According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 78.2 million dog owners in the United States. Nearly 39% of American households have at least one (1) dog. Nearly every one of us has heard the old proposition "a dog is man's best friend". However, to many, man's best friend is often times thought of as another man's best enemy. To those individuals that reside in Florida, they take comfort in knowing Florida is actually governed by two (2) separate laws that control dogs and their owners. Our Tampa dog bite attorneys have litigated numerous cases involving dog attacks.
The first law is more commonly referred to as the "dog bite" statute and is found in Section, 767.04, Florida Statutes. This law provides a remedy, or cause of action, to anyone who is injured by a dog bite. It holds the dog owner strictly liable for such injuries stemming from the dog's bite. In order to proceed in a claim against a dog that has bitten someone, Florida law requires the person held responsible must be the dog's actual owner. The place where the dog bite occurs is also extremely important as it must have occurred in a public place or lawfully on private property. Dog owners can often times avoid liability, however, by simply placing a sign that is clearly displayed that says "Bad Dog". The "bad dog" sign does not, however, apply to persons under six (6) years of age.
The second law regarding dog liability is commonly known as the "dog injury" statute and is found in Section, 767.01, Florida Statutes. This law provides a remedy or cause of action to anyone who has been damaged as a result of a dog that does not involve a bite. The law imposes strict liability on the owner of the dog that injures another. Quite simply, this law applies to nearly any situation involving harm or injury by a dog that does not involve a bite. Like the "dog bite" statute, the "dog injury" statute requires the person held responsible must be the owner of the dog as possession and/or custody of the dog will not be sufficient.
To fully evaluate whether you may have a claim arising from a dog bite or dog injury, please contact us, your Tampa Personal Injury Attorneys.