What Legal Recourse Do I Have as a Postal Carrier Against the Owner of a Dog that Bit Me?
I am a postal carrier and was delivering a package. I knocked on the door, and the lady opened the door a crack & stuck her hand out. Her two dogs burst through the door & into the front yard (They were small dogs & although they were barking, I was not afraid). The lady came outside & I gave her the package, as I turned to walk back to the truck, I could feel what felt like razors in my calf. I told the lady that her dog had bit me and she replied, “was it the brown one?” I said that I didn’t know which dog it was that had bitten me and showed her the bite. She didn’t apologize but only said that her dog’s shots were up to date & then she went inside. I have 3 puncture wounds, they are bleeding, bruising, swelling & I’m in a lot of pain. I already contacted animal control. Do I have legal recourse?
In Florida, there is a statute (F.S. 767.04) which holds the owner of a dog liable for damages suffered by persons bitten by the dog. In Florida, unlike many other states, it is not necessary (but it is helpful) to be able to prove that the dog had vicious propensities (e.g., dog bit, aggressively chased, growled or snapped at someone, etc.), known by the dog owner prior to the subject dog bite. In some states, unlike Florida, the dog’s first bite may be a bite free of liability for the dog owner (assuming that dog owner did not know of the dog’s vicious propensities, prior to the subject dog bite). There may be a problem collecting any judgment, however, in that some dog owners will either not have recoverable assets, homeowner’s insurance (which normally covers and is responsible for paying such claims) or the homeowner’s insurance policy will have an animal liability exclusion provision (which may exclude all or just some “dog bite” claims – sometimes depending on the breed of the dog that bit you).