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Dog bite victims in Florida: what you should know about liability

Dogs are part of many families across Florida and whether a person has had a dog for a month or 10 years, that pet can be considered an important member of the family. Owners typically go to great lengths to take care of their dogs and make sure they have everything they need.

However, dogs are animals that have the potential to be more dangerous than owners may know or be willing to admit. It is for this reason that premises liability laws in this state address instances of dog bites.

According to Florida dog bite laws, dog owners are liable for any damages a victim suffers as a result of a dog bite. This includes bites on private property and in public. Any person bitten by a dog -- regardless of whether the dog as a history of aggressive behavior or not -- may have grounds to file a legal claim against the owner for bite-related damages.

However, there are exceptions and instances when the owner's liability is reduced. For instance, if a dog owner has a dog secured on their property and displays a sign warning others of a "bad dog" on site, the owner may not be liable for damages if a person is bitten by that dog.

Similarly, the owner's liability can be reduced if a victim antagonized, teased or acted in a some other way to prompt a violent response from a dog and was bitten as a result. Additionally, if a dog bites someone who is on a property unlawfully, the owner may not be held liable.

In the event that a dog does bite someone, animal control may classify the dog as dangerous and the owner will have to comply with strict rules regarding confinement. The owner will also have to notify authorities of the dangerous dog status to make the classification public record.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Florida, you will want to take steps to learn about your options for filing a legal claim to secure compensation. Discussing your situation with an attorney can be crucial.

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