Although our furry friends are often companions for life, sometimes animals can lead to accidents with significant consequences. When unexpected injuries take place, it is crucial that potential plaintiffs have a full understanding of their rights under Florida law.
In a recent District Court of Appeal case, a Florida court examined a dispute stemming from an alleged dog bite incident. In the case at hand, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s dog caused him to suffer physical and neurological injuries. At trial, the plaintiff and his wife testified that they were watching the dog for a few days when the plaintiff turned his back and the dog ran behind him and knocked him down, rendering him unconscious. Because of other conflicting testimony from both parties, it appeared unclear whether the defendant’s dog or if dogs that the plaintiff also owned caused the plaintiff’s injuries. As a result, the jury rendered a verdict for the defendant and found that the dog was not the legal cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The plaintiff, however, was later granted a directed verdict and a new trial on the issue of damages.
On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s directed verdict and sided with the defendants. In directing the trial court to reinstate the jury’s original verdict, the District Court of Appeal stated that testimony introduced at trial equipped the jury to make a decision. Because the evidence presented was ample and provided the jury with the opportunity to accept or reject the testimony presented to them, the jury had a reasonable opportunity to make its conclusions and the trial court erred in overriding the jury’s verdict.