Laws determining a dog owner's liability for bites and other injuries caused by their pet vary from state to state, but there are essentially two basic rules: liability when the dog owner knew or should have known the dog might bite someone (often referred to as the "one-bite rule") and liability regardless of what the owner knew or should have known (often referred to as "strict liability"). Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. The bite victim does … If it’s not covered, it comes out of your pocket, because refusing to pay the vet bill may cause the owner to seek legal action in a small claims court. Before the statute, Florida followed the common law. If you find yourself on either side of a dog bite claim as the animal's owner or as someone who suffered a bite injury it may be time to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer. The email address cannot be subscribed. Under Florida's dog bite law, if a dog bite injury victim's own negligence is partly the cause of the dog bite, the amount of damages a liable owner must pay will be reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage of blame assigned to the injured person. For example, an owner would be held liable if the dog bit someone before. Florida's dog bite statute, which can be found at Florida Statutes section 767.04, says that a dog owner is liable for injuries if: their dog bites another person, and; that person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place (including the property of the owner of the dog.) Learn the steps you should take if … Florida law states that the owner of a dog is responsible for any bites caused to another person. Florida Protecting Citizens With Dangerous Dog Laws. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. Florida's Dog Bite Statute. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Contact us for a free consultation Call Now for a FREE Consultation (800) 766-1000 Unlike many other states, Florida has a statute that governs dog bites. The dog may become fearful of other dogs and the owner may become tense every time another dog approaches. Dog bite laws vary by state and often are confusing combinations of the "one bite" rule and county ordinances, state law, and case law. Check if your home owner’s insurance covers any bites caused by your dog to third parties. Those who own, harbor or keep a dog may be held responsible for the payment of compensation if it harms a person, a domestic animal, a farm animal, or property of any sort. Dog owners have a legal “duty of care” to keep their dog from hurting another person or damaging personal property. Dissatisfaction with the common law rule led to the enactment of F.S. ), You display a "Bad Dog" sign (this doesn't relieve you of liability for victims under age 6), The dog is owned, or in the service of a law enforcement agency, The dog was engaged in legal dog training or exhibitions, Owner liable for all damages suffered; and/or, First Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 1-year imprisonment, Dog owner pays all boarding costs and fees, Third Degree Felony: Up to 5 years imprisonment, Second Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days imprisonment, The person bitten was engaged in criminal activity; or. Under Florida law, the owner of any dog that bites someone who is in a public place, or lawfully in a private place, "is liable for the damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness." Florida dog bite laws consider a dangerous dog as: A dog that has aggressively attacked, bitten or caused severe injury to a person. Florida’s statute of limitations is a hard-and-fast deadline. However, a person who is injured by a dog in another way may be able to prove the owner is liable if the injured person can show the owner's negligence (or failure to use reasonable care) resulted in the injury. This same deadline applies to all personal injury cases in Florida. You may be able to reduce your liability if the person bitten was negligent in causing the biting incident, but most likely you'll be liable for some or all of the injury. Google Chrome, Stay up-to-date with how the law affects your life, Name Florida law states that if your dog bites a person trespassing on your property, you're not liable for damages. Florida’s dog bite statute, FLSA 767.04, states that a dog owner is liable for injuries if: the dog bites another person, and; the person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place. Florida Dog Bite Law Florida Dog Bite Law A dog bite victim in Florida can recover compensation under a special statute and the doctrines of negligence, negligence per se, scienter, and intentional tort. Visit our professional site », Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors This means that if your dog bites another dog, animal or person, generally you are responsible for paying the vet bills and any other necessary damages to the owner of the animal that was bitten. When you allow your tenants to have pets, there are certain problems you may have to deal with as a landlord.It can open up a whole new set of complaints from other tenants.A bigger fear is that a tenant’s dog will injure or bite another tenant. Florida dog bite victims have rights that are specifically set forth in Chapter 767, Florida Statutes. Florida is a “strict liability” state for dog bite injuries. In Florida the specific statue that addresses dog bites is FLSA 767.04 which states that the owner of the dog who bites any person while in a public place or lawfully on a private property, including the property of the owner is liable for damages. Bites to Humans and Other Animals. A dog in Florida is deemed "dangerous" when any of the following apply: You may not be liable for dog bites in Florida if any of the following apply: Criminal Penalties - Previously determined dangerous dog bites or attacks: Criminal Penalties - Previously determined dangerous dog causes severe injury or death, Criminal Penalties - Dog not previously determined dangerous causes severe injury or death, Criminal Penalties - If owner had knew of dog's dangerous propensities. “Strict Liability” for Florida Dog Bite Law. The 2020 Florida Statutes. Learn more about strict liability dog bite laws. Section 767.04 of the Florida Statutes makes it clear that “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.” Florida statute states that a dog owner is liable for damages to a person bitten by his dog, either in public or legally on private property -- even the home where the dog resides. