Former University Of Florida Player Pays $150,000 For Dog Bite Injuries
It is common for families to go on vacation and leave others in charge of taking care of the family dog. While this arrangement may be easier – and less expensive – than having your dog boarded, it is important to realize that changes in their schedule and dealing with someone they are not used to in their home can make dog bites and attacks more likely to occur. A recent case involving an NFL player highlights the potential dangers, as well as the liability dog owners could face in these situations.
Owner Liability For Dog Bite Injuries
A May 2017 Palm Beach Post report states that a jury ordered Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley, a former University of Florida player, to pay $150,000 after a man was bit in Easley’s Boca Raton home by his 100-pound pit bull. The case is unusual in that the man was not a guest of Easley himself, but had been invited into the home by a friend of Easley’s, who had been watching the players dog while he was away.
Under Florida Statutes, dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs in the following situations:
- When the dog breaks loose or is allowed to run off leash;
- When in a public setting, or;
- When the person they attack is an invited guest into the dog owner’s home.
The Easley case is considered somewhat unusual in that dog bite laws generally do not hold owners liable for injuries to trespassers and uninvited guests. While Easley’s attorney argued that he did not know the person who was bit and had not authorized them to be in the home, the person who was temporarily in charge of the property, and Easley’s dog at the time, did. The man who was bit was an aspiring football player himself, and the large jury award, which included $59,000 for his injuries and an additional $90,000 for pain and suffering, was meant to compensate him for damages that left him unable to play.
Preventing and Treating Dog Bite Injuries
The American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises that of the more than four million Americans who suffer a dog bit each year, roughly 800,000 are injured seriously enough as to require medical care and treatment. Any time you are a bit by a dog, you should get medical care immediately, as contrary to popular myths, dog’s mouths harbor a multitude of different types of bacteria. In addition to the injury itself, dog bites can cause disfiguring scars and emotional trauma. To prevent dog bites, the AAFP recommends:
- Never approach a dog if it is eating, sleeping or appears injured;
- Avoid making direct contact, which can be seen as a challenge;
- Keep still if a dog is snarling and snapping, and slowly back away;
- If knocked down, curl yourself up and use your jacket or handbag to cover your head;
- Report any stray or loose running dogs to animal control.
If you are bit by a dog, contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III. Our Ft. Pierce personal injury attorney can advise you on how to hold negligent dog owners responsible, so you can get the compensation you deserve.