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Bitten by a Service Animal in a Restaurant

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), restaurants must allow service animals inside, including dogs, for those with disabilities. Unfortunately, some dogs can become overwhelmed by the noise and commotion and might even bite people as a result.

This happened in Texas recently, where ABC reports that a dog bit a three-year old in the face. The dog only released the toddler after the owner yanked on the chain.

Although service animals should be properly trained, the sad reality is that some aren’t. Reckless people might even slap a service vest on any old dog, which could become aggressive in a restaurant. If you’ve been bitten or attacked, please contact our Miami premises liability attorney for help with your case.

Can You Sue the Restaurant?

In many dog bite cases, victims can sue the owner for failing to restrain their animal. The ADA doesn’t give owners a license to use dangerous animals or to be lax in how they handle them when out in public.

However, suing the dog owner can only get you so far. For one thing, the dog owner might be judgment proof. This means they have no resources available to pay out a settlement or court award in your favor. You might “win” your case, but it will be a hollow victory when the defendant does not have any money or assets.

Instead, suing the restaurant would be an attractive option because businesses in Florida must have liability insurance to pay compensation to injured customers. These policies are usually very generous and could cover a situation where a service animal attacks you.

A Restaurant’s Duties

Under Florida law, restaurants owe customers a duty to use reasonable care to keep the premises reasonably safe. Essentially, this means that businesses do not guarantee that customers will never be injured. But it does mean the restaurant and its staff will not be careless.

When it comes to service animals, a restaurant could be liable for an attack depending on the circumstances. For example, staff might have seen the dog bark at or become aggressive but not request that the dog owner leave with the animal. In other situations, staff could provoke the dog by teasing it or molesting it, and the dog attacks an innocent bystander.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Miami Dog Bite Attorney

Dog bite cases are tricky because there are so many variables in play.  To fully understand your rights, contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today at 305-371-2692.