consult
X

Request a Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon.
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY

Blog Home

What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws
Posted By:
Category: Dog Bites

What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

Dog bites are a major cause of nonfatal injuries in Florida. Though non-life-threatening, dog bite injuries are particularly distressing because more often than not, a child will be the victim of the mauling.

 

Sadly, even though the dog bite problem has been around for as long as humans have been living with dogs, there hasn’t been a lasting solution to protect our children and loved ones from dog attacks. Sure, the issue is often politicized, with community leaders calling for bans and stricter controls of so-called dangerous breeds. However, such laws are non-existent in most counties in Florida.

 

Moreover, banning certain dog breeds is a relatively weak strategy. Even in places like Miami-Dade County, where breed-specific legislation is in effect, dog-bites still occur. A more useful deterrent for dog bites is to hold dog owners responsible for their dog’s actions.

 

If a Dog Bites You in Florida, Who’s Responsible?

 

Pursuant to Florida’s Dog Bite Statute section 767.04, dog owners are strictly liable when their dogs bite people. This strict liability policy dictates that a Florida dog owner may be held accountable if a dog he or she owns bites someone, regardless of whether or not the dog owner had any prior warning or knowledge that his or her dog might bite.

 

Dogs can bite anyone, and the injured person doesn’t have to prove that the dog bite was caused by lack of reasonable care. The dog owner will additionally be liable even if the dog doesn’t have a history of biting people in past or a history of aggressiveness or vicious propensities, such as growling at passersby.

 

The strict liability rule of Florida’s dog bite law, however, doesn’t apply to all dog bite contexts. Florida’s strict liability, for instance, won’t be considered if:

 

  • A dog attacks a trespasser
  • A military or police dog attacks someone while performing its duties
  • A vicious dog causes damage to property

If the bite victim is found to have been acting negligently, the dog owner’s liability might also be reduced based on the victim’s percentage of fault.

 

Florida Dog Owners’ Negligence

 

The dog owner may be found negligent if his or her actions violated any of the dog-related statues that are already laid down by Florida law. As such, the dog owner might be presumed to have been negligent if:

 

  • They let their dog roam freely and unsupervised in the neighborhood
  • They walk their dog without a leash.

Generally, the owner of the biting dog will be considered negligent if they act in a manner that’s contrary to what any reasonable dog owner would do.

 

Intentional Torts

 

Most times, a dog bites a person out of its own accord. However, there are instances when the dog owner intends for their dog to bite someone. This may happen when the dog owner incites, orders, provokes, or encourages their dog to bite.

 

Such situations constitute intentional torts, for which the victim may be entitled to compensation for any injury or damage they sustain from the incident.

 

Dog Bite Statute of Limitations

 

 

Florida Dog Bite Lawyer

If you are bitten by a dog, and you wish to file a lawsuit in Florida’s court system, you have a four-year period window from the date of the bite to file your case. This is a hard-and-fast deadline, and if your case isn’t filed by then, you are forever barred from seeking any legal restitution.

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

 

Categories
AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

AMERICAS TOP 100 HIGH STAKES LITIGATORS

2018

Selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is by invitation only and is comprised of the nation’s most exceptional trial lawyers for high stakes legal matters. For initial consideration, an attorney must have successfully litigated (for either plaintiff or defendant) a matter (1) with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake or (2) with the fate of a business worth at least $2,000,000 at stake (i.e. bet-the-company litigation valued in excess of $2,000,000).

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

LEAD COUNSEL

LEAD COUNSEL
RATED

Since 1997, the Lead Counsel Rating has been available for free to attorneys who have demonstrated the following three requirements:

Professional Experience
Peer Recommendations
Spotless Record

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

LAWYERS OF DISTINCTION

LAWYERS OF
DISTINCTION

Lawyers of Distinction members have been selected based upon a review and vetting process from our Selection Committee. After a thorough review of credentials, attorneys are nominated by our Selection Committee. Lawyers do not pay for this nomination. These potential candidates who meet the criteria of our screening process have demonstrated a high degree of peer recognition and professional competence

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM
LIFETIME MEMBER

THE TOP TRIAL LAWYERS IN AMERICA ®

ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS GROUPS OF TRIAL LAWYERS IN THE UNITED STATES. MEMBERSHIP IS LIMITED TO ATTORNEYS WHO HAVE WON MILLION AND MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENTS.

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

FLORIDA TREND’S

FLORIDA LEGAL ELITE
2011-2017

Now in its 13th year, Florida Legal Elite presents a prestigious roster of attorneys chosen for recognition by their peers.

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

EXPERTISE

BEST PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS IN FORT LAUDERDALE
2016-2019

Our goal is to be a hub where qualified experts can connect with people to share their knowledge, experience, and skills.

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

SUPER LAWYERS

TOP RATED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN DAVIE FL
2011-2019

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

SUPER LAWYERS TOP 100 FLORIDA LAWYERS

FLORIDA TOP 100 LAWYERS
2015-2017, 2019

Super Lawyers magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-approved law school libraries.

AWARDS & MEMBERSHIPS

, What You Need to Know about Florida Dog Bite Laws

AVVO

TOP ATTORNEY PERSONAL INJURY
10.00
SUPERB

Avvo was founded in Seattle, Washington by tech-savvy lawyer Mark Britton to make legal easier and help people find a lawyer.

REVIEWS

LEAVE US A REVIEW

CASE RESULTS

See More Results

Font Resize