Having recently moved into a new neighborhood full of many various breeds of dogs, I decided that I needed to learn more about dog bite laws. I checked with a local dog bite attorney in Orlando to learn more about dogs and dog bite laws. Since I believe that this is an important issue, I decided to ask the Orlando dog bite attorney if he could answer a few frequently asked questions for me that I can share in this short article. The reason I am so curious is that I personally know a little girl from our home state who was bitten on her face by a dog. Having three young children myself, knowing the dog laws and dog bite laws of Florida is important to me so I can know what to expect should anything happen. This article will benefit dog owners as well so they can take adequate steps and measures to ensure their dog doesn’t harm someone.
My neighbor has a “Beware of Dog” sign posted on his fence. Would that sign affect the outcome of a lawsuit if my child gets bitten by the dog?
No. A sign should not deter you from filing a lawsuit, especially if the victim is a child under the age of six. While there is a bad dog exception to the law of liability, it’s still a good idea to hire a dog bite attorney in Orlando. Let the court decide if the bad dog exception applies, depending on the circumstances of the particular case. If the dog is registered as dangerous, the court will need to decide if the owner failed in his responsibilities, which is a criminal matter which could be beneficial to the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit.
I’ve heard about a Dangerous Dog statute. Can you explain that to me?
If a dog has been determined by law to be dangerous, the owner is required to take specific measures. The dog owner will be required to register the dog with the local authorities, including Animal Control and the police department. Warning signs are required, such as what you asked about previously, but at each entrance of a secure area the dog is required by law to be kept in. Outside of the secured area, the dog needs to be muzzled and kept on a lease or harness, and handled by an adult.
I’ve also heard about a one bite rule. What is that about?
Scienter is the legal term for the one bite rule. If a dog has a history of biting, people other than the dog owner could be held liable if they knew about the dog’s history. For example, if a dog that has previously bitten someone is given away or sold to someone else, the original owner can be held liable for any injuries should the dog bite again.
Are there any other circumstances I should know about?
In regards to children and dogs, there could be circumstances in which the dog owner may try to prove that the child taunted or teased the dog into biting him. This is called Comparative Negligence and does not apply to children under the age of six who should know better than to tease and taunt a dog. The courts have determined that children ages six and over should understand that they should not provoke dogs, even though they don’t necessarily know what the word provoke means. The best advice I can give you as a dog bite attorney in Orlando is to educate your children as to the appropriate behaviors they need to have when a dog is in their presence.