What to Do if Your Child Has Been Bit or Attacked by a Neighbor’s Dog
No parent likes to see his or her child get hurt, but when harm does befall a little one, that child’s parents are forced to tell their child to “walk it off and forget about it,” mostly because that is what they themselves must do. When a child is hurt by another little kid at preschool, or when he or she falls and scrapes his or her knee, or even when he or she goes through his or her first breakup, parents must stand by and watch their child work through the pain on his or her own. After all, pain is a byproduct of life.
That said, there are a few instances in which a parent does not have to sit by and watch as his or her child suffers. When a dog bites or attacks is one of them. While some dog bites result in nothing more than a flesh wound, others can result in significant scarring, infection, or life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, Florida is one of the few states that does not have a “one bite free” law. If a dog bites in Florida, the dog’s owner can be held liable for ensuing costs and damages.
If your child was injured by a vicious dog and if you want to make sure that the dog’s owner is held liable for your child’s pain, suffering, and expenses, reach out to the Tampa dog bite attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian to learn more about your legal options.
Florida’s Dog Leash Law
In accordance with Florida law, dog owners are required to keep their dogs on leashes whenever out in public with said pooches. Moreover, the leash must fit. This part of the law is strict and specifies that all animals—not just dogs—must wear a specially manufactured and properly fitted harness or leash when out in public. If a dog slips out of his or her leash because the collar is too big or because it was not intended for his or her particular breed, the owner can still be held liable for ensuing damages.
Finally, it is not enough for dogs to be on a leash. Dogs must be in the hands, so to speak, of their owners at all times. If an owner cannot control his or her dog when the dog is on a leash, the owner should not bring that dog out in public.
Florida’s Strict Liability Law
Unlike many other states in which a dog must be shown to be violent in order for liability laws to apply, if a person is bit in Florida, the dog’s owner is automatically liable. Of course, as in all personal injury cases, damages are not the only factor the victim must prove.
If the dog bite victim is an adult, he or she must prove that he or she was lawfully on the property on which he or she got. If the victim was bit in public, proving that is easy to do. Moreover, the victim must prove that he or she was not negligent and nor did he or she provoke the dog in any way. If the dog’s owner can prove negligence on behalf of the victim, the victim can still recover compensation, but it will be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to him or her. Finally, if the dog’s owner had a sign in place that warned invitees and trespassers alike about a “bad dog” on the premises, the owner cannot be held liable.
The laws are slightly different for child victims. A child cannot be assumed negligent, and nor can a child be expected to read a “bad dog” sign. If a child is bit, the dog’s owner is almost guaranteed to assume all or the majority of responsibility.
Let a Skilled Tampa Dog Bite Attorney Protect Your Child’s Rights
If your little one was bit by a neighbor’s dog, both you and he or she has rights. Reach out to the experienced Tampa dog bite lawyers at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian regarding your case and to discuss possible legal remedies.