Fort Myers Dog Bite Attorney
At The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., our seasoned and effective Fort Myers dog bite attorneys have decades of experience representing people injured by dangerous and unsupervised animals across the State of Florida. Florida dog owners have a responsibility to their guests as well as the public to keep their animals under control. If a Florida dog owner fails to take precautions to keep their pet in check, and you or a loved one gets injured as a result, our dog bite legal team is ready to help you recover for any injuries you have suffered.
Florida Dog Bite Law
In some states, an owner’s liability after their pet attacks someone depends on the nature of the animal. For instance, they will only be liable if they had reason to know that their dog was dangerous or vicious. Florida, on the other hand, is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. That means that if a dog bites a person, regardless of whether the owner already knew the dog had an aggressive or vicious nature, the owner may still be liable for the attack. Moreover, to seek liability for their injuries, a victim does not even need to prove that a dog owner acted negligently.
To recover damages from a pet owner after a Florida dog bite, the victim must only demonstrate that (1) the dog bit the victim, and (2) the victim was either in a public space or was lawfully present on private property. The victim need not show, for example, that the dog should have been secured by a leash but was left unattended, or that the dog had bitten other people in the past. This rule applies specifically to dog bites.
For other injuries caused by a pet outside of a dog bite, a dog attack victim may still hold an owner liable. If a victim can show that their injury was caused by the dog owner’s negligence or failure to use reasonable care, then they may seek damages. For example, if a dog owner should have kept a dog on a leash in public, they fail to do so, and the dog tackles someone to the ground, causing injury, then the injured party may have a claim for damages. A knowledgeable Florida animal attack attorney can help you establish a standard of care and negligence in order to demonstrate liability after an animal attack.
Defenses to Dog Bite Claims
Dog owners generally have two defenses to dog bite claims: Trespassing and comparative negligence. Trespassing attacks the “lawfully present” prong of a dog bite claim: If a victim was on private property illegally, such as if they were committing a burglary or otherwise on an owner’s property without their permission, then they cannot generally sue after being attacked by the property owner’s dog.
Florida also has a comparative negligence scheme when it comes to personal injury claims. If a victim’s own negligence caused a dog to attack, then their percentage of blame will be used to offset their total damages award. For example, if a party guest accidentally steps on a dog’s body and the dog reacts by biting, a jury may find that the guest was 20 percent at fault for the dog bite because they were not watching where they were going. If the guest sues and proves $1,000 in damages resulting from the bite, their recovery would be reduced by 20 percent to $800 as a result of their comparative fault for the injury.
Call For Help With Your Fort Myers Dog Bite Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite or other animal attack in Fort Myers, Orlando, or throughout Florida, reach out to an experienced Fort Myers dog bite lawyer for advice and representation. Contact the seasoned and talented Florida dog bite legal team at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., at 239-649-8050 today for a free consultation.