Our Miami personal injury attorneys report that State Representative Greg Steube, a Republican from Sarasota, has filed legislation that could change Florida’s laws concerning serious dog bites. The bill comes in response to a case arising out of Bradenton involving a dog named Padi. Padi, a Labrador mix, bit off part of a child’s ear over the summer. He was condemned to euthanasia under Florida’s current law that requires all dogs that inflict serious injury to another person be put to sleep. No exceptions exist under the law. Many were outraged by the law’s implications for Padi due to the circumstances of the attack. Apparently, Padi was in his owner’s office when a child, under the care of a babysitter, entered and began throwing toys at the dog. Accounts differ from here, with some believing the child lunged at Padi and others saying he went to grab a toy near the dog. In either case, the incident raised further awareness as to the plight of dogs that bite.
Steube’s bill would offer exceptions in the event the person injured was unlawfully on the property or was abusing the dog. The bill would not actually help Padi, whose case is currently before a local court and could move to the court of appeal.
Dog Bites and Strict Liability in Florida
Florida law holds that the owner of any dog who bites someone in a public place or a private place where they are lawfully present will be liable for the injuries inflicted, regardless of whether the owner knew of the dog’s propensities to viciousness. This is known as strict liability. Strict liability does have a few limitations. If the owner of the dog had a “bad dog” sign displayed prominently on the property, the owner may not be liable for injuries inflicted by the dog. A personal injury attorney can advise you further as to this exception. The exception will generally not come into play if the victim is under the age of six.
Further, Florida is a comparative negligence state, meaning that any negligence on the part of the dog bite victim can reduce the owner’s liability. For instance, if the victim negligently tossed an object near the angry dog, provoking the attack, the victim’s recovery would likely be reduced accordingly.
Injured dog bite victims may be eligible to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the attack.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Exceptional Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack or another incident involving negligence, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano are here to help. We have over 130 collective years of experience representing personal injury accident victims across the state. From the moment you contact our firm, we will fight to see that your case receives the dedication and attention it deserves. We received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald ranked us as a top firm in South Florida. Put our exceptional personal injury attorneys to work on your case. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.