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. | Last updated April 29, 2019. A Florida dog owner has at least three potential defenses to a dog bite claim: Florida's dog bite law requires an injured person to be "lawfully" in the place where the bite occurred in order to recover damages. You may not be liable for dog bites in Florida if any of the following apply: You display a "Bad Dog" sign (this doesn't relieve you of liability for victims under age 6) The dog is owned, or in the service of a law enforcement agency; The dog is used as a service dog. Section 767.04 specifically states that the dog owner is "liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.". What to do After Your Dog Kills Another Dog. This statute of limitations only covers injuries caused by dog bites. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Whether you're a Florida dog owner, or you've been bitten or otherwise harmed by someone else's dog, laws related to, including the property of the owner of the dog, Section 767.04 specifically states that the dog owner is "liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.". However, even if your dog hasn't been previously declared dangerous, you may still be criminally liable if the attack is considered severe. This is the case even if the dog does not have a prior violent history. Dangerous dogs are typically impounded and put down if the injuries they cause are severe. According to Florida state law, a dog’s owner can be held liable for biting another person if the dog is in a public place, or the victim is lawfully in a private place. Copyright ©2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Microsoft Edge. How Long Will It Take To Settle Your Personal Injury Case? Dog bites happen every day — at the vet ‘s office, on walks around the neighborhood, and at dog … owner is not liable for bite injuries if he or she had displayed—in a prominent place on the property—an easily readable sign that includes the words “Bad Dog.” Note that such a sign won't protect an owner if the dog bite victim is under six years of age, or if the owner was negligent in connection with the incident. The chart below provides you with a plain language summary of the statutes that comprise Florida's dog bite laws, with links to important code sections. This law is in place if the incident occurs while the person is in a public place or anywhere private, they are legally allowed. Florida follows a "strict liability" theory in this regard. This means that a dog owner is held accountable whenever their dog bites another person, even if there was no previous sign that the dog would bite. Another thing to note is that if you live in an area with “dangerous dog” laws, your dog will most likely be put to sleep whether the other owner seeks that action or not. If your dog has never been bitten by another dog, consider yourselves lucky. Finally, under section 767.04, a dog owner is not liable for bite injuries if he or she had displayed—in a prominent place on the property—an easily readable sign that includes the words “Bad Dog.” Note that such a sign won't protect an owner if the dog bite victim is under six years of age, or if the owner was negligent in connection with the incident. In Florida dog bite cases, a lawsuit must ordinarily be filed in the Florida court system within four years of the date on which the plaintiff sustained the dog bite injury. Does the Type of Animal Affect a Bite Injury Case? Unlike Florida’s laws relating to automobile accidents and other types of injuries, dog bite victims in Florida can pursue a claim or case for injuries and damages without the requirement of proving fault or negligence on the part of the dog owner. Florida law (Statute 767.04) states: D og owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten. Since the owner of a dog that bites you can be strictly liable for your injuries, you may not have to prove negligence. Florida's law on "Damages by Dogs" states that a dog owner is liable for any damages that results from his dog biting a person, whether in public or private, including in the owner's home. Under Florida law,1 dog owner is civilly liable for injuries to another person if the owner’s dog bites another person and the victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place. Florida Dog Bite Law. Florida is a "strict liability" state when it comes to dog bites. It has previously determined to be dangerous; or, It has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inflicted severe injury; or, It has, when unprovoked, chased or menaced a person on any public areas (streets, sidewalks, parks, etc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. This statute only covers injuries caused by dog bites. 767.04 Dog owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten.—. 