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Dog Owners May Face Negligence Charges

May 15, 2017 | Category: Animal Attacks, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death | Share

Approximately 4.4 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. These bites result in an estimated 885,000 injuries requiring medical attention. About half of the injuries are sustained by children, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). 

Dog Owners May Face Negligence Charges - Spivey Law FirmWhat type of injuries result from dog bites? 

Dog bites may result in one, or more, of the following injuries: 

  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Punctures
  • Tissue loss and avulsion (tearing)
  • Crush injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Sprain / strain injuries
  • Scars
  • Infections such as rabies, cellulitis, C canimorsus infections 

WebMD reports that not only can dog bite injuries lead to painful lacerations and puncture wounds, nerve damage, fractures, serious infections, disability, and deformity, but death can occur as well. 

What is the Florida law relating to dog bites? 

According to Florida statute 767.04, the owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident. 

Should a dog owner violate the law, and the violation leads to an injury, the owner may be negligent as a matter of law, and the injured person can file a lawsuit, and potentially win, by proving only that the dog owner violated the law. The most common scenario is when a dog owner violates a local leash law by letting a dog run free, and the dog bites someone or causes an accident. 

The damages that can be recovered in a successful animal bite claim can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. It may also be possible to recover punitive damages. However, it must be shown that the dog owner was not only negligent but was actually reckless or intentionally incited the injury. 

What to do if you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog? 

The need for medical attention must always be assessed first. The bite may seem minor, but infections may occur if left untreated. Dog bites may lead to a serious injury or even death. Seeking medical attention will also preserve evidence by allowing a medical professional to document the specifics of the wound. Taking pictures of the wound using a cell phone will memorialize the severity of the injury.  

Get whatever information you can from the dog’s owner including whether the dog has had a rabies shot. You will want to note the dog’s breed, color, height, weight, and whether it was on a leash or not. Cell phone cameras can document this type of evidence.

“If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, contact the experienced attorneys at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,” said Fort Myers Dog Bite Attorney, Randall Spivey.



Fort Myers Dog Bite Attorney, Randall L. Spiveyis a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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