F.s. 767.04 states the owner of a dog that bites and injures someone either in a public or private place – including the owner’s property – is liable for damages suffered. This is true even if there was no prior indication the dog was vicious. However, the dog owner’s responsibility to pay can be reduced if there is evidence the victim was somehow comparatively negligent (i.e., was teasing the dog, was on the property illegally, etc.). These exceptions don’t apply to victims under the age of 6.
Still, each case is going to be weighed individually by the court for merit, and it’s important for victims to make sure they are well-represented by a seasoned attorney. Recovery of damages can be substantial. In a single year, the insurance industry pays about $490 million in damages for dog bite injuries sustained by some 4.5 million people. There are approximately 800 serious bite victims in Florida annually.