Unlike states with a “one-bite rule,” Florida law states that dog owners are strictly liable any time their dog bites another person, regardless of whether or not the dog has previously displayed aggressive or vicious behavior. This means that if you are bitten by a dog it is possible to collect damages from the dog’s owner, even if they had no idea the dog would bite. (Statutory exceptions include cases in which the bitten person was trespassing on private property).
However, we here at Rudez PL believe that it is always better to avoid injury when possible. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can protect you and your family from dog bites.
- Avoid leaving children alone with dogs. And, yes, this includes your family pet. According to the Florida Department of Health, more than half of dog bites occur in the home and involve a dog known to the family.
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog. This especially applies to dogs that are unaccompanied by a person, whether they are strays, or pets that got loose from their owners. But, even if a dog is with its owner, it may bite if it feels scared or threatened. Teach your children to always ask the owner before approaching a dog, and to let the dog smell their hand before petting.
- If you do find yourself in a situation where you think a dog might attack, Don’t run. Often when a dog feels scared or threatened, their natural instincts will kick in. If you run from them, they may assume you are now prey and chase after you.
- Do not interfere with a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. These are times when a dog feels most vulnerable, and therefore they are more likely to react if they are startled or scared.
Dogs may be Man’s Best Friend. But, remember that they are still animals and any animal can bite. Respect your dog and other dogs you meet, and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid a dog bite.
If you or a loved one are victim to a dog bite, call Rudez PL at 844-RUDEZLAW for a FREE consultation with Attorney Dan Rudez. Dan speaks Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian (Bosanski, hrvatski, Српски).