm will fight aggressively to help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. We know it can be hard to juggle recovery and legal matters, so we provide legal support during this challenging time. Call Grall Law Group at 772-773-6697 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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