When a dog attacks someone for the first time, the owner may honestly be shocked. They may say that they never knew the dog was dangerous and that the animal had never acted like this before. This is a very common response.
In fact, it is sometimes the reason for the attack. For instance, an owner may think their dog is docile and friendly, and so they’ll let them out into the yard without a fence or a leash. Then the dog will charge at a child running down the sidewalk and bite, and there is nothing the owner can do.
If this happens to your child, one thing to remember is that, while the owner may honestly not have known how dangerous the dog was, that does not matter to the case. The dog’s history or the owner’s knowledge of it doesn’t mean they aren’t liable. Florida law explicitly states that the owner can be held responsible “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”
Some owners will act as if they should get a pass the first time a dog bites. They may say that they’ll keep the dog on a leash from now on, since they know just how dangerous the animal can be. That’s fine, and they should do so, but that does not mean the initial injury wasn’t still their fault. They may have to help cover the costs, as the person who was bitten never deserved to have such a thing happen to them.
Parents of children who suffer such bites need to understand how this law works and what steps to take to make a claim for their injuries and other losses. Since it can take a long time for the after-effects of a dog bite to fade, it’s not something you want to overlook.