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Serious Dog Bite Attack in Florida Leaves Young Girl in Critical Condition

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A serious dog attack incident involving a little girl in Florida has unfortunately left her in critical condition. Three-year-old Alyssa Bartolotta was with her aunt, who was visiting a friend, when a dog ran out of the front door and grabbed her by the face. She was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, where she is currently trying to recover from a fractured skull. Doctors are hopeful that she will be released in one week’s time as long as she does not develop any infections. Eventually, she will also need plastic surgery to repair the inflicted nerve damage to her face.

The Law on Dog Bites in Florida

In Florida, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dogs inflict on someone else, even if the dog had no prior history of biting someone, as long as the injured person was lawfully in a private place or in any public place. In addition, the injured individual is not under any obligation to first prove that the dog owner was behaving negligently or without reasonable care. In other words, dog bites are a “strict liability.”

However, a dog owner can try to eliminate or reduce their own liability by claiming that the individual who was bitten was illegally trespassing on private property or somehow caused the injury, or was somehow negligent and this contributed to the injury (for example, if they hurt the dog and the dog was simply defending itself). In this instance, any amount of negligence contributed by the injured individual would reduce a compensation award that the injured plaintiff could receive. The law also carves out an exception for dog owners who prominently display a warning about the dog that includes the words “bad dog,” but only when the victim is six years old or older; and, of course, on a case-by-case basis; depending upon the unique circumstances of an incident and what was involved.

Still, dog bite incidents often go beyond a dog owner’s personal property and can involve businesses as well, some of which arguably make it easy for people to get injured. For example, in November, one woman in St. Petersburg, Florida sued the “Dog Bar,” an off-leash dog park that also serves as a full bar, after she nearly lost her nose due to a dog attack there.

If You Have Been Hurt, Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured by a dog bite in Florida, and have suffered medical expenses, or perhaps even pain and suffering as a result, contact our Boca Raton personal injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help you and your family back onto the road to recovery. Remember that you have a limited amount of time from when you incur the injury to file a civil lawsuit under the statute of limitations.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at   kronan@bocalaw.com and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at rbagdasarian@bocalaw.com.

Resources:

abcactionnews.com/news/region-south-pinellas/st-petersburg/gulfport-woman-sues-the-dog-bar-in-st-pete-after-dog-bites-her-nose

nbc-2.com/story/39612653/florida-toddler-may-need-plastic-surgery-after-dog-attack

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