Determining liability in animal-bite cases

A person in Florida who has been injured by an animal that is under the care and supervision of another party might be eligible for compensation through an action taken in civil court. The type of animal involved in the incident often affects the way the case is handled.

Generally, a case that involves a wild animal that was under another person’s care is decided under strict liability rules. This means that negligence or fault is not a factor, and the owner or person who was supervising the animal would be held liable for any damages suffered by the victim. For example, even if the person who is in charge of the animal takes extensive precautions to keep other parties from harm, he or she is still responsible for any damages that the animal causes. The same general rule applies to incidents involving a dog bite in certain states.

In contrast, incidents involving domestic animals might be handled differently. These cases are usually handled under the standard rules of negligence. This means that a person who is pursuing compensation must demonstrate to a court that the defendant knew or should have known that the animal was a risk. However, the animal’s owner might be able to avoid liability if it can be shown that the victim took on the risk or contributed to the incident.

Florida laws regarding injury incidents that involve animals may be complicated and might be subject to change over time. Because of this, those who might be planning to file a lawsuit after such an injury could work with a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer who has experience litigating animal-bite cases could help a client understand his or her options and might offer the client representation and advice throughout proceedings.

Source: Findlaw, “Does the Type of Animal Affect a Bite Injury Case?“, August 28, 2014