Located in Broward County, Florida, U.S., the city of Dania Beach is often referred to as “Broward’s first city”. This city consists of a variety of parks and nature centers such as Dania Beach Ocean Park. It prides on its variety of shopping centers and museums. With a good number of fun games and outdoor activities, the city stands tall.Dog bites are quite common. As far as Florida laws are concerned, there are certain deadlines to File a Lawsuit. Florida’s “statute of limitations” requires an injured person to get their lawsuit filed in Florida’s civil court system within four years of the date of a dog bite. This way the law limits the amount of time an injured person has to file a lawsuit after a dog bite injury. In case you miss this crucial time-frame, the court shall discard your case. Make sure to file your case before the deadline arrives for your case to be heard.
Florida’s dog bite law states that a dog owner is responsible for injuries if:
- The dog bites another person
- The victim was in a public place or in a private place by lawful means
This statute solely covers injuries caused by dog bites. However, other valuable reasons might be put forward by the victim to prove the negligence of the owner. For example, a person who is injured by a dog may hold the owner responsible for not using a leash to control the dog.
“Strict Liability” Dog Bite State
Florida is a marked as a “strict liability” dog bite state. It implies that a Florida dog owner may be held liable if his dog bites someone, even if the owner had no knowledge that the dog might bite. The injured person does not even require to prove the lack of reasonable care that caused the bite.
There are mainly two defenses that a Florida dog owner can claim to a dog bite. These are trespassing and comparative negligence.
- Trespassing negligence
Florida’s dog bite law states that an injured person needs to be “lawfully” in the place where the bite took place so that his recovery is accepted. A person who is trespassing on private property without any permission is not on the private property “lawfully”. In such a case, a dog bite owner could easily point out that the injured person was trespassing on his property. Thus, the owner is not liable to pay for the victim’s damages.
- Comparative negligence
There is a partial defense a dog owner might raise. It involves the defense of comparative negligence. The law states that if a dog bite injury victim’s own negligence is partly the cause of the dog bite, the amount of compensation that the liable owner needs to cover up will be reduced by a percentage proportional to that of the blame assigned to the victim.
Here is the list of the Possible Defenses for a dog bite:
The owner of the dog may get away with the full legal liability for damages relating to a dog bite if they can come up with a reasonable defense. Some of the basic defenses presented in dog bite cases are:
- Proper evidence to show that the victim of the bite was trespassing.
- Proper evidence to show that the dog was provoked or an act of aggression was shown by the victim himself.
- Proper evidence to show that the victim was negligent on his part.
- Proper evidence to show that the victim was aware of the risk of danger prior to the incident.
Filing a claim immediately after the occurrence of a dog bite occurs is not at all a smart move. Though you might be able to resolve your issue in certain cases just by negotiating with the dog’s owner, it is not always so simplistic. In case you are of the opinion that your issue could be solved through negotiation, send a letter to the owner. This letter should contain the details of the incidents, the expenses pertaining to the treatment of the dog bite and the date by which the compensation should be made. Inform the owner that if he is unable or unwilling to pay the fixed amount, you are bound to file a lawsuit.
When do you need a Dog Bite Attorney?
As per Florida’s law, the dog bite statute might seem way too straightforward. However, you require a specialized Dog Bite Attorney for certain reasons. An experienced attorney can help you to collect the deserving compensation which you are entitled to. In most of these cases, the defense mechanism exercised by the dog owners is to prove that the dog was somehow provoked. Here is when an attorney comes into play as your savior! Here are some of the basic ways attorneys can help you in dog bite cases:
For the accurate determination of the sum total of damages to which victims can legally claim, your attorney cross-checks your medical records.
- They help in proving that the victim was either in a public place or a private place where they presented was lawful.
- They can help in opposing and counter-attacking a claim that the victim provoked the attack.
- Since they know all the exceptions to the statute, they know how to fight against them.
- They very well know that the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite strict liability claim is one year after the day of the dog bite.
- They know how to file a claim based on negligence if the one-year statute of limitations is not abided by.
- They know the statute of limitations for filing a claim in case the negligence is two years.
- They make sure that you receive the best possible compensation from the dog owner for the damages as a result of dog bite injury.
So, make sure to hire a dog bite injury lawyer right after the day you are bitten.