Dogs can be loving companions and sweet-natured pets if trained properly. However, training a dog requires dedication, extensive time commitments and daily monitoring. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to the task. This lack of training may lead to a dog acting out or not listening to commands. Additionally, it must be remembered that dogs are animals, and sometimes may act differently than previously observed. All of these factors could lead to a dog bite.
Dog Bite Laws in Florida & Strict Liability
Dog bite injuries can be a very serious matter, depending on the bite size, grip and health of the dog in question. Bite laws vary nationally, with each state enforcing various levels of owner liability. In Florida, dog owners are held to strict liability for injuries their dogs inflict. This means that there are a few ways in which a dog owner can be held liable for damages other people may suffer, according to Florida Legislature Section 767.04.
- The dog bit someone in a public place.
- The dog bit someone who was lawfully (performing a duty, was invited or had implied invitation) in a private place, such as the owner’s home or grounds.
However, according to the same Florida Legislature section, there are also two instances where the owner of the dog may not be liable.
- The dog bit someone who was unlawfully (not performing a duty or not invited) in a private place, such as the owner’s home or grounds.
- The owner had displayed a “bad dog” sign in a prominent easily-read location. (This does not apply to children under the age of six.)
There are also rules about “dangerous dogs,” those who have been previously found violent, according to Florida Legislature Sections 767.11-13.
- A “dangerous dog” is one which has aggressively attacked or bitten someone, has more than once severely injured another domestic creature while off their owner’s property or has menacingly chased someone on public grounds.
- If a dog that has been named “dangerous” attacks someone or a domestic animal unprovoked, the owner will be found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.
- If a “dangerous” dog causes severe injury or death to a human, the owner will be found guilty of a third-degree felony.
While the entire state of Florida maintains strict liability for owners concerning their dogs, Florida dog laws get even more specific when looking at Okaloosa County’s Ordinance Codes. There are further laws involving the classification of “bad dogs” specifically. These rules are helpful to know in the case of a dog bite injury.
- 5-26-A: Any dog which attacks/bites another animal or person without provocation will be named a “bad dog” and the owner will be issued a citation up to $100.
- 5-26-B: It is illegal for an unprovoked dog to chase in a terrorizing or vicious manner. A dog that violates this rule will be named a “bad dog.”
If you have been attacked, bitten or chased by a dog, you should contact a personal injury lawyer in Crestview, Florida for help. Florida attorneys will be able to walk you through the proper legal steps in order for you to file a claim and move towards getting the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Being bitten by a dog can be a scary experience. One of the first things you need to do is try to remain calm and get yourself away from any immediate danger. After that, assess your wounds. Document the damage by taking photos or video, making sure to get the location, street signs and pictures of the dog, if possible. Get the contact information of the owner. If the owner is not there, take images of your surroundings, including the direction the dog came from. If you’re up to it, getting the contact information of witnesses is also a good idea. The two most important things are to move to safety and then document what happened. This will be crucial for your dog bite lawsuit.
After that, consider calling the police as well as the Panhandle Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), which investigates animal bites and reports of animal cruelty or neglect. According to the Okaloosa Animal Control (OAC) PAWS, all bite cases are considered emergencies. You can call OAC PAWS in the case of an emergency at (850) 685-6003.
Dog bites can be traumatic experiences. Then, after the damage is done, you have to consider the legal ramifications. Knowing the intricate legal process for pursuing dog bite compensation is where a personal injury attorney comes in. A Florida attorney can help you seek compensation for the damage you’ve received. At Browning Law Firm, we have the experience, dedication and legal knowledge to protect your rights and pursue your compensation for damages. Contact us today. Let’s fight for your compensation together.