Dogs have earned their title of “Man’s Best Friend.” When properly trained and cared for, they can be excellent companions. Dogs not only live among us as pets, but they offer benefits to people as therapy dogs and companion animals. Sometimes, unfortunately, dogs and other pets do not behave well among people. Often this is a result of mistreatment, neglect, or illness, but sometimes people train their dogs to be aggressive, and sometimes animals react unexpectedly. In these cases, the dogs’ owners are liable for the injuries the dogs cause to others. An experienced Florida animal attack victim attorney can help assess your damages and pursue your rights.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, Americans own about 78.2 million dogs, with thirty-nine percent of U.S. households owning one or more dogs. Of course people in Florida keep other kinds of pets besides dogs: cats, birds, hamsters, horses, and more. A substantial percentage of the injuries caused by animals are caused by dogs, however, and that is where the law places its focus.
Perhaps because of the special bond between humans and dogs, attacks by dogs seem especially heinous. Florida imposes strict liability on animal owners when their animal causes injury to another person, meaning that the owner’s liability is automatic. All the injured person must do is prove the amount of their damages. There are exceptions to this of course. When the injured person was partly at fault, such as when a person is unreasonably or unlawfully harming an animal in some way and the animal tries to protect itself, the owner’s liability would decrease. If an animal attacks a trespasser, the owner may not escape liability entirely, but it would be less than if the animal made an unprovoked attack on a person who had permission to be there.
Animal attacks often happen within the neighborhood where both the injured person and the animal live. This may raise concerns among neighbors about maintaining goodwill in the neighborhood. Homeowner’s insurance typically covers claims for animal attacks, and cities and counties usually have regulations governing dogs and other animals that have demonstrated aggressive tendencies. A few Florida cities and towns have enacted regulations affecting specific breeds of dogs, although the effectiveness of such laws remains in doubt.
The term “animal attacks” most often conjures images of bites by dogs or other animals. Dog bites are among the most common injuries sustained from animals, but injuries can also include scratches from animals’ claws or even bruises or broken bones if an animal collides with a person. A person could sustain injuries from a fall caused indirectly by an animal’s aggressive behavior, or a person could simply trip and fall at someone’s house when a dog gets underfoot. Under strict liability rules, an owner is liable for reasonable and foreseeable damages like puncture wounds, cuts, bruises, and the like.
The Deerfield Beach dog bite attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. represent people in Palm Beach and Broward County who have been injured due to animal attacks. Contact the firm through this website or at 954-428-9333 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.