While dogs are known as man’s best friend, they can occasionally turn on humans and cause serious injuries. When a dog causes injuries to another person, the injured party may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries through a Florida dog bite case.
Under Florida law, the owners of dogs are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their animals. This means that anyone who has suffered a dog bite injury will not need to establish that the owner was negligent in any way; it is enough to prove ownership of the dog. That being said, this only applies if the victim of the attack is lawfully on the property of the dog’s owner. Additionally, if the victim of the dog’s attack is deemed to have been negligent in bringing about their own injuries – perhaps by taunting the dog – the victim’s ultimate award amount will be reduced by their own percentage of fault.
A recent dog bite case illustrates how strict liability plays out in practice.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was with a friend hunting for squirrels on property that belonged to her friend. At some point during the day, the plaintiff decided to head back to the car early. As the plaintiff was walking back to her car, a pack of dogs belonging to the defendant attacked her, causing serious injuries.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner, claiming that he was strictly liable for the injuries caused by the dogs. The trial court declined to instruct the jury on strict liability, requiring the jury to find that the owner was somehow negligent in order to find for the plaintiff. The jury found that the dogs belonged to the defendant, but he was not negligent in any way. Thus, judgment was entered in the defendant’s favor.
The plaintiff appealed the lower court’s ruling, arguing that the court should have applied a strict liability analysis and that if it had, establishing ownership should have been sufficient to find the defendant liable for her injuries. The court agreed, noting that the jurisdiction does follow a strict liability analysis. However, the court went on to note that the jury should be instructed to take into account whether the plaintiff was negligent in any way, and if so, the jury should reduce her award by her percentage of fault.
Have You Been Attacked by a Dog?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of an aggressive dog’s attack, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Florida dog bite lawsuit. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling all types of Florida injury claims, including those involving aggressive dogs. To learn more, call 877-448-85858 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in Florida, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 21, 2017.
Additur and Remittur: A Judge’s Ability to Adjust a Jury’s Verdict in Florida, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 5, 2018.