Your Rights When a Dog BitesPosted on: August 24, 2016
A few years ago, an Orlando community felt Orange County had not done enough to keep them safe in their neighborhood. The issue had nothing to do with gun violence or even poor security. The problem was Chopper, a pit bull that was seen freely roaming their streets. Many residents felt uneasy going outside their front doors for fear the dog would be lurching somewhere nearby. Chopper had already lunged at an Animal Control employee and bit someone else on the arm.
According to the 2016 Florida Statutes, “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, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.” Due to some of the most gruesome and violent dog-related deaths in Florida history, Miami-Dade County went so far as to minimize the ownership of pit bulls with muzzles and outdoor restrictions, but that is not yet the case in Central Florida.
Just 3 short years ago, dog bite claims went up by nearly 20 percent from the year before. And in Florida, a state with the second highest number of claims, liability payouts exceeded 12 percent of the national costs. The silver lining is that overall claim averages were lower, suggesting that fewer people are facing serious injury after a bite. But that doesn’t mean some of the cases were extremely serious.
Experts and researchers have acknowledged that one of the problems in many dog bite cases is that dog owners can often be from low income communities with two early strikes: no way to properly nurture/maintain a dog and no way to cover the costs if their dog actually bites a random neighbor. Florida State Statutes indicate the following liability:
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, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.
If you or a friend have been the victim of a dog bite, please contact the law offices of Beers and Gordon P.A. for a free consultation. We service the Greater Orlando area including Seminole, Orange,Volusia, Lake, and Brevard counties. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience ready and willing to go the distance on your case. Call us right away at 407-862-1825.