Overview of Florida’s “Strict Liability” Dog Bite Law
According to Florida Code § 767.04, “the owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place…is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten.” Since this statute imposes strict liability upon dog owners, the victim of an attack would not need to prove that the dog had a tendency to act out violently and/or that the owner had knowledge of their dog’s viciousness—as is required in states that do not impose “strict liability.” Rather, it must only be proven that a) the defendant is responsible for the dog, b) the plaintiff was attacked or bitten by the dog and c) the plaintiff’s injuries were sustained in the attack.
While there are few exceptions to statutory liability in dog bite cases, the plaintiff may be barred from seeking compensation if one or more of the following is true:
- The victim heavily provoked the dog
- The victim was trespassing on private property
- The dog owner had posted warning signs
Included in Florida’s dog bite statute is a unique exception to the strict liability rule: a dog owner cannot be held accountable for the actions of their pet if the victim is at least 6 years old, the incident occurs on their property and they have posted a sign that reads “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog.” However, this would only be true if the warning sign has been placed prominently on the premises and the victim is old enough to read and understand the notice of risk. Since numerous factors must be taken into consideration when pursuing damages for a dog bite injury, it is recommended that you speak with the West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo, P.A.
When you contact our firm at (800) 690-7868, your initial consultation is free.