After a woman was bitten by a neighbor’s dog in Jacksonville, Florida, its owner allegedly promised to assist her with her household expenses while she recuperated from the injuries she suffered. However, according to an August 20 report in a local news source, the man later moved out of his rented property, and she claimed that no one has taken responsibility for her injuries. She has no forwarding information for the owner of the dog.
The police report she filed indicated that the dog crossed the street before biting her on the ankle. She received medical treatment, which included six or seven stitches, and the bills amounted to around $1,000. The woman has been forced to cover this expense on her own, and the news source that reported the story has tried to contact the property owners without any success.
While strict liability standards apply when civil action is taken against the pet’s owner when a dog bite occurs, holding a property owner responsible can be more difficult. The latter requires proving that the property owner knew the dog was dangerous and that its owner could have corrected the problem before someone was injured.
If retained for civil litigation, there are several avenues a personal injury attorney can explore in order to prove that a property owner knew about a dangerous animal. There may be complaints filed with the local animal control department, and such an agency may have a record of visits to the home. Individuals can also check with the police to see if complaints have been filed in the past. Finally, immediate neighbors may have knowledge of previous incidents and whether or not the property owner was aware of them. If a person is attacked by a dog and the dog or property owner makes a promise to pay for medical bills or other expenses, that individual should try to get those promises in writing to strengthen his or her case in the event that litigation is pursued.
Source: First Coast News, “Dog bite victim says no one being held accountable“, David Williams, August 20, 2014