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What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Laws

Considering the gorgeous weather around the state, it is no surprise that children are out and about. Kids are on their bikes and skateboards, running around the neighborhood with their friends and exploring lakes and beaches. While it is great to enjoy the heat and blue skies, it also puts children at risk for coming into contact with less-than-friendly animals. Kids between the ages of 1 and 9 years old are at the highest risk for dog bites, according to the Florida Department of Health. If you or your child was injured from a dog bite, contact the Villages animal injuries attorneys at Oldham & Smith right away.

Florida Dog Bite Law

FLSA 766.04 lays out a dog owner’s liability if his or her pet injures someone. The law states that the owner of any dog that:

  • Bites a person,
  • While that person is in a public place,
  • Or is lawfully in a private place,
  • Is liable for damages suffered by the injured person,
  • Regardless of whether that dog was previously vicious or the owner knew of any previous viciousness.

What if the Attack Was in a Private Place?

To be lawfully within a private place, like someone else’s yard or house, the injured person must be there to perform a duty or have been expressly or impliedly invited. People who have a duty to be on someone’s private land include postal and utility workers. An express invitation is familiar to most people; for example, someone allowed you in their yard or home at that time. An implied invitation can arise when someone makes it clear that you can come onto their land or into their house at any time. Neighborhood children who tend to visit each other’s houses often may have an implied invitation.

Exceptions to an Owner’s Liability

The owner may not be liable if there was a sign posted on the property stating “Beware of Dog.” The sign needs to be prominent and easily readable. Though this exception is not effective if the injured person was under 6 years old at the time of the incident or if the owner was negligent in handling the dog.

Also, an owner may be less responsible for the injured person’s recovery if the injured person had some amount of responsibility for the attack.

How a Tavares Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help

If you or your child was bitten by a dog and now you are dealing with emotional difficulties and medical bills, it is time to speak with an experienced attorney about how you can hold the dog’s owner responsible for the attack. Contact or call Oldham & Smith at (352) 292-1620 to learn how we can guide you through the process of recovering from insurance or heading to court, if necessary.

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