Victims of dog bites and animal attacks in the state of Florida are not without remedies. Relying
on legal doctrines of negligence and intentional tort, Florida law provides a means for dog bite and
attack victims to recover compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, lost income,
pain and suffering, and, in some cases, emotional trauma. To obtain compensation, bite victims
will benefit greatly from retaining the services of an experienced and dedicated Florida dog bite
Our experienced dog bite lawyers at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki serve clients throughout
Florida including those in the following localities: Duval County including Atlantic Beach,
Jacksonville, and Jacksonville Beach; Clay County including Green Cove Springs, Keystone
Heights, Lakeside, Middleburg, and Orange Park; Flagler County including Palm Coast; Nassau
County including Callahan, Fernandina Beach, and Yulee; Putnam County including Interlachen
and Palatka; and St. Johns County including Fruit Cove, Palm Valley, Ponte Vedra Beach, St.
Augustine, and St. Johns.
Strict Liability Regarding Dog Bites
The State of Florida is a strict liability state. Florida law is clear when it comes to dog bites and
animal attacks. A dog owner is responsible when the dog bites any person in a public place. Not
only that, but a dog owner is liable even when the bite occurs in a private place so long as the
bite victim is present lawfully, including while on the property of the dog owner. This liability
covers any damages suffered by the bitten person. It is a strong stance that is further magnified
by the statute’s treatment of the issue of prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.
In Florida, liability is imposed regardless of previous displays of viciousness by the dog in
question, and regardless of the owner’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, of the dog’s
Florida is a Comparative Negligence State Regarding Dog Bites
While Florida laws are tough on the owners of dogs that bite, it is not sympathetic to any illadvised contributing behaviors of dog bite victims. Under Florida law, damage laws will be
reduced in proportion to any negligence on the part of the victim that was reasonably connected
to the biting incident. In layman’s terms, negligence reflects a failure to exercise due caution or
care. In more legal terms, it can be said that one is negligent when failing to conduct him or
herself as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances at issue. Florida’s position
concerning negligence during biting incidents reflects the fact that Florida is a pure comparative
negligence state. The doctrine of pure comparative negligence is about balancing and allocating liability in accordance with individual responsibility. For example, if an individual taunts a dog, he or she may be deemed partially liable, thereby reducing the amount of compensation he or she will be awarded.
What You Should Do If You Are the Victim of a Dog Bite
Dog bites and animal attacks are a misreported problem. Every year in the United States,
hundreds of thousands of dog bite victims require medical attention. Thousands more go
untreated. Worst of all, children, the elderly, and home care service providers are at the greatest
risk of being bitten. Children aged five to nine years old are at the most risk for nonfatal dog
attacks. And, those with dogs in the home are at much greater risk of being bitten than those
When you enter a home with a dog that is unfamiliar to you, experts recommend that you stand
tall like a tree and let the dog approach you if it wants to. Do not make eye contact with the dog
if you do not want it to approach you, and do not panic or make loud noises. While the media all
too often leads the public to believe that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to bite than
others, this claim is backed by very little scientific proof.
Whether a dog is small, medium, large, bred for guarding, bred for retrieving, or bred to fit in a
purse, it can inflict a serious wound and cause damaging and permanent negative emotions about
dogs for young children. However, certain breeds are more likely to cause a fatality than others
due to their size and aggression. For example, most fatal dog attacks are caused by pit bulls,
followed by rottweilers. If a loved one was killed by a dog, you may be able to file a wrongful
death lawsuit against the owner of the dog. Call our office at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a fast and
convenient form to schedule a free initial consultation!
Infections Caused by Dog Bites
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 4.5 million dog bites in
the U.S. each year, and roughly one in five of those becomes infected. That means that almost a
million dog bites become infected annually. You can become infected with the following
bacteria and viruses from dog bites:
▪ Pasteurella bacteria: causes a red, painful, swelling. Those with weak immune systems
are most at risk and can develop symptoms such as difficulty moving, swollen glands,
and swollen joints.
▪ Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): a staph infection that is resistant to
many types of antibiotics. It can cause infections of the skin, urinary tract, and lungs. It
can be fatal if spread to the blood or lungs
▪ Tetanus: a toxin produced by bacteria, causes rigid paralysis and is a threat when bite
wounds are very deep.
▪ Rabies: rare, but usually fatal if untreated or treated too late.
▪ Capnocytophaga: bacteria that live within dogs and cats and do not affect most people.
Those who have a weak immune system and have been bitten by a dog are most at risk.
Dog Bite Statistics in Florida
Each year, thousands of Floridians are bitten or attacked by dogs. When the victim is older than
15, over half of the bites occurred when the victim broke up a dog fight. When young children
were bitten (under the age of six) 39 percent of the bite causes were not known, meaning that
they occurred out of the presence of an adult.
According to the Florida Health Department, 86 percent of dog bites involved children under six
years old. Whether you are bitten by another person’s dog while attempting to break up a dog
fight, if you are bitten in a home where a dog lives, or you are bitten while walking down the
street, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to reclaim the damages that were
caused to you.
Contact Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki Today!
If you are a bitten by a dog, first get medical treatment for any wounds. Next, contact a skilled
and dedicated Jacksonville dog bite and animal attack lawyer today. Florida’s strict liability
statute protects dog bite and animal attack victims. You can recover compensation for the
injuries you have suffered. Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki provides precisely the highly
effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle dog bite and animal attack related personal
injury claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you in this time
Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki serves clients throughout Florida including those in the
following localities: Duval County including Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, and Jacksonville
Beach; Clay County including Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Lakeside, Middleburg,
and Orange Park; Flagler County including Palm Coast; Nassau County including Callahan,
Fernandina Beach, and Yulee; Putnam County including Interlachen and Palatka; and St. Johns
County including Fruit Cove, Palm Valley, Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine, and St. Johns.
We are dedicated to serving the community with its highly effective and experienced team of
lawyers. Contact our Florida dog bite lawyers today for help and information. Call our office at
(904) 398-1992 or fill out a fast and convenient form to schedule a free initial consultation!