It’s important not to wait until your dog has bitten someone to obtain coverage. At that point it will be too late to purchase dog liability insurance. Also, the animal will be considered dangerous from a legal standpoint, making the task of getting insurance even more difficult. While you may argue that this is not the animal’s normal behavior, the fact remains that the dog attacked and injured another person. Whatever the reason, without dog liability insurance, you could very well be liable for thousands of dollars in damages.
In a court of law, dog owners are liable for any injuries their pets causes, especially if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury, or a state statute makes the owner liable. Regardless whether or not the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury, as the owner you must take reasonable care to ensure that your dog is kept at bay. Otherwise the court may rule that the injury was caused by unreasonable carelessness on the part of the owner.
Dog-bite statute (strict liability)
Under this statute, as the dog owner, you’re liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes, even without provocation. This law concerning dog bites in Florida is known as strict liability. Other states in addition to Florida, such as California, Ohio, and New Jersey, have strict liability laws for dog bite injuries, and state that the dog owner is liable for any injuries his or her dog causes.
Florida Dog Bite Law (negligence)
Strict liability differs from what are known as “one bite” laws, which do not fault the dog owner unless the dog has already injured someone previously. There are however exceptions to this rule. For example, if a person were found to be trespassing on private property, or provoking the dog when they were attacked, then the dog owner will likely not be found at fault.
In addition to strict liability laws, an owner can be found guilty on the grounds of negligence. Every state has some form or another of negligence laws. Dog bite injuries often fall under this area or more specifically under an area of tort law known as personal liability. You should always have dog liability insurance to deal with the issue of your dog biting or otherwise causing harm to people or other animals.