Animal and Dog Bites

Victims of dog bites often suffer severe physical injuries, emotional trauma and financial burdens. It is important for all injured victims of animal attacks to understand their rights. Depending upon the circumstances of the incident, an injured victim may be able to hold animal owners civilly liable for the damages.

Florida Dog Bite Law

Florida has a "strict liability statute" when it comes to animal bites. This means that the dog owner is liable for injuries and damages caused by his or her pets. Under Florida Statute 767.04: "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." However, it is important to note that there are some exceptions to the strict liability.

Florida allows for a percentage of liability to be spread between a victim and a dog owner when the victim is partially responsible for the attack. The injury suffered and the circumstances surrounding an attack will be carefully examined to determine if the dog bite victim exercised negligence, which led to the attack. For example, if the victim is determined to have abused the animal or provoked the animal, then the dog owner cannot be held 100 percent liable.

Forms of Compensation Available to Animal Attack Victims

Expenses resulting from an animal attack can pile up fast. If the victim chooses to file a personal injury claim, he or she may receive compensation for all injuries, damages and losses sustained as a result of the attack. Such damages usually include:

  • All Injury Related Medical Expenses: This should include the emergency room visit, any related surgeries and any medication that is required.
  • Lost Wages: When someone is seriously injured, they may have to miss work for a prolonged period of time. A personal injury claim should cover the time that a victim had to spend away from work.
  • Physical Pain: All injuries are painful, but some serious injuries result in an extended period of severe pain. For the most serious injuries, financial compensation may be available for the physical pain suffered.
  • Emotional distress: Dog attacks not only affect victims at a physical level, but also at an emotional and psychological level. Animal attack victims can experience anxiety, panic, paranoia and other disorders, which may require therapy and counseling.
Having the Right Representation

Dog bite cases can be complex. Determining fault and liability may not be as easy as it appears. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite or animal attack, please contact an experienced Miami dog bite lawyer at the Law Offices of Ruth E. Johnson. We have an excellent track record of securing maximum compensation for injured victims and their families. Call us today to find out how we can help you.