Negligence per se in Florida

Negligence per se is a doctrine that can help a victim recover compensation if the bite happened because the dog owner violated a statute, ordinance or regulation enacted for people’s safety. Examples include a violation of a leash law, a law prohibiting dogs from being at large, or a law prohibiting dogs from trespassing.

In Florida, the violation of a non-traffic penal statute constitutes negligence per se, or negligence as a matter of law. deJesus v. Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co., 281 So.2d 198 (Fla. 1973). The violation of a non-penal statute, ordinance or regulation constitutes evidence of negligence but not negligence as a matter of law. Richardson v. Fountain, 154 So.2d 709 (Fla. 2d DCA 1963). No Florida case has considered whether the violation of any of the laws above stated equates to evidence of negligence or negligence per se.