A graphic video was recently released to YouTube depicting a large dog biting a Florida woman’s face after she is drenched in cold water for the popular ice bucket challenge. The user who posted the video claims that the dog, which she describes as a pit bull, attacked her mother last year without provocation while they were videotaping the ice bucket challenge.
The video begins with footage of small children throwing pans of water on the victim who is dressed in red and seated on a lawn chair. The victim shouts and stands up. Then the unthinkable happens. From the right side of the camera, a large dog jumps up and grabs the woman by the face. The woman is dragged to the ground by the dog.
Our Miami personal injury lawyers found that the poster of the video, YouTube user emaustin102387, stated that the dog belonged to her sister who kept it for breeding purposes. The dog was euthanized after the attack. The user revealed that the victim decided to wait several months before posting the video. The end of the video depicts a picture of the victim with scars and stitches and an image of the dog.
Liability for Dog Attacks in Florida
Across the U.S., about 4.5 million people will suffer dog bites every year, resulting in 885,000 trips to emergency rooms and urgent care centers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 30,000 people who were attacked by dogs will need reconstructive surgery each year. Since about half of all dog bite victims are children, these statistics are distressing.
Dog bite victims in Florida may be able to recover for their losses associated with the attack, including medical expenses, lost wages, reconstructive surgery expenses, and more from the animal’s owner.
In Florida, a dog owner is strictly liable for the actions of their dog. This means that the owner can be held accountable for injuries inflicted by the dog even if they had no knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities or the dog had no bite history. The plaintiff will not generally have the burden of proof as to the defendant’s negligence.
There are some limitations to the strict liability theory. Florida will apply the laws of comparative negligence. As such, a dog owner might attempt to claim the victim played a role in the attack by provoking the dog or taking other like actions. The actions of the victim must exceed mere mistake and be intentional or reckless in nature. Only individuals over the age of six can be deemed partly responsible for the attack. If the court finds the victim partly responsible, his or her recovery will be reduced accordingly. A second exception is the “bad dog” exception. If the incident occurs on the owner’s property and there is a clear sign that displays “beware of dog,” the court may not find liability if the victim is over the age of six.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Justice for Dog Bite Victims
Dog attacks are traumatic for those involved, leaving lasting physical, emotional, and psychological scars. If you or a loved one has been injured by an animal, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are here to help. For over 130 collective years, we have assisted dog bite victims across South Florida. Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Allow us to put our skill and experience to work for you. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.