Miami Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
According to the Florida Department of Health, more than 600 people in Florida seek medical treatment for dog bites or attacks annually. While only a very small percentage of these attacks turn deadly, they leave many Miami residents nursing severe injuries. Children in the area are especially prone to dog attacks.
If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog and suffered a serious injury, call me, dog bite injury lawyer Jared Newman, today. Every case and every injury is unique, so I can take the time to speak with you to discuss your legal options. For a free consultation, call my firm, Jared Newman, Esq., today at 954-866-1790.
Are Pet Owners Liable For Dog Bites In Miami?
Under Florida law, Miami dog owners can be held responsible for the damage their pets cause to other people, domestic pets and livestock. Furthermore, dog owners can be held liable for any harm their dogs cause to another person on public property or an individual lawfully on private property. Under these circumstances, the owner is not required to have any previous knowledge of an animal’s vicious nature or behavior.
In some states, the law requires that a dog owner have some knowledge that their animal presents a danger to others. These types of laws are often referred to as “one-bite rules.” Under these laws, if a dog has never bitten a person before or shown signs of vicious behavior, a pet owner is not liable the first time a dog attacks someone. Fortunately, this is not the case in Miami.
Under Miami law, dog owners are subjected to strict liability for the behavior of their animals. Therefore, a dog owner does not have to have any previous knowledge of a dog’s behavior to be held liable for a dog bite. Miami residents do not have to suffer one “free bite” before someone has the right to hold a dog owner accountable. Another way Miami law protects residents from injuries caused by dogs is by requiring that pet owners keep their animals on leashes.
Therefore, in most cases, I would not be required to prove that an attack resulted from a lack of reasonable care. However, a plaintiff would still have to establish that they were bitten and injured by an unprovoked dog attack.
Comparative Negligence And Miami Dog Bites
Even though Miami law imposes a strict liability system when dealing with dog bite injuries, there are exceptions. A person has a legal right to seek financial compensation if they were bitten by a dog in a public place or while they were lawfully on private property. For example, if a person was bitten while walking along the beach or when invited to a neighbor’s pool party, they have legal recourse. However, if someone is trespassing on private property, then the dog owner would argue that any fault should lie solely on the trespassing plaintiff. However, this does completely shield an owner from liability. In situations where a person entered private property, ignored a “beware of dog” sign or even provoked an animal, the owner could still be held responsible for any injuries that occurred. Even if you do not believe you have a case, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Miami dog bite injury attorney.
Florida, and therefore Miami, follows the comparative negligence system in personal injury cases. Under this legal system, a judge or jury will apportion blame between all the parties involved in the case. The potential compensation award would reflect the relative faults of the plaintiff and defendant.
To illustrate this concept, imagine that you are walking down the street and accidentally trip over a dog. Reacting to your behavior, the dog bites your leg, causing significant damage. Because Miami has a strict liability law for dog bites, the owner automatically shares some of the blame. However, a jury could find that your conduct contributed to the dog attack. So, in this case, a jury might find that you were 10% liable for the injury, reducing any compensation award by that percentage. Therefore, if you were awarded $10,000, you would receive $9,000.
In cases where a plaintiff provoked a dog, they could still recover through Miami’s comparative negligence system. For example, if a person is trespassing and purposefully pulls a dog’s tail, which results in a bite, the owner will still be held liable under Miami’s strict liability law. However, in this case, the plaintiff’s behavior is far from innocent. A jury could find that the plaintiff was 95% at fault. Under Florida’s system, the plaintiff is still entitled to receive compensation. However, it will be reduced to only 5% of the total award. Therefore, even if you believe you were at fault, you should contact an experienced Miami dog bite attorney before admitting responsibility – especially as there could be mitigating or intervening factors.
Other Injuries Caused By Dogs In Miami
Miami’s strict liability law only pertains to dog bites. However, dogs could cause injuries in other ways. If a dog is off its leash and causes you to crash on a bicycle, you suffered an injury because of the dog’s behavior. Under these circumstances, it is still possible to hold the dog owner liable for your injuries, but the dog owner will not be held to strict liability. This means that I will have to prove that the owner was negligent or failed to use reasonable care in preventing their animal from hurting someone else.
Call My Firm For A Free Legal Consultation
Dogs are often playful. However, in some cases, they are dangerous and could bite an unsuspecting person. At Jared Newman, Esq., I represent individuals who have been hurt by a dog and work to hold negligent pet owners liable for their animals. Call my office at 954-866-1790 to schedule a free consultation.