Boynton Beach Dog Bite Lawyer
Florida’s dog bite law is not as generous as the dog bite laws in some other states, which allow one bite before the owner is found liable if the dog has never bitten anyone before. In Boynton Beach and throughout Florida, the owner of a dog that bites someone is liable for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Anyone sustaining a dog bite in Boynton Beach should immediately schedule a consultation with an experienced Boynton Beach dog bite lawyer to make a claim and recover damages. Skilled personal injury lawyers in Boynton Beach can help their client’s to pursue a strong claim.
Dangerous Dogs Law
Should a dog severely injure a person or a domestic animal, the law mandates that the dog is declared dangerous. If animal control authorities find the dog dangerous, it can be impounded or quarantined at the expense of its owner. If not impounded, the dog must be kept in a secure area.
The dog is not legally dangerous if the person it bit was trespassing or while legally on the property tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog or a family member.
There are two civil laws for Boynton Beach dog bite cases: strict liability and negligence.
Strict liability, used in product liability primarily and customarily applied to animals, allows the person who is bitten to sue and win damages without proving any wrongdoing or carelessness on the part of the dog’s owner, making the owner automatically liable for any injuries the dog causes. The bite mark itself is all that is necessary to prove strict liability.
The exception is if the person bitten was trespassing on the owner’s property or was provoking the dog when the dog caused the injury; in which case, damages may not be awarded.
Florida adopted the comparative negligence doctrine, which limits the number of damages by the assessed percent of fault the dog owner and the injured party bear. Proving the case under this doctrine is more involved than strict liability. For example, a party shown to be 30 percent at fault will receive 70 percent of the damages claimed.
Comparative negligence has five elements for the person bitten to prove and achieve damages:
- Duty of care: The dog owner has a legal responsibility not to cause harm to someone else
- Breach: The dog owner failed in that responsibility
- Cause in fact: The breach caused the dog to bite
- Proximate cause: But for the dog owner’s breach, the bite would not have happened
- Damages: The injury must have happened
If an individual injured by a bite is younger than six years old, the dog owner is liable. If the dog owner was not negligent and prominently placed a “bad dog” sign on the property, the person bitten then assumed the risk of a bite and cannot collect damages.
Filing a Boynton Beach Dog Bite Injury Claim
Retaining a Boynton Beach dog bite lawyer begins your case. The attorney will research county records to discover if the dog was, at any time, determined to be dangerous.
In conducting a thorough investigation of the bite event, your dog bite lawyer in Boynton Beach will question under oath the dog owner, family members, and any other witness to discover evidence in the bitten person’s favor. Expenses will be tallied so that full damages will be achieved.
Civil cases are routinely settled out of court, so the local personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. Your best chance at a strong case includes working with a skilled dog bite attorney right away.