Home Frequently Asked Questions Personal Injury FAQ's Dog Bites and Owner Liability

Dog Bites and Owner Liability

Dog bites are one of the most common animal attack injuries. An animal attack can cause significant emotional and physical injuries. Although animal attacks injure victims of all ages, when young children are involved, the possibility for severe injury and even death is much higher. Each year over 360,000 people are hospitalized with dog bite injuries in the United States. Under Florida law, an owner is liable for any injuries caused by the dog.

Florida is a strict liability state, which means that an owner can be held liable for any injuries inflicted by a dog, even if the animal attack took place on the owner’s property. Unlike the situation in a “one-free bite” state, a dog owner does not have to aware of a dog’s vicious nature in order to be liable for injuries caused by a bite. Florida’s strict liability standard also allows for additional remedies in the form of statutory or common law action in dog bite cases.

Current Florida law allows those injured in an animal attack to claim damages for emotional and physical injuries inflicted by the animal. However, the strict liability standard cuts both ways. If the owner can prove that the person bitten acted in a manner that contributed to or provoked the bite, the damages awarded to the injured party will be reduced by a court-determined percentage, which reflects the bitten party’s role in the animal attack.

Dog owners may be shielded from liability if the bitten victim was on the owner’s property illegally at the time of the attack. Posting a sign with the words “Bad Dog” may also mitigate an owner’s liability. However, if the victim is a child less than six years old, the posting of a warning sign does not relieve the dog owner of responsibility for paying damages. Dog owners may also be held liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs on other animals and pets.

If you or someone you care for has been injured in an animal attack, please contact the Florida law offices of personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham and schedule an initial interview to discuss your situation.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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  • 5 StarsPresident-Elect, Rotary of West Orlando

    After being wrongfully bit in the face by a dog I was referred to Mr. Cunningham by a family member. Mr. Cunningham & staff treated me with utmost graciousness and sensitivity all while giving me a feeling of his dedication and urgency to resolve my conflict in a most positive manner!

    - Charlie, a Personal Injury client