Dog Bite Claims in Hollywood: What Victims Need to Know

Dog bites can lead to serious injuries and significant medical expenses, and as a victim, you need to be aware of your legal rights and what kind of compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. This blog post will provide an in-depth look at the legalities surrounding dog bite claims in Hollywood, Florida.

Understanding Florida’s Dog Bite Law

Florida’s dog bite law is primarily governed by Florida Statutes Section 767.04. This law establishes that Florida is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. Here’s a more detailed look at what this means and how it applies:

Strict Liability

Under the principle of “strict liability,” a dog owner in Florida is liable for damages if their dog bites someone, regardless of whether the dog has previously been classified as “dangerous” or has bitten someone before. This is a significant departure from the “one bite” rule followed in other states, where an owner is only held liable if they knew or should have known about their dog’s dangerous propensities.

Florida Statute 767.04 applies even if the dog bite occurs on the owner’s property, as long as the victim was there lawfully. However, the law does not apply if the person bitten was unlawfully on the property at the time of the bite.

Comparative Negligence

While Florida’s dog bite law is based on strict liability, it also incorporates the concept of “comparative negligence.” This means that if the victim’s actions contributed to the bite incident, their damages may be reduced by a percentage equal to their share of the blame.

For example, if the victim was teasing or provoking the dog, this could be considered comparative negligence. The court or insurance adjuster will determine the victim’s percentage of fault, and their compensation will be reduced accordingly.

It’s important to note that the comparative negligence rule does not absolve the dog owner of liability. Even if the victim is found to be partially at fault, the dog owner may still be held liable for a portion of the damages.

understand your legal rights after a dog bite

Dangerous Dog Classification

While Florida’s dog bite law does not require a dog to have been previously classified as “dangerous” for the owner to be held liable, Florida does have laws regarding dangerous dogs. Under Florida Statute 767.11, a dog can be classified as “dangerous” if it has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inflicted severe injury on a human being.

Owners of dogs classified as “dangerous” have additional responsibilities under Florida law, including specific enclosure requirements and having to post visible warning signs.

Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Hollywood

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Hollywood, Florida, it’s important to understand the steps involved in filing a claim.

Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost, seek medical attention immediately. Not only is this crucial for your health, but medical records also serve as important evidence in your dog bite claim. Documenting the severity of your injuries can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Report the Incident

Report the incident to local authorities. This typically involves contacting Broward County Animal Services and possibly the local police department. Reporting the incident can provide official documentation that the bite occurred, which can be beneficial when filing a claim.

Gather Evidence

Collect as much evidence as possible. This includes photographs of your injuries, witness statements, and any available information about the dog and its owner. If possible, gather information about the dog’s breed and any history of aggressive behavior. This evidence can be crucial in establishing the owner’s liability.

Consult with a Hollywood Dog Bite Lawyer Right Away

Before filing your dog bite claim, it’s highly recommended you consult with a lawyer at Klotzman Law Firm who specializes in personal injury or dog bite cases. We will guide you through the process and help maximize your potential compensation.

Contact us at 954-915-7405 for a free case review with a Hollywood, Florida dog bite attorney.