Dog Bites: Laws and Prevention

Dog Bites: Laws and Prevention

Dogs are popular pets for many reasons: they can improve the health and well-being of their owners, reduce stress, and make great companions for children, to name a few. They are often considered members of our respective families, but they also have protective instincts that can drive them to become aggressive and even bite, posing a serious threat to victims. Even a small dog’s bite can be extremely painful and cause devastating injuries that are fatal in rare cases. In fact, this past week a woman in Oklahoma was tragically mauled to death by a pack of seven of her neighbor’s dogs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with household dogs that are familiar to us, and children are more likely to be victims. By those numbers, it’s not that uncommon to encounter a dog showing aggression.

 

Liability

In Florida, dog owners are strictly liable, which means they can be held liable whenever their dog injures another person, regardless of any fault, for the full amount of damages or injuries caused by their animal to another animal, human being or property.

There are two exceptions to this rule, though. First, any negligence on the part of the victim that contributed to the biting incident will be taken into account when determining damages, and the amount of compensation will be reduced accordingly. Second, if the bite occurs on the dog owner’s property and there is an easily visible sign providing warning of a dog (specifically including the words “Bad Dog,” the owner may not be held liable for damages (unless the victim is under 6 years of age).

 

Tips for Prevention

Whether or not you are comfortable around dogs, it’s best to know what actions can provoke one to bite. Here are tips to avoid a dog bite injury:

  • Avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs
  • Always ask the owner for permission before interacting with a dog
  • Don’t allow infants or children to play with a dog unsupervised
  • If approached, don’t run, make panicked movements, or loud noises

 

If You are a Victim

After being bitten, some of our clients are concerned about their relationship with the dog’s owner. Dog bite incidents can create a sensitive situation for all parties involved. However, filing a lawsuit against a negligent dog owner doesn’t mean you hate the dog owner or that they are a bad person. Rather, it’s a way for you to seek justice, closure, and the compensation needed to heal.

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Responsibility shapes the outcome of dog bite cases, and every state has different dog bite laws. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from a dog bite, an attorney can help you understand the state and local laws that could affect your case.

Visit our page on dog bites for more information.

To get a free case consultation, call (800) 226-6581 or visit our contact page to submit details.

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