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Can you sue a dog owner for a dog bite injury?

Dog bites can cause serious injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 4.5 million people experience a dog bite annually. Around 20 percent of those bites become infected. Half of all dog-bite injuries occur in a home. If you are bitten by a dog, will Florida statutes hold the owner liable? 

The dog bite law in Florida

Florida has a "strict liability" statute concerning dog bites. This means that a dog owner can be liable for a dog bite, even if there was no warning or prior knowledge that a dog might bite. You must be in a public place or lawfully be in a private place when the bite occurs. FLSA 767.04, the statute in question, is only applicable to dog bites. If you are injured because a dog pushes you down, you may have to show that the owner failed to use reasonable care or was negligent.

Is there a defense to a dog bite claim?

If the dog owner can show that you were trespassing, or otherwise not lawfully on private property, you might not be entitled to damages. Comparative negligence is another common defense to a dog bite claim. You might have partially caused the bite by provoking the dog in some way, such as stepping on the dog's tail. 

Dog bites can be serious, especially when the dog has not been vaccinated or the injury causes nerve damage. If you have been seriously injured by a dog bite, you might want to talk to an experienced attorney who can provide you an honest assessment of your situation. 

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