Florida Dog Bite Laws You Should Be Aware Of: Insights from a Dog Bite Attorney in Lakeland, Florida

Dog bites can result in some nasty injuries. Fortunately, Florida’s dog bite laws are relatively favorable to the victim compared to many other states. If you have been bitten or injured by someone else’s dog, you may be able to partner with a dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida to seek compensation under one or more of the following bases of recovery:

  • Statutory strict liability
  • Negligence
  • Negligence per se
  • Intentional torts

Time is of the essence in Florida when it comes to dog bite cases — as it is with all personal injury cases — and the law only offers a limited timeframe for you to settle or sue. The skilled and experienced attorneys at O’Toole Law Group can help you ensure that all applicable deadlines are met in your dog bite case. We can also assess and evaluate your claim, allowing you to maximize your compensation under Florida’s dog bite laws. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, our dog bite attorneys in Lakeland, Florida are also willing to fight for your rights in court.

Statutory Strict Liability

When it comes to dog bite cases, Florida uses a legal principle known as statutory strict liability. According to F.S. 767.04, dog owners can be held legally responsible if their dog bites a person and injures them.

Statutory strict liability creates a legal framework for monetary reparation by a dog bite victim, regardless of whether the dog owner was at fault. In other words, even if a dog has never previously bitten anyone or displayed any aggressive or hostile behaviors, a dog owner can still be held liable for any injuries caused by their dog in the State of Florida. However, the dog owner’s liability may be reduced based on the victim’s percentage of fault.

In the context of a dog bite, Florida’s strict liability rules do not apply to everyone. In general, strict liability does not apply to trespassers on the property, K-9s on duty, or property damage caused by an aggressive dog.


A dog owner may also be held liable if their actions (or lack thereof) do not reflect those of a reasonable dog owner, resulting in a dog bite and subsequent injuries to the victim. This is an area where there’s often a lot of confusion, so if you need help determining whether you should pursue a negligence case, a reputable dog bite attorney in Lakeland will be happy to offer guidance.

Negligence Per Se

In Florida, a dog owner is considered to have acted negligently if they violate an already established statute. For example, if they walk their dog without a leash, or allow it to roam around the neighborhood freely, they may be held liable if the dog attacks someone and causes injuries.

Intentional Torts

An intentional tort requires a person’s deliberate intent to cause harm to someone else. In the context of dog bites, intentional torts refer to circumstances in which the dog owner has provoked their dog to bite and injure someone. 

Statute of Limitations

A dog bite lawsuit, like all personal injury cases in Florida, must be filed within four years from the date of your injury. If you do not file a claim before the deadline expires, you will not be able to pursue a lawsuit or seek monetary compensation for your injuries. If you need assistance with filing your claim, a Lakeland dog bite attorney can help.

Looking for an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Lakeland, Florida?

If you have been injured due to a dog bite, it’s best to consult a qualified dog bite attorney in Lakeland, Florida as soon as possible to help you with your case. O’Toole Law Group’s personal injury lawyers fully understand the nuances of dog bite laws in Florida, and we can use them to your advantage to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today at 863-533-5525 to schedule a free legal consultation.

O'Toole Law Group

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