Dog Bites

Jacksonville Dog Bite Lawyers

According to the Department of Health, each year, on average, two people die from injuries due to dog bites in Florida.  Children age 1 through 9 are at the highest risk to be bitten with boys having a higher risk than girls.  Over 600 people in Florida had to be hospitalized due to injuries from dog bites.  Although it is not the most common injury, when a dog bite occurs it can be devastating.  Dog bites can not only cause physical harm but they can also inflict emotional damage, particularly to a young child.  Following the pandemic, more households decided to adopt dogs as companions.  Not everyone spends the time or expense to train their dog and that is when bites can occur. If you have been bitten or injured by a dog, contact a Jacksonville dog bite attorney.

Theories of Liability

Florida Statutes

Florida has a specific statute dealing with a dog owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten by dogs Fla. Stat. 767.04.  The law states that an owner of a dog is strictly liable for any person bitten if that person is in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the owner’s property, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog.  Some states subscribe to the “one free bite” rule wherein the injured party must prove the dog bit someone before.  If there is no such evidence, the first person bitten suffers not only the injury but the inability to seek compensation.  The statute goes on to state that any negligence on the part of the person bitten that contributed to the bite reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by that percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the bite.  In other words, if a person is antagonizing or teasing the dog in such a way as to provoke it to bite, the bitten person’s recovery is going to be reduced by the percentage he contributed to causing the dog to bite.

Damage done by dogs

You do not have to be bitten to seek compensation for injuries caused by a dog.  We have handled numerous cases where there was no bite at all but our clients sustained significant injuries as a result of being knocked down or fleeing from an attacking dog.  Fla. Stat. 767.01 states the dog owner shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person.  We handled a case for a client who was knocked to the ground by an overly excited dog.  She ended up fracturing her wrist which required surgery.  We successfully made a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s coverage and made a recovery for the client.  Similarly, our lawyers helped a client who worked for JEA.  The client called a customer in advance to notify the customer JEA would be out on his property.  As our JEA client was walking in the backyard, a dog rushed out of a doggy door and chased our client.  Fortunately, our client was able to hop over a privacy fence.  Unfortunately, he injured his knee and eventually needed surgery.  We are able to collect fair compensation for our client’s injuries.


Local Ordinances may provide an avenue of recovery.  Atlantic Beach has an ordinance dealing with Dogs and Cats “Running at Large”, “Leashing”, “Damaging Property”, “Habitual Nuisance”, and “Neglect; restraint by chaining; animal bites”.  This last portion of the ordinance states it is a violation for an owner of a dog, through the failure to exercise due care or control, to damage property, including the unprovoked biting, attacking, or wounding of another person or person’s animal.  Jacksonville Beach has an ordinance defining the characteristics of a “dangerous dog”.  Once identified as “dangerous”, the dog owner must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog from the City of Jacksonville Beach annually.  The owner must provide proof the dog is vaccinated, that it is maintained in a proper enclosure with clearly visible dangerous dog signs posted at all entry points and that the dog has permanent identification through a tattoo or electronic implantation.

There may be other local standards outlining the responsibilities of dog owners.  That is why you should speak to a dog bite attorney in Jacksonville.  

Dog Bites and Children

Children under the age of 10 are, by far, the largest percentage of dog bite victims.  However, children are more likely to unknowingly provoke an attack or behave in such a way as to contribute to a bite.  Children are small and, depending on the size of the dog, at just the unfortunate height to be bitten on the head, neck, or face.  Children may grab at the dog’s ears, jowls, or eyes not realizing this is not safe to do with a strange dog.  A child under 10 may not have the experience of being around dogs to recognize cues a dog is agitated or upset.  

Often, the insurance company defending the dog bite claim will attempt to place a certain percentage of fault on the child for causing the bite; therefore, reducing the insurance company’s financial responsibility.  Courts, when deciding if a young child can be found capable of negligence, will ask whether the injured child behaved in the same manner as another child of like age, intelligence, and experience.  The age of the child is important but there is no set age below which a Court will say the child cannot be found negligent for his/her actions.  Instead, the Court looks at other factors apart from age such as the child’s experience with the activity, alertness, maturity, nature of the child’s activity, and the supervision and involvement of adults.  The law generally accepts the facts kids will be kids and they are not to be held to the same standard as adults.  However, the child’s capabilities will be heavily considered in addition to their age.

We are familiar with all aspects of dog bite accidents in Jacksonville including all the various claims available to persons bitten or otherwise injured due to a dog.  We are also familiar with the variety of injuries caused by dog attacks and dog bites ranging from orthopedic fractures to permanent and disfiguring scarring.  At Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., we feel it is important to speak with an attorney to identify and protect your rights and to ensure you are compensated to the full extent of the law.  Contact us today for a free consultation.  

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