Florida’s Dog Bite Law & Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that dogs bite 5.4 million Americans each year. Often times, dog bites result in injuries that call for extensive care. Children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog. In fact, children between the ages of five and nine are common victims of dog bites. Before navigating a claim for injury, parents of a child bitten by a dog should understand Florida’s complex dog bite laws.
Florida Bite Law is Strict Liability
Florida dog bite law follows a theory of strict liability. This means that the injured person does not have to prove that they may have caused the dog to bite. The dog owner may be liable if his or her dog bit someone. This is true even if the owner had no prior knowledge that the dog might bite. Interestingly, in Florida dog owners are responsible for injuries suffered by a dog bite victim whether the victim is a person or another animal. The rules regarding dogs bits are slightly different when a child is involved.
Important Considerations: Comparative Negligence?
Florida does consider comparative negligence when a child sustains a dog bite injury. First a court must determine whether a child provoked a dog and caused the accident. If a child is under the age of six, the Florida courts presume that child was not capable of being negligent. If a child is over six, a court will decide whether the child was capable of understanding the danger and avoiding the injury. If a court finds a child caused the dog bite the result could be decreased compensation for the child’s injury. Similarly, a court will also determine whether a parent failed to properly supervise their child. This means that the child’s parent could be the cause of the injury.
What is the dog was dangerous?
These considerations may matter less to a court if a dog was a known “dangerous dog”. Florida’s dangerous dog law requires owners to take special actions. If a dog is dangerous, the dog must be kept in a secure area that has warning signs. The owner must restrain the dog with a muzzle and a harness or leash. Injuries caused by a dangerous dog may also result in criminal charges against the owner.
Dog Bite Victims Deserve Compensation
Nearly one out of five dog bites becomes infected. Furthermore, a dog bite victim may need physical therapy or psychological care. Parents of children bitten by a dog must take time away from work to ensure their child receives the care that they need. Additionally, insurance may not cover all of the expenses related to a child’s injury. If your child is the victim of a dog bite in Miami, then you will need assistance from a personal injury attorney with experience with navigating Florida’s dog bite injury laws.
The personal injury lawyers at our office will use their experience to help you ensure your child has a full recovery and seek compensation for your losses. Please call Alan Goldfarb, P.A. at (305) 371-3111 or call toll-free at (866)936-9761 to discuss your case.