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Dog Bite Case in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Raises Liability Questions

Categories:Law in Florida

A South Florida mother and her young son are still recovering after they were the victims of a brutal dog attack this past weekend. The Sun Sentinel reports that 35-year-old Gracieuse Jean-Baptiste and her son Shamar, age 9, were attacked last Saturday by a 2-year-old Cane Corso-pitbull mix named Kane.

The incident occurred outside the family’s home in Fort Lauderdale. The boy had been riding his bicycle when the dog suddenly and aggressively approached, causing the child to fall, and biting him on the left arm and right leg. Shamar’s mother was also bitten when she intervened, attempting to fend off the animal by striking it with a broom handle. Several neighbors witnessed the scene and attempted to stop the attack, but were unsuccessful until 21-year-old Berlen Justine managed to drive the dog off by hitting it with a belt.

Broward County law enforcement and fire rescue officials quickly arrived at the scene, and the injured mother and son were taken to the hospital by ambulance to have their injuries treated. A spokesperson for Broward Health Medical Center reports that both victims are in fair condition.

Investigators have determined that the dog escaped from the owner’s residence through an open door. The dog’s owner was unavailable for comment, but county records show that the animal’s vaccinations were out of date. Animal control officials have seized the dog and placed it in quarantine for 10 days, where it will be monitored for rabies.

In Florida, the general rule is that the dog owner is liable for any bites or other damages caused by his or her pet. However, the court determines the degree of the owner’s responsibility (and negligence)on a case-by-case basis. If any negligence on the part of the victim provoked or contributed to the bite, then the owner’s negligence is reduced by a percentage representing the victim’s responsibility for his own injuries. Florida law holds dog owners accountable for any injuries sustained on both public and private property, unless the victim was unlawfully present. Children under the age of six are considered legally incapable of contributory negligence and therefore cannot be found at fault in an attack.

Dog bite cases are horrific, and something that we hope to never hear about in the news. Unfortunately, these incidents happen all too frequently, traumatizing victims and leaving physical, emotional and financial consequences in their wake. The attorneys at the Brooks Law Group are experienced at handling dog bite and other personal injury cases. If you or a loved one are ever injured as a result of a dog attack, contact us immediately at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT. Our attorneys will gladly address any questions you might have, and will work tirelessly to recover compensation for your losses. We are here for you and WE MEAN BUSINESS.

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