In Florida, owners of dogs who bite others are strictly liable for the actions of their dogs. This means that regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the dog owners’ knowledge of lack thereof of such viciousness, the owner is still liable.
This means even if a sweet Golden Retriever suddenly bites a neighbor, the owner of the dog is still liable for the neighbor’s injuries, despite the dog never showing any signs of aggression prior.
The problem for victims of dog bites is that oftentimes dog owners do not have insurance coverage that protects them for the actions of their dogs. Most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions written into them where insurance will not pay for dog bite injuries.
If a homeowner wants to make sure they are protected in the event their dog is aggressive, they should speak to their insurance agent about adding a dog bite rider onto their homeowners insurance policy.
Even if a dog owner does not have insurance that covers them for the actions of their dog, they are still liable under Florida law. The victim of a dog bite would have to determine if suing the dog owner despite there not being insurance would be beneficial in the long run due to the length and cost of litigation.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a dog bite, including but not limited to losing a digit, requiring a skin graft, stitches, and more, call the attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin. We will investigate to find out whether the dog owner had the right kind of insurance to make a claim. If not, we will investigate whether the dog owner has collectible assets and advise you on what to do next.