In Florida, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages if the animal bites someone or causes other injury or property damage. However, there are limited statutory defenses to a dog bite claim and without a skilled Tampa attorney, you may not be fully compensated for the extent of harm.
Florida Dog Bite Liability
Florida’s dog bite law provides that when any person is in a public place or lawfully on private property, the dog’s owner is responsible for injuries and associated losses if the dog attacks. It does not matter if the dog had never bitten anyone or displayed vicious behavior before. It does not matter if the dog was on or off a leash. In certain circumstances, a landlord or a third party who was taking care of the dog may be liable.
It also is not necessary to suffer an actual bite to claim damages. For instance, injuries incurred in a fall when a dog knocked you down or chased you would be covered. The owner is also liable if a dog killed or injured your pet or damaged your personal property.
Liability can also be called into question when it is proved that the animal was provoked persistently by an individual, or if a trespasser ignores a “beware of dog sign”.
Compensation for Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Children account for about half of all dog bites and often suffer serious injuries to the head, face, hands or arms, as well as a lasting fear of all dogs. Our Tampa dog bite lawyer pursues all entitled compensation for a dog attack, which could include:
- Bite wounds and scratches
- Fractures from a falling injury
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reconstructive surgery
- Physical impairment
- Nerve damage or infection from the bite
- Psychological trauma
- Mental anguish
- Lost earnings
Dog Bite FAQs
If a dog bites me at a dog park, can I sue the dog owner?
Under Florida law, the owner of the dog is responsible for damages if their dog bites someone so long as the victim wasn’t trespassing or provoking the dog. Some dog parks have waivers you sign acknowledging the danger inside the park, but that is to protect the owner of the park, not the dog’s owner.
How much can I get for compensation if I’m bitten by a dog?
Under Florida law, the victim of a dog bite is entitled to compensation for any injury and for related financial losses resulting from the dog bite. This includes medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical rehab, counseling, loss time from work, permanent disability and other losses.
Does Florida put down a dog that bites someone?
Not generally. However, Florida law allows local jurisdictions to remove a “dangerous dog” from its owner and put it to sleep if it poses a threat to the public. This usually only happens if the dog has bitten before and the authorities believe that it will do so again in the future.
What to do if You’ve Been Bitten or Attacked by a Dog in Tampa
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, document your case by taking pictures of the wound, the accident scene and if possible, identify the dog, its owner, and their insurance company. In many cases, the dog belongs to a neighbor, friend or relative. There may be no choice but to sue if you have incurred substantial losses. In most cases, damages are paid by the negligent party’s homeowners’ insurance and not out of their own pocket. When you contact our personal injury law firm we will begin an immediate investigation to preserve all necessary evidence in your claim including witness statements, animal control reports, and medical documentary evidence.
Tampa Dog Bite & Attack Attorneys
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to win your case. Contact us for a free confidential initial consultation at 813-915-1110. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.