Proving dog owners’ negligence after dog attacks

Although Florida dog bite laws do allow victims of dog attacks to seek compensation from dog owners, some victims may find it difficult to prove a dog owner’s negligence in allowing their dog to attack. However, even in the absence of eyewitnesses and other direct evidence, it may still be possible for victims to prove that dog owners either knew of their dogs’ tendency to behave aggressively or that the dogs had a history of attacking or biting people.

Certain dog breeds are known by most dog owners to be predisposed to aggression. Many dog owners buy these dogs to protect their property or their families. These dogs may be trained to bite or attack strangers. The use of signage indicating a dangerous animal, such as a sign affixed to a fence that warns individuals about a potentially dangerous animal can indicate that owners know their dogs’ aggressive nature may endanger strangers.

The way an owner keeps an animal is often an indicator that they know that there is a potential for aggressive behavior. People who typically keep their dogs in pens, on fixed leashes or on chains may do so because they understand that their dog might bite someone if it is allowed to run loose. The use of a muzzle when walking a dog may also indicate that an owner believes their dog is dangerous.

Some victims to may need undergo physical therapy to regain full or partial use of hands, legs or other body parts damaged by a dog bite. Lost wages may make keeping up with medical bills more difficult. Personal injury attorneys may be able to guide victims through the process of gathering evidence against dog owners in order to prove they were negligent in allowing their dogs to attack victims.

Source: Findlaw, “How to Prove Fault in States Without Dog Bite Laws“, December 15, 2014