Halloween turned truly terrifying in Florida this year when a 5-year-old girl was left in critical condition by a possible dog attack. The girl was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital after the incident, which left her barely conscious and bleeding in a Cocoa, FL yard. The young girl’s injuries are consistent with a dog attack, and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. It is unknown whether a criminal complaint will be filed, or if the girl’s family will file a civil suit against the owners of the dogs suspected in the attack. In this case, the girl and her family would likely benefit from speaking with a Florida personal injury attorney about options for recovering compensation.

Florida Has A Strict Liability Law With Regard To Dog Bites

Florida is unique in that it has a strict liability law with regard to dog bites. This means that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused when the dog bites another person, regardless of whether or not the owner had knowledge of dog posing a danger to others. This strict liability approach is less forgiving than in some other states, which generally only impose liability if the dog’s owner knew or had reason to know of dangerous propensities in the dog.

Provocation May Impact Jury Awards In Florida Dog Bite Cases

While Florida’s strict liability dog bite and animal attack law does protect attack victims, it also allows for juries to consider whether a dog or animal was provoked prior to attack. In doing, the jury assigns a percentage of responsibility to both the owner and the plaintiff. Thus, even though the owner, if found to be at fault, will be held liable, liability will be reduced if the plaintiff is found to have provoked the dog or animal prior to the attack. This assignment of percentages is a feature of Florida’s comparative negligence law. Importantly, however, an attack victim who was illegally on a dog owner’s property will be barred from recovery. This caveat is essentially the same as assigning 100 percent of the fault to the provoking act of trespass.

What To Do If You Have Been Attacked By A Dog Or Other Animal In The State Of Florida

Have you or your child been the victim of dog or animal attack in the state of Florida? If so, contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney today. An attorney will discuss the facts specific to the attack you suffered, explain your legal rights, and work to get the maximum compensation for any injuries you have sustained, as well as lost income due to missed work, medical treatment costs, and pain and suffering. The law firm of Reed & Reed has decades of experience helping individuals and families in Florida recover compensation for all types of personal injuries suffered as a result of the wrongful conduct of others.

Contact us today to learn how we can help. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, throughout east Hillsborough County and the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.