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Who is Liable for an Animal Attack?

Animal Caused Fatalities
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Did you know that cows and dogs are two of the top animals likely to cause death in the United States?

Dogs will kill approximately 28 people each year, while cows kill about 20 people. There are many other animals that could be a threat to your safety as well.

So, is anyone liable when an animal attacks? That’s circumstantial. Luckily, a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your animal attack case to determine whether a personal injury claim would be in your or your loved one’s best interest.

Domestic Animals

Animal Attack

Domestic animals are generally considered safer than the majority of wild animals. While dogs are more likely than other domestic animals to bite or cause harm, many other domestic animals can cause damage or injuries as well. Find out more about dog liability here.

Domestic animals can include livestock as well. This is partly because the owner of the livestock has more control over the livestock’s actions than they would a wild animal that just happened to be on their property.

Domestic Animal Liability

As a general rule, if the animal’s owner knows that the dog or other animal has dangerous propensities, then they could be held strictly liable if the animal causes harm.

That means the owner is liable even when the injured person provoked the animal. The owner may have been acting completely reasonably when the bite occurred, but they would still be liable.

If the animal is not known to be dangerous, then the animal owner’s liability will depend on why the bite happened. The Court is now allowed to consider whether the animal was provoked or acted on it’s own.

Fencing and Escaping Livestock

Florida law does not require you to have a fence for either your livestock or your domestic animals.

However, if your animal hurts someone or strays onto a road and causes an accident, you could still be liable. In fact, you might even be criminally liable in addition to a potential personal injury case.

The owner of the animal can bring a suit against a driver in situations where he or she was not negligent in allowing the animal to wander.

This can be difficult to prove, so it is far more likely to see a case where the driver of a vehicle sues the animal’s owner for letting their animal roam free to cause accidents.

Read more about proving your personal injury and dog bites here.

Wild Animal Attacks

Wild animals do not have the same legal rules as domestic animals like dogs. If someone deliberately keeps a wild animal on their property, then they are likely going to be strictly liable for the harm that it causes.

In Florida, this means that wild animals are treated just like a dog that you know is dangerous.

However, this only applies to wild animals that someone keeps on purpose. It likely does not apply to an animal attack that just happens to occur on their land.

If wild animal attacks have happened at a prior location previously, then the property owner may need to warn passersby of the potential for injury due to wild animals. In most situations, however, they will not be liable for the actions of wild animals that are not in captivity.

This conclusion may be different if you are injured on public land—the government may have to take some responsibility for wild animal attacks.

Learn More about Animal Attack and Dog Bite with a personal injury lawyer

If you have been injured in an animal attack, whether it was domestic or wild, you may have a personal injury case.

Visit here to speak with a personal injury lawyer for a specific analysis of your unique situation.

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