Florida Dog Bites and Your Rights

  • Sumo

By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
In Florida, a dog bite or attack is considered strict liability.
What this means is that regardless of any action taken by the dog’s owner, that owner is responsible if the dog attacks someone. Typically, the dog will be covered under the owner’s homeowner’s insurance regardless of whether the incident occurs on the home’s property. Often, homeowner’s insurance has a medpay provision, which pays for medical expenses up to a certain amount. If the damages go beyond that amount, then it may be a situation where the victim of the attack files a claim against the homeowner and the insurance will back up the homeowner with the money.
However, if the homeowner’s insurance has an exclusion clause for dogs, then the individual owner will be liable for said damages. While none of want to think of suing our neighbor, we often don’t want to think about losing the use our limb from a dog bite.
If you are the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, it is best to find out what your options are. It is also a good idea to see a doctor to determine your actual injuries. If you are approached within a few days of the bite by the dog’s owner, do not simply accept an amount from them in payment of your injuries. Sometimes injuries turn out to be worse than first assessed. With dog bites, unfortunately there is a significant chance of infection, so you do not want to accept less money and wind up with a more severe injury a few weeks later.
It is always a good idea to have a consult with an attorney to discuss your rights and the action you should take. In a case like this, Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. handles it on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we get you money.

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