A dog bite can be a distressing event for the victim. It doesn’t matter if a dog bite is mild or severe — it can have a physical and psychological impact on the victim that can result in lifelong injuries or a phobia of dogs.
In the State of Florida, filing charges against negligent dog owners is one option available to victims of dog bites. However, determining when it’s the right time to file charges after a dog bite is something that many dog bite victims are unclear about. As the top-rated dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida with a track record of success, Tonya Stewart and her legal team know everything there is to know about these types of cases. We are going to discuss some of the main things you should know below.
Liability under Florida dog bite laws
A dog owner is responsible for the actions of their pet in Florida. This means that anyone who has been injured by a dog may be able to claim compensation for their injuries from the dog’s owner. If charges are filed in such cases, it may be possible for dog bite victims to collect compensation for their injuries and mental suffering.
As any knowledgeable dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida will tell you, the ‘Sunshine State’ does not require a dog to exhibit signs of aggression before an owner may be held liable. It makes no difference in Florida whether a dog has ever shown signs of aggression before the owner can be held liable.
It is also worth mentioning that the dog owner can only be held responsible for their pet’s actions if the dog bite occurs in a public place or if the person who was bitten was lawfully on private property, such as the dog owner’s house. If someone trespasses on private property and gets bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner may not be liable for the injuries caused.
A dog owner’s liability for a dog bite can be eliminated under certain exceptions. When these exceptions are present, filing charges may not help you recover compensatory damages. These exceptions include:
- The dog bit someone who was trespassing on privately owned land.
- A sign with the words “Beware of Dogs” was put up.
In addition, Florida recognizes the concept of “comparative negligence,” which allows for the sharing of liability. If someone does something that causes a dog to bite them, they are liable for a percentage of the damages they were able to recover. The dog owner is still liable, but the amount of money they must pay to the injured party will be lowered according to their share of fault.
Charges must be filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations
When deciding whether to file charges, your dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida will advise you that the lawsuit should filed in a timely manner to comply with the statute of limitations. According to Florida law, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is four years from the date of the injury. If the case is not filed within this deadline, the court will likely dismiss it.
Choosing when to press charges is not an easy decision.
It can be tough to decide whether to press charges after a dog bite accident — especially when a family member or a friend owns the dog. Even so, if a dog owner refuses to accept fault, it may be necessary to partner with a dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida to file charges against them.
Looking for the Best Dog Bite Attorney in Lakeland Florida,?
Have you recently been the victim of a dog bite incident? If so, and if you would like to meet with the most trusted dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida, to discuss your options, Tonya Stewart Law is here to help. Contact Tonya Stewart Law PA today at (863) 279-4473 to schedule an appointment.