Dog Bites in Florida: Know Your Rights and Legal Recourse

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Dog bites can be traumatic experiences, causing physical and emotional harm. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Florida, it’s crucial to understand your rights and legal recourse. In this article, we’ll provide valuable information on how to navigate the aftermath of a dog bite incident in the Sunshine State.

Florida’s Dog Bite Laws

Florida has specific laws in place to address dog bite incidents. According to Florida Statute § 767.04, dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs if:

  • The dog bites someone in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner.
  • The person who was bitten did not provoke the dog.
  • The person bitten was conducting themselves peacefully and lawfully when the incident occurred.

In essence, Florida follows a “strict liability” approach when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners can be held responsible for injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether the owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Florida, it’s essential to take the following steps:

Seek Medical Attention

Your health is the top priority. Clean the wound thoroughly and seek immediate medical attention, even if the injury seems minor. Dog bites can lead to infections and complications if not treated promptly.

Gather Information

If possible, collect information about the dog owner, including their name, contact information, and details about the dog. If there were any witnesses to the incident, obtain their contact information as well.

Document the Incident

Take photographs of your injuries, the location where the dog bite occurred, and any visible signs of negligence on the owner’s part (e.g., a broken leash or lack of proper enclosure). Documentation can be crucial evidence in your case.

Report the Incident

Report the dog bite to local animal control or law enforcement authorities. They can document the incident and investigate if necessary.

Consult with an Attorney

It’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in dog bite cases. An attorney can assess the circumstances, explain your legal rights, and guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your injuries.

Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

Victims of dog bites in Florida may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills and future medical costs
  • Lost wages and potential future earnings if the injury affects your ability to work
  • Pain and suffering, including physical and emotional distress
  • Scarring or disfigurement resulting from the dog bite


Dog bites are distressing incidents that can result in physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Understanding your rights and legal options is essential for seeking the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Florida, remember to prioritize your health, gather evidence, report the incident, and consult with a qualified personal injury attorney to protect your rights and pursue a fair settlement.