18 Nov 2016
Bitten By a Dog in Florida? Here’s What You Need to Know
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
About “Strict Liability” in Florida Dog Bite Cases
Florida’s dog bite statute, Section 767.04, states that a dog owner is strictly liable for the actions of their pet. More specifically, they are liable for injuries if their dog bites another person who is on public property or lawfully in a private place. So what does “strict liability” mean according to the law? While some states use a “one bite” rule, Florida law operates under a theory of strict liability. This means that owners can be held accountable for a dog bite regardless of the dog’s former viciousness or their knowledge of such viciousness.
In other words, the injured victim does not have to establish that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover compensation; rather, they need only prove that a) they were on public property or lawfully on private property at the time they were bitten, and b) they did not provoke the attack. Conversely, in states that use a “one bite” rule, victims must prove that the dog has acted out violently in the past and that the owner was aware of their dog’s vicious tendencies. Fortunately, Florida dog bite victims do not need to meet this burden of proof.
What “strict liability” means for your dog bite case:
- It doesn’t matter if the dog previously attacked someone else
- It doesn’t matter if you were on public property or in someone’s home
- It doesn’t matter if the dog was on a leash or freely walking around
- Even if you were partially responsible, you can still seek damages
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dangerous dog, we encourage you to discuss your options with a Tampa personal injury attorney at Darrigo & Diaz. Initial consultations are free.
Deadlines for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Florida has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time a dog bite victim has to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your case must be filed within four years of the date of the attack in order to seek compensation. If you miss this deadline, your case will likely be thrown out. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you take action quickly. Contact a Tampa personal injury lawyer at our firm as soon as possible to get started on your case.
Seeking Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury
If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, you have the right to seek compensation—not only for your economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, but for your non-economic losses as well.
By filing a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future loss of income
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional pain / mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
Call Darrigo & Diaz for a Free Consultation
With more than 200+ years of combined experience, the Tampa injury attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz can offer the knowledgeable legal representation you need during this difficult time. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, and now, we are ready to do the same for you. There is no fee for our representation unless we are able to recover compensation for you, so you would have nothing to lose by taking the first step today.
Contact our office 24/7 to get started on your case with a FREE initial consultation.