Are dog owners always liable for dog bite injuries?
Having a pet is an important responsibility. Not only are you in charge of the animal’s well-being, but pet owners also have a duty to keep other people safe from the animal. In most cases, this is as easy as keeping an animal properly restrained and teaching it to obey commands.
But there are times when animals — particularly dogs — end up biting someone. They may do this out of fear, anxiety, confusion, aggression or fun, but the end result is generally the same: injuries that require medical attention. In most cases, the owner of the dog can and should be held accountable for damages resulting from the bite. This is not always the case, however.
According to Florida dog bite laws, dog owners are liable, to at least some extent, for injuries to bite victims in many cases. The percentage of liability can be decreased if the victim was also negligent. For instance, if someone was teasing the dog or otherwise provoking a potentially violent response, the dog owner’s liability will likely be decreased.
There are instances when a dog owner could avoid liability altogether. For example, if a dog bites a trespasser, the owner may not be liable for damages.
A dog owner could also avoid legal liability if he or she took steps to warn people about a potentially dangerous dog. This would include signage that notified people of the presence of a “bad dog.”
Outside of these situations, you may very well have grounds to pursue a legal claim against a dog’s owner if you or a loved one has been bitten. Before you make any decisions or come to any agreements with the dog owner, you would be wise to discuss your legal rights and options with an attorney who is familiar with Florida premises liability laws.
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