Although dogs can constitute loving pets, canine attacks occur every day throughout Florida. If you have never been bitten by a dog, you might be inclined to assume that most dog bites inflict only minor injuries. However, approximately 4.5 million people experience dog bites annually in the U.S. Almost one in five of these individuals suffer an infection. In 2015, 28,000 people suffered dog bite injuries so severe that they needed reconstructive surgery. While dog bite victims in Florida might have the right to assert strict liability claims against a dog owner or keeper, the actions of the victim often are asserted as a defense. In this blog post, our Miami dog bite lawyers analyze an appellate court decision from last year that allowed a lawsuit to move forward to trial after the defendant attempted to shift financial responsibility to the dog bite victim.
The plaintiff was injured by guard dogs obtained by the defendant company K-9 to secure the premises of a business in the neighborhood. When a K-9 worker returned the next morning to feed the dogs, the employee discovered the business had been burglarized, which allowed the dogs to escape the premises. The plaintiff discovered the guard dogs in her backyard. She mistakenly assumed the dogs for friendly pets of a nearby neighbor. She kept the dogs secured in her yard where she fed and sheltered the animals. Although she had two pet dogs of her own they were kept segregated in her home. In attempting to return the dogs to the owner, she notified the neighborhood watch and contacted the local animal shelter. Continue reading →