Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Florida Man Victim of Pit Bull Attack While Doing Yard Work: Florida Dog Attack Laws Put Strict Liability on Dog Owner

The Sun Sentinel is reporting today about an elderly gentlemen in Palatka who died in a Gainesville, Florida, hospital after suffering a vicious dog attack that resulted in one of his arms being severed and another almost being pulled from his body. The dogs, identified as either pit bulls or pit bull mixes, were owned by his neighbor. Seems they got out of their yard and attacked the man as he was doing yard work.

What a terrible thing to have happen to anyone. Unfortunately, dog attacks and dog bites are all too commonplace in Florida - and across the country.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 4,500,000 people are bitten by dogs every year in this country, and 20% of those folk need medical attention as a result of the bites.

Many of these dog bites involve certain breeds, and the pit bull is among the most feared breeds for dog attacks in Florida and the U.S. In fact, there is one website dedicated to recording all media reports of pit bull dog attacks, state by state, and you can visit it for a listing of pit bull attacks throughout Florida since 2009: www.pitattacksbystate.com.

Florida Laws Protect Dog Attack Victims With Personal Injury Lawsuits and Damage Claims
In Florida, the law stands ready to protect victims of dog attacks or dog bites. Anyone harmed by a dog in the State of Florida can sue for damages based upon the the dog bite laws (see below) as well as the common law bases of negligence or intentional tortious injury.

Here is the Florida Dog Bite Law (Fla. Stat. 767.01, 04):

Dog owner's liability for damages to persons, domestic

Dog owner's liability for damages to persons bitten.--The owner of any767.04 dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words "Bad Dog." The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
767.01 animals, or livestock.--Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of "domestic animal" and "livestock" as provided by s. 585.01.

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