Dog owners have a responsibility for the behavior of their pets. According to the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), Americans own approximately 77.5 million dogs as household pets, and, every year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. While not every bite leads to a significant personal injury, dog bites account for 316,000 emergency room visits yearly.
If you were bitten or injured by a dog, a St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers can help you understand how you can be compensated for your injuries. Call (855) 529-0269 today.
Florida Dog Bite Statute
Florida statutes governing injuries due to dog bites state that the dog owner is liable for any personal injuries to another party if:
- Their dog bites another person
- That person is in a public location, or lawfully in a private location
- The person did not provoke the dog in any way
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Strict Liability Laws
Florida’s laws regarding dog bites are considered strict liability laws. Ultimately, this means that even if a dog owner had no warning, knowledge, or indication their pet might bite another person, they will still be held liable.
Under Florida law, it does not matter if the dog ever exhibited aggressive tendencies prior to the dog bite, or if the dog ever acted viciously prior to the attack. This differs from some states that have a “one bite” rule, which allows the dog owner to have a bit of protection if the dog has never attacked or bit anyone previously.
There are some exceptions to Florida’s strict liability laws regarding dog bites. If a person trespassed on private property, or if a police or military dog was performing within the context of their official duties, the strict liability laws do not apply. However, if you were bitten by a dog outside of these circumstances, a St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer can work with you to create a strong case for your personal injury claim.
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“Bad Dog” Signs
A unique tenant of the Florida statute 767.04 states that there is no liability to the dog owner if the victim is over the age of 6 years old, the dog bite occurred on the owner’s property, and the owner posted a “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog” sign in plain view. These specific circumstances will exculpate a dog owner from the strict liability laws regarding dog bites.
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Dangerous Dog Laws
Under Florida Statute 767.11, if a dog has ever bitten, attacked, or in any way endangered another person before, then the dog will be classified as a “dangerous” dog. Additionally, under certain city codes and ordinances, some areas of Florida have banned specific breeds of dogs completely.
If a dog is designated as a dangerous dog under Florida law, the dog owner must then register the dog with the appropriate authorities in Florida, keep the dog in a secure, enclosed space, and post warning signs at all points of entry where the dog is kept. Additionally, the dog must be tagged with a permanent identification that the animal is dangerous, such as an electronic implant. If the dangerous dog then bites or attacks a person, the dog owner can be charged with a crime, up to and possibly including homicide.
Call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (855) 529-0269 if you were bitten or injured by a dog. Our St. Petersburg dog bite lawyers can help you understand how you can be compensated for your injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a Chalik & Chalik lawyer serving St. Petersburg, call (855) 529-0269
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Dog bites can be serious, possibly even deadly. Per the AHRQ, the average cost of a hospital stay related to a dog bite or attack was over $18,000. Depending on how vicious the attack was, the age and health of the victim, and the location of the dog bite, your personal injury could range from a mild scratch to an extreme medical emergency.
If you, or someone you love, was bitten by a dog, you should follow these steps:
- Contact 911. Immediate medical assistance can often mean the difference between a minor and major injury.
- If you do not call 911, then clean and disinfect the wound or laceration immediately using warm soapy water, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol. Cover the entire wound with clean bandages to prevent debris from getting in the wound or other secondary infections.
- If the laceration or wound appears infected, or if it is bleeding, apply bandages or towels to decrease the blood flow. If the blood flow does not stop shortly, seek immediate medical attention.
- Continually monitor the wound for any appearance of infection. Infection can present itself as redness, swelling, pus, and warmth to the touch.
If you decide not to call 911 emergency services, it is still vital that you seek medical attention immediately, as your condition may worsen. And depending on your circumstance, you may need to have a rabies shot, out of an abundance of caution. Your doctor or medical professional will be able to determine the proper course of action for your injuries.
Contact a St. Petersburg Dog Bite Lawyer Today
The state of Florida takes dog bites very seriously, and we can help you with your case. A St. Petersburg dog bite lawyer can recover for you any damages caused by the dog bite or attack, including lost wages, medical bills, or even possible emotional trauma. Even if you were injured by a dog in any way, bite or no bite, you may still have a strong personal injury claim if the dog owner acted negligently. Never hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights to compensation.
If you have suffered a personal injury from a dog bite in St. Petersburg, Florida, call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (855) 529-0269 to get started on your personal injury case and receive compensation as you recover from your injuries.v
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