In Florida, dog owners are liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by Florida statute. Included in the definition of “domestic animals” are dogs.
Because Florida is a statutory strict liability state, a dog bite victim may recover damages under Florida’s dog bite statute, FLSA 767.04, which states that a dog owner is liable for injuries if:
- the dog bites another person, and
- the person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
This statute only applies to injuries caused by dog bites. This statute contains an exception that there is no liability under FLSA 767.04 if:
- the victim is six (6) years of age or older;
- the incident occurs on the dog owner’s premises; and
- these premises contain a conspicuously posted sign inscribed with “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog.”
The sign must be displayed in a prominent place and easily readable for the purpose of giving actual notice of the risk of bite to the victim. If the victim is not old enough to read the sign, then the exception does not apply.
Persons injured by a dog other than by a bite may prove liability by showing that the owner’s negligence, i.e., failure to use reasonable care, caused the injury.
Typically, dog owners are not held liable for their dogs who bite trespassers on their property. Of course, there are exceptions, including if:
- The trespasser was under the age of 6; or
- The owner acted negligently by failing to place prominent signs warning of the presence of a known bad or aggressive dog.
Dog attacks may cause serious, even fatal, injuries. Florida’s dog bite statute imposes strict liability upon owners for a dog bite that causes injury to a human being. A seasoned personal injury attorney familiar with Florida’s statutory scheme regarding injuries by animals, including dogs, may assist any victim in recovering compensation in this circumstance.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our distinguished attorneys, call 941-748-2916. You may also contact us online. Our website is available in both English and Spanish. We have offices conveniently located in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Clients pay no fees or costs unless we win!