While most dogs make great companions, the same often cannot be said for pets not properly trained, socialized, and restrained by their owners. Unfortunately, dogs like this can be dangerous to other animals and other people. When animals feel threatened enough to bite someone else, they can—and very often do—cause severe injuries.
Florida state law is generous in many respects when it comes to the rights it affords dog bite victims to file suit over their injuries. However, enforcing your rights after a canine attack may be difficult without a capable personal injury attorney’s guidance. Working closely with a knowledgeable Clermont dog bite lawyer could boost your chances of securing a favorable outcome from your case and getting the comprehensive compensation you deserve.
How Does State Law Address Liability After a Canine Bite?
Unlike other states, Florida holds dog owners strictly liable for the injuries their dog causes, regardless of whether the dog has ever bitten anyone or exhibited aggressive tendencies in the past. More specifically, under Florida Statutes § 767.04, pet owners are strictly liable for bite injuries that occur when a victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private residence, including the dog owner’s property.
Notably, this “strict liability” rule does not apply when a canine injures another person by doing something other than biting them—for example, by knocking them over after running into them. In these situations, holding the dog’s owner civilly liable for ensuing damages may still be possible. However, doing so requires proving that the defendant was legally negligent in some way.
A comprehensive dog attack claim, filed by a Clermont attorney, could seek restitution for economic and non-economic forms of harm stemming from the incident. This award can include short-term losses like emergency medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost income, as well as long-term damages like physical pain, psychological trauma, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What Impact Could Comparative Fault Have on a Victim’s Financial Recovery?
There are several exceptions to the strict liability rule that Florida dog owners usually hold for bite injuries their pets cause. Most notably, pet owners are generally not strictly liable for injuries sustained by people trespassing on their property, especially when the owner had clear warning signs posted around their property to warn visitors that their dog might be dangerous.
When a dog bite victim contributes to their own injuries by provoking the animal, acting aggressively towards the pet’s owner, or doing something else reckless or careless, the court might assign “comparative fault” to them. Then, as a hardworking lawyer in Clermont could further explain, Fla. Stat. § 768.81 will allow the court to reduce the total compensation available to the plaintiff based on their portion of fault for the canine attack.
Get in Touch with a Capable Dog Bite Attorney in Clermont As Soon As Possible
Dog bite claims can be more complex than you might expect and have exceptionally high stakes if you suffer severe injuries resulting in permanent harm. Fortunately, an experienced and tenacious legal professional could help you proactively pursue your claim and obtain the compensation you deserve.
A Clermont dog bite lawyer could discuss your rights and possible recovery options in detail during a private consultation. Schedule a meeting by calling today.