Dog Bite Attorney in West Palm Beach Explains Animal Behavior Evidence
In a typical dog bite case, the bite victim can seek compensation on the basis of “strict liability.” This means that proof of fault is not required in order for the dog’s owner to be liable for the victim’s injuries. Florida’s dog bite law makes this clear:
“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 . . . is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
There is, however, an important exception. It is known as the “Bad Dog” sign rule. Under Florida’s dog bite law, a dog’s owner is not strictly liable if, “the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words ‘Bad Dog.’” If the owner has an appropriate sign in place (which could also include a “Beware of Dog” warning), then the victim must either:
- Be under the age of six (in which case the strict liability rule still applies); or,
- Prove that the bite was “proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner.”
Proving Owner Negligence for a Dog Bite in Florida
When you need to prove that a dog owner’s negligence led to an attack, a key form of evidence will often be what is known as “animal behavioral evidence.” In short, the goal is to establish that, based on the dog’s past behavior, its owner should have known that an attack was possible. This could include behaviors such as:
- Having a history of being unpredictable around children;
- Acting aggressive toward strangers who approach or enter the fenced-in area; and,
- Prior attacks involving bites.
There are a number of different ways to prove an owner’s knowledge of a dog’s past behavior, as well as the dog’s propensity for attacking humans. When it comes to the owner, emails and text messages, veterinary records, and previous dog bite claims are among the numerous types of evidence that may be available. With regard to the dog itself, testimony from an animal behavioral expert can help establish that the dog showed vicious propensities and that an attack should have been reasonably foreseeable to its owner.
What to Do After a Dog Attack in Palm Beach County
Of course, in order to uncover animal behavioral evidence, you will need to be able to identify the dog’s owner. This is the first of our five tips in: What to Do if You’re Bitten By a Dog in Florida. For more information seeking compensation for a dog bite, I encourage you to the dog bite injury lawyers at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
Get Help for Your Palm Beach County Dog Bite Claim
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Palm Beach County, our experienced legal team can help you seek just compensation. To get started with a free and confidential consultation, call me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally at 561.202.MORE(6673) today.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.