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Is an owner responsible for a dog that bites in Florida?

Dogs, like children, are often a product of their environment. Although certain breeds are at higher risk of biting attacks, it is usually previous interactions with humans that dictate how dogs behave around people.

Still, even a well-trained animal can be very unpredictable. Some states like to give those who have pets the benefit of the doubt if that animal becomes aggressive towards a person. Under so-called one-bite rules, some states won’t hold an owner liable for the injuries a dog causes unless they have previously bitten another person or demonstrated signs of aggression.

Does Florida give dog owners a free pass before they have liability for a bite?

Florida’s statute creates strict liability even for first-time animal attacks

Provided that the victim did not provoke the animal through violence and was not in the act of breaking the law when the dog attacked them, those injured by an aggressive canine can bring claims against the animal’s owner for any injuries and property damage that they suffer as a result of the attack.

In many cases, the victim of a dog bite can file an insurance claim. However, if the animal’s owner does not have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy that covers the animal, the victim may have no choice but to file a civil lawsuit to recover lost wages, medical expenses and even property damage like the cost to replace a phone dropped during the attack.

Understanding how liability for dog bites works in Florida will make it easier for you to get compensation if you or a loved one is injured by a dog.