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Liability for Dog Bites

Angry Dog

2 minute read


Under Florida State Statute section §767.04, which governs the liability for dog bites, the liability for dog bites is wholly subsumed by the owner of the dog regardless of its propensity for viciousness or biting. Some of the claims that a dog owner could be liable for after a dog bite our theories of statutory strict liability, forms of intentional torts like battery, negligence, negligence per se, and res ipsa loquitur.

Under a theory of strict liability, the dog owner is liable to the bite victim regardless if the dog has ever bitten anyone in the past. Because Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, any fault or caused by the bite victim, could be comparatively reduced in the amount of liability. However, it is unlikely that the dog bite victim will completely reduce the amount of compensation owed to them even if they were comparatively negligent. 

Also, it is important to note that there can be a duty owed to known trespassers to post things like warning signs if the dog owner knows that the dog has a propensity for viciousness or has been someone in the past. If the dog owner does not have any warning signs posted two invitees, licensees, or non-trespassers, then liability is imposed to the dog owner for a failure to warn. That duty, however, typically does not extend to unknown trespassers on land. This is because the owner has no knowledge or a reasonable belief that someone would be on the land if they are an unknown trespasser. 

Under the liability theory of negligence and negligence per se, if a dog owner fails to do something that a reasonably prudent person of similarly situated circumstances would have done to prevent a dog bite, then the dog owner may also be held liable for the injuries that result to the bite victim. Negligence per se is where a dog owner violates a law, ordinance, or statute in a municipality that specifically forbids dogs or requires dogs to be on a leash. 

Finally, dog bite liability is considered a personal injury on behalf of the victim that is bitten by the dog. This means that the Florida statute of limitations is a period of four years to bring a suit against the tortfeasor.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite, please give us a call here at the Orlando Accident Attorney. Our number is 407-706-3909.