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Dog Bites

Pensacola Dog Bite Lawyers

Representing Victims of Serious Dog Attacks

Most dogs are beloved members of the family—but even the most trusted pet can still be unpredictable. When dogs bite, leading to serious injury or death, the dog owner can be held liable under Florida’s strict liability statute. In most cases, the victim or victim’s family does not need to prove that the dog owner was somehow negligent in preventing the bite. 

Bringing a successful dog bite claim against a dog owner, property owner, or another party can be challenging, especially without the help of a skilled lawyer. If you, your child, or someone you love has been injured in a dog attack, reach out to the Pensacola dog bite lawyers at the Law Office of J.J. Talbott. We have extensive experience handling these types of personal injury claims and can move quickly to protect your rights and your recovery.

Reach us online or by phone at (850) 695-8331 to schedule your initial consultation and case review with our legal team.

Understanding Florida’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Rule

Unlike some states that follow a “one-bite” rule when it comes to dog bites, Florida follows a plaintiff-friendly “strict liability” rule in these cases. 

This means that dog owners are generally considered liable for injuries caused by their dogs when both of the following are true:

  • The injury was caused by a dog bite 
  • The victim was in a public place, such as a park, or a private place, such as a home, with the private property owner’s expressed or implied permission 

If you were bitten by a dog, you do not need to prove that the owner knew about the dog’s propensity to bite in order to have a claim against the dog owner. You also do not have to prove that the dog had bitten anyone before or had acted aggressively in the past, nor do you have to prove that the dog owner acted negligently or negligently failed to act. 

Do Non-Bite Injuries Fall Under Strict Liability? 

Florida’s dog bite statute applies only to dog bites, not other injuries caused by dogs. However, if you suffered a non-bite injury, you could still have a claim for damages. 

Non-bite dog injury claims are generally brought on the grounds of negligence. As such, they are nearly identical to other types of personal injury claims in that you must prove that the defendant (i.e., the dog owner) owed you a duty of care but failed to uphold this duty of care, thereby causing your injuries and resulting damages. 

For example, if you were walking in a city park where leash laws were in effect, and you were knocked down by an unleashed dog that ran up to you as you were walking, causing you to suffer a broken wrist, scrapes, and a concussion, you could have a claim against the dog owner. In this case, you would be able to prove negligence by proving that the dog was off-leash, despite the presence of leash laws mandating the dog be leashed and under the control of its owner. 

What Defenses to Dog Bite Claims Do Dog Owners Have? 

Although strict liability dog bite rules tend to favor victims, dog owners do have some legal defenses to these claims. 

Under Florida law, a dog owner or property owner can defend against a dog bite claim by proving one of the following: 

  • Trespassing: If the victim was trespassing on private property when the bite occurred, they might not have a case. Under Florida’s dog bite statute, strict liability only applies when the bite occurs on public property or private property where the victim had the owner’s expressed or implied intent to be on the property. 
  • “Bad Dog” Signs: Dog owners and property owners can defend against claims by proving that a “bad dog” or similar warning sign was prominently displayed on the property where the bite occurred. Note that this does not apply in cases where the victim is under six years old or when the owner was negligent in relation to the incident. 
  • Comparative Negligence: A dog owner may avoid some degree of liability if they can prove that the victim was somehow negligent in relation to the bite. For example, the owner might claim that the victim provoked the dog into biting. In Florida, you can still recover compensation if you were partly at fault, but your recovery will be reduced. 

Common Dog Bite Injuries & Damages

Dog bites and attacks can lead to severe injuries and even deaths. This is especially true when the victim is a child, which, sadly, is often the case. Of the approximately 850,000 people who seek medical attention for dog bites each year in the U.S., about 400,000 are children

Some of the most common dog bite-related injuries include: 

  • Puncture wounds 
  • Broken bones 
  • Head and neck injuries 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Eye injuries 
  • Face injuries 
  • Broken skin 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Severe bleeding 
  • Scarring 
  • Disfigurement 
  • Tissue damage
  • Abrasions and lacerations 

To make matters worse, dog bites put victims at an increased risk of serious and even life-threatening complications, such as infections, rabies, tetanus, and more. 

The effects of a dog bite or attack can be extreme, often leading to significant physical, psychological, and financial challenges. At the Law Office of J.J. Talbott, we fight to hold dog owners and other liable parties accountable for all of our clients’ damages.

Depending on the specifics of your case, you could be owed compensation for your: 

  • Medical expenses 
  • Future care costs 
  • Lost income/wages
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Disfigurement 
  • Lost earning ability
  • Lost quality of life 
  • Emotional distress
  • Anguish and trauma 
  • Inconvenience 

Our goal is to recover every cent you are owed. We want to help you not only secure the financial resources you need to obtain medical care and manage unexpected expenses but also the justice you need to heal. 

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Our Clients Say It Best

"Has always done it correctly and thoroughly. You can give complete trust to J.J. and the whole Talbott staff."

- Brian C.

Dog Bites

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Am I entitled to “double time” or “time and a half” for working on holidays?

    The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require an employer to pay an employee “double time” or “time and a half” for working on holidays. Additionally, an employee is not entitled to additional pay under the FLSA for weekend or night work. However, an employer can separately contract with their employees to offer this additional pay.

  • Am I entitled to mileage for driving back and forth to the doctor?

    If an employee has a valid workers’ compensation claim, they are entitled to be paid mileage to and from all medical appointments. However, the employee must keep a list of the dates that they went to the doctor and the number of miles which they traveled.

    This information should be submitted to the insurance carrier or your attorney who will submit it to the carrier on a regular basis. While medical mileage may not add up to a lot of money, it does help compensate the employee for having to drive to the doctor. Additionally, it keeps your workers’ compensation claim open. Please note that if you do not have a vehicle or you’re not able to drive, then the insurance company is required to provide you transportation, you just have to request it.

  • Am I exempt from the overtime requirements if I’m paid a salary instead of hourly?

    Not necessarily. This is a common misconception held by employees and their employers. It is true that in order to fall under one of the white-collar exemptions as an executive, administrative or professional employee, you must be paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week. However, there are other requirements in addition to the salary basis test. For each category of exemption, the employee must meet certain criteria to be exempt. See our page on Overtime Exemptions for more information.

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