Every dog owner in Tampa Bay is responsible for the actions and behaviors of his or her dog. Pet owners that know, or reasonably should know, of their dogs’ violent tendencies must take steps to prevent dog bite incidents, such as keeping pets on leashes and never letting them run at large. Even dogs without prior histories must be in the control of owners at all times. Failure to do so, resulting in a dog bite incident, may be grounds for a civil lawsuit. It may be worthwhile to hire a Tampa Bay dog bite attorney to file a claim against a dog’s owner for your injury if you suffered great physical or emotional damage from the incident.
Dog Bite Law in Florida
After a dog bite incident, the injured party may have the right to take the offending dog’s owner to court. Every state has its own dog bite statutes. Florida is a strict liability state, meaning that a dog bite victim may sue a dog’s owner regardless of whether the owner knew about a dog’s prior history of violence. Florida Statutes Chapter 767 states that the owner of any dog that bites any person is liable for damages the person bitten suffers, regardless of the dog’s former viciousness or owner’s knowledge of viciousness.
The statute is true when the victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place. A trespasser on private property that gets bitten by a dog most likely cannot sue the owner. A victim is a “trespasser” if he or she did not have a property owner’s implied or expressed permission to be on a property. An owner will only be liable for damages to a trespasser if the person is under the age of six or if a negligent act on the owner’s part caused the injury. A dog owner will also not be liable for a dog bite injury if he or she prominently displayed a sign with the words “Bad Dog” on the property.
In cases where the victim contributed to the dog bite incident by provoking the dog or otherwise causing the bite to occur, the courts will reduce the liability of the dog owner by the victim’s contributory percentage. Many dog bite cases in Tampa Bay come down to the question of negligence, instead of matters within the dog bite statute. If the courts find a dog owner guilty of negligence, such as letting a dog stray onto a neighbor’s property, and determine that this negligence was the proximate cause of the dog bite injury, the owner will be liable for damages.
Don’t Wait – Get Help
Every day around 1,000 citizens visit emergency care facilities for dog bite injury treatment. The average cost of a dog-bite-related hospital stay is about $18,200. On top of the high expense for treatment, dog bites can be extremely painful, tearing through the skin, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Dog bites can leave significant scarring and permanent disfigurement. Furthermore, there is a high chance of emotional damage after a dog attack and bite injury. Children and the elderly are most at risk of dog bite injuries.
Contact a Tampa Dog Bite Lawyer
According to the statute of limitations in Florida for filing a dog bite claim, an injured person has four years after the date of the bite to bring a claim against the responsible dog owner or third party. The sooner a plaintiff pursues compensation however, the more efficient and effective the legal process will be. Placing liability with an irresponsible dog owner for an attack can help prevent future dog bite incidents with another victim, and compensate you for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Call (813) 223-6773 or get in touch online for a free consultation with Fiol Law Group.