/rueziffra.com/Allan Ziffra- Dog Bite Injury Attorney/ 06/03/2009
With the number of injury-related dog bite attacks approaching five million a year, it is critical that Floridians know their rights as potential victims and have a sense of awareness as to both the truths and myths surrounding the realities of a dog bite case. Unlike many other areas of tort law, the prevailing attitudes of our state’s legislature, the public and the insurance industry alike are quite favorable to dog-bite victims. Although the most significant and attention-drawing dog-bite cases involve scars and disfigurement, the attorneys at Rue & Ziffra regularly litigate both the severe and the more commonplace dog-bite cases.
There are a number of things that every Floridian needs to know when and if they experience an adverse encounter with a dog. Florida adheres to a strict liability statutory framework for imposing liability on dog owners when their pets become unruly. Liability is established by showing that 1) the defendant is the true owner of the dog, and 2) the attack occurred while the victim was in a public place or was lawfully in a private location. So, trespassers are excluded from the potential pool of victims afforded protection by the dog bite statute. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding each individual attack, there may have been an implied invitation sufficient to defeat the trespasser defense. Furthermore, potential recoveries will be reduced by any comparative negligence committed on the behalf of the plaintiff.
Some victims are inevitably animal lovers at heart and fear that making a claim for their injuries will result in the dog being euthanized. It is important for these people to know that if the victim does not press the issue with animal control, the dog will be in no danger of being taken from his home and/or being put down. Perhaps surprisingly, the dog bite statute applies exclusively to dog bites, so any wounds and injuries inflicted by way of the animal lashing out and scratching the victim do not fall within the ambit of our state’s statute. It is also common practice for defense counsel to assert what is referred to as the “provocation defense” in the context of a dog-bite case. Especially if the dog does not have a track record for being aggressive or dangerous, the defense attorney will likely assert that the victim must have provoked the dog to attack on the occasion in question. The skilled and experienced legal team at Rue & Ziffra knows the importance of establishing their client’s credibility and relies on the statistics to show that provocation is an extremely unlikely cause of the attack. Specifically, research has proved that a mere 6.5 percent of all dog attacks are the result of victim provocation.
At Rue & Ziffra, our Florida dog bite lawyers have experience in successfully litigating dog-bite injury claims under our state’s statutory strict liability framework along with securing favorable settlements under theories of common law strict liability, negligence and negligence per se (i.e. negligence accompanied with a violation of a city or county ordinance). If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, contact the Orlando personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, P.A., at 1-800-526-4711 or visit our Florida dog bite injury attorney website to learn more about dog-bite claims at www.RueZiffra.com.
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