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 … Firefox, or On the other hand, if you have been injured in a dog attack, you have rights. In addition to civil liabilities, dog owners can also be subjected to criminal penalties, especially if your dog is considered a dangerous animal. A dog that has seriously injured or killed another animal more than once. While your dog's behavior may be unexpected or perhaps provoked, as a Floridian you are strictly liable for any damage or injury caused. Are you a legal professional? If you've been bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do -- after getting the contact information of the owner (if nearby) -- is seek medical attention. Get started on recovering for damages for the dog bite today by having a personal injury attorney in Florida review your case. Am I Legally Responsible If My Dog Bites Someone? According to the Florida Statutes §767.04, Florida law makes it clear that the owner of any dog that bites another person while they are on public property, or lawfully on private property, is liable for the damages a victim suffered. Whether you're a Florida dog owner, or you've been bitten or otherwise harmed by someone else's dog, laws related to dog bite liability and lawsuits may be of interest to you. Please try again. If your dog has previously attacked someone, it may have been declared a dangerous dog and criminal penalties are more likely to apply. In this article, we'll discuss: A statute of limitations is a law that places a strict deadline on your right to file a lawsuit in your state's civil court system. If you try to file your lawsuit after the four-year deadline has passed, the court will almost certainly dismiss it, unless the circumstances call for a rare extension of the filing deadline. If your dog kills another dog, and you were not at fault, there’s probably nothing for you to do. Florida’s Dog Bite Statute. the statute of limitations deadline for filing a dog bite lawsuit in Florida's civil court, Florida's dog bite statute and its status as a "strict liability" state for dog bite injuries, and, defenses a Florida dog owner might be able to raise in response to a, that person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place (. Our dogs are part of our families so it can be easy to forget that they're really animals and not people. Get a Legal Review of Your Florida Dog Bite Situation. Most of the time these criminal charges will be misdemeanors, but felony charges may apply in cases of serious injury or death. A dog owner in Florida is strictly liable for the actions of his or her dog. We recommend using These Florida statutes outline the state's dog provisions, which mainly cover dangerous dog/dog bite laws. A claim for dog bite injuries would be considered a personal injury lawsuit, and Florida's statute of limitations on personal injury cases (Florida Statutes section 95.11) gives you four years to get this kind of case started (that means filing a personal injury complaint in court). Our dog bite lawyers in Florida can help you pursue compensation from the owner of a dog who attacked you or a loved one. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. The "clock" starts running on the day of the injury. LawInfo provides free Florida pet law legal information. When something sets them off, your cuddly ball of fur may go all Rambo on you and attack or bite someone. Trying to decipher when a person is liable for their dog’s actions can be hard to understand. In other words, a Florida dog owner may be held liable if his or her dog bites someone, even if the owner had no prior knowledge or warning that the dog might bite. When a dog bites you in Florida, the dog’s owner is responsible for all of the damages including any medical condition that may develop later as a result of the attack. The dog is a hunting dog; The dog was engaged in legal dog training or exhibitions Florida Dog Bite Laws In Florida, if a dog bites a person or another pet, the owner is held strictly liable. Search, Animal Attack and Dog Bite Claim Resources. Copyright © 2021, Thomson Reuters. If you or your child have been bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, seek immediate medical attention and contact a personal injury lawyer … Liability Statute. The only exceptions are if a hound is provoked or if a dog bites you while you’re trespassing. For instance, a person who is knocked down and injured by a dog may be able to hold the owner liable for failing to properly restrain the dog. §767.04, the dog bite provision, in 1949. Any attempt to attack or endanger a person is also considered dangerous behavior. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. Florida's dog bite statute, which can be found at Florida Statutes section 767.04, says that a dog owner is liable for injuries if: This statute only covers injuries caused by dog bites. This liability may be reduced if the bite is because of the negligence of the person bitten. Different kinds of cases are subject to different deadlines. I Found One Of My Animals Being Attacked By Another Dog And I Killed That Dog. Dog bite common law only held dog owners liable when the owner had reason to know that their dog was dangerous. 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. Florida Dog Bite Laws. Overview of Florida dog bite law ... A dog owner is also liable if their dog bites and injures someone else’s pet or livestock. When Dogs Injure Other Dogs. First, if the bitten person was on the owner’s private property unlawfully, the owner will likely not be held liable. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select, Please enter a legal issue and/or a location. So a dog owner could argue that the injured person was trespassing and therefore not entitled to collect damages. If you find yourself on either side of a dog bite claim as the animal's owner or as someone who suffered a bite injury it may be time to discuss your situation with a, percentage of blame assigned to the injured person, Tips for Getting the Best Personal Injury Settlement. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. In Florida, the answer is usually yes. 16 From its inception, this provision imposed strict liability, removing the need for victims to prove the “former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.” While Florida’s statute for dog bites does exercise strict liability, there are a couple of instances in which a dog owner may not be held liable if their dog bites another person. Florida is a strict liability state for dog bites. In Florida, dog owners are liable for any injury their dog inflicts on a person. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. 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