Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
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Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Kansas City, MO. Dogs are valued members of the family and close companions, quite often the best of friends when the going gets tough. However, sometimes, man's best friend is not very friendly, and the natural animal instincts of dogs take over. If that ever happens to you or a loved one, a top Kansas City, MO dog bite injury lawyer is your best friend.
Attorney Gene Hou at the Missouri Injury Law Firm is a veteran Kansas City, MO personal injury lawyer who always puts his clients first in everything he does. He has a proven record of representing his dog bite injury clients in Kansas City, MO, with understanding as well as valor. If you were recently bit by a dog in Kansas City, MO, suffered injuries, and are looking to recover damages from that dog's owner, phone us at 636-333-1717, or fill out our online contact form.
Nearly one half of all dog bites involve an animal owned by the victim’s family or neighbors. If you are the victim of a dog bite, you need to hire a dog bite injury lawyer near Kansas City, MO, to represent your case. Dog bite injuries can be expensive and often cause physical, mental, and emotional harm. An experienced dog bite injury lawyer from Missouri Injury Law Firm near you in Kansas City, MO, can help you gather evidence of the attack, file reports of the animal’s dangerous behavior, and bring a claim against the dog’s owner to recover compensation for your injuries and financial damages in Kansas City, MO.
What Should I Do After I've Been Bit By A Dog in Kansas City, MO?
The dog bite injury lawyer team at Missouri Injury knows the impact a dog bite can have on your life in Kansas City, MO. Even a bite that results in a minor physical wound can have a lasting emotional impact. If you have recently been bit by a dog in Kansas City, MO, you're most likely in a state of disbelief and uncertain about what to do next, just like if you were in any other kind of accident. And as in any other accident, there's a few steps you should take immediately after it happens. Our Kansas City, MO dog bite lawyer suggests you do the following if you suffered a dog bite injury in Kansas City, MO:
- Take pictures. It probably won’t be the first thing on your mind, but immediately after the bite is the only time to obtain evidence that reflects the severity of the wound in Kansas City, MO. Your dog bite injury lawyer from Missouri Injury will need pictures to help validate your injury. Get out your camera or phone and start snapping shots of everything around you. If you can, take pictures of the dog that bit you. Even if the animal is running away from you and you can only get poor-quality photos, local authorities can still use these shots to identify a dog. You should also take pictures of the immediate area like street signs, cars parked nearby, and addresses — animal control in Kansas City, MO needs to tell people living nearby about the danger of a dog on the loose.
- Call 911. Animal Control in or near Kansas City will need to be contacted to begin their process after a dog has bit you. In addition, you should call to the Kansas City police. Not only should you get a report for your insurance records, but the police and other Kansas City, MO authorities also keep info on dogs who have bit other people before. If they find that you are not the first person that dog has bit, their owner may be facing criminal charges.
- Get the dog owner’s information. Get all the info you can. Request that the owner give you info about the dog's veterinarian, tag, and their personal insurance. This is also a great time to search for any witnesses, if available. One or even two witnesses to the bite can help your dog bite injury lawyer and make a difference in your claim.
- Get medical help. No matter the severity of your injuries, we suggest calling a Kansas City, MO doctor or visiting a nearby emergency room or urgent care center as soon as possible. Dog bites can easily lead to infection, so quick treatment is crucial. The only circumstance you should forego immediate medical treatment is if you know the dog’s owner and they supply proof of vaccinations being up-to-date. Do not rely on verbal proof because people often forget when they have gotten their pets immunized. Additionally, and contrary to popular belief, the rabies virus is still a legit issue in Kansas City, MO.
- Call your insurance company. Dog bites are usually covered as part of a homeowners' or renters’ insurance policy, as they are considered "personal property" in Kansas City, MO. Call them as soon as you can to file a claim so they can assist you with medical bills and other costs.
- Contact the Missouri Injury Law Firm near Kansas City, MO. Our talented and knowledgeable dog bite injury lawyer will be able to handle all of your concerns and questions. Call us at 636-333-1717, or reach out to us.
Dog Bite Laws In Missouri and Illinois
You may be entitled to compensation under the Missouri dog bite statute, R.S.Mo. § 273.036 if you suffered injury due to a dog bite.
R.S.Mo. § 273.036 provides that the “owner or possessor of any dog that bites, without provocation, any person while such person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner or possessor of the dog, is strictly liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s or possessor’s knowledge of such viciousness. Owners and possessors of the dogs shall also be strictly liable for any damage to property or livestock proximately caused by their dogs. If it is determined that the party had fault in the incident, any damages owed by the owner or possessor of the biting dog shall be reduced by the same percentage that the damaged party’s fault contributed to the incident. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs killing or maiming sheep or other domestic animals under section 273.020.”
To prove that a dog owner is liable under the statute, you must show:
- A dog bite and resulting injury
- The injured person did not provoke the dog
- The injured person had a lawful right to be in the place where the dog bite occurred
This is a strict liability statute, meaning the dog owner or possessor is responsible regardless of whether he or she took reasonable care to prevent the dog bite, such as constraining the dog, or didn’t know the dog could be vicious. The statute also imposes a $1,000 fine to a dog owner held liable for a dog bite, as well as any other damages you can prove.
Following an injury sustained from a dog bite, you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, including lost income if unable to work, pain and suffering, and property damage. Common legal defenses to liability under the Missouri dog bite statute include provocation and trespassing. If the dog owner can prove you provoked the dog, such as by petting or startling the dog, then you may not be successful in the claim. Likewise, you may not be successful under the statute if the dog owner can prove you were trespassing on private property at the time of the bite.
The Illinois law regarding dog bites is called the Animal Control Act or Illinois statute 510 ILCS 5/16. It is much more extensive than Missouri's dog bite law as it also includes sections about what happens to dogs after they bite another human, which in Missouri is delegated to county or city-level governments.
The statute states, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”
To prove that a dog owner is legally responsible under this statute, your dog bite injury lawyer must show:
- A dog attacked or injured the person
- The person had a lawful right to be in the place where they were attacked
- The person did not provoke the dog
- The person was acting peaceably
As in Missouri, Illinois has a strict liability statute, meaning the dog owner is legally liable for a dog attack regardless of whether the dog acted viciously in the past or previously attacked someone. Note, however that the Illinois statute encompasses all injuries caused by a dog, not just bites. So, as an example, if a dog jumps up and knocks you down, the dog owner is still liable for your injuries under the statute.
What Happens To A Dog That Bit Someone in Kansas City, MO?
Both Missouri and Illinois have widely identical procedures they follow after a dog bites a human being. The only difference is that Illinois' dog bite procedures are part of the state Animal Control Act, while Missouri's policies are determined by each county or city. While this allows for some variation in other matters relating to dogs (for example, some cities in Missouri expressly ban certain dog breeds like pit bulls), for the most part the protocol after a dog bite is identical.
After the report of a dog bite, Kansas City, MO animal control will take the dog into custody for 10 days. The dog will be transported to a central location such as an animal shelter or a veterinarian's office near Kansas City, MO. The dog will then be watched for that time and inspected for illnesses, most notably rabies. Before the dog is permitted to leave the facility, a tracking microchip is implanted in the dog, and if their owner has not done so already the animal is spayed or neutered. If Kansas City, MO authorities have viewed the dog to be safe, it can be released back into the care of their owner, but not before they cover for all costs related to the care and feeding of the dog during its time under observation.
Once a dog is back in the custody of its owner in Kansas City, MO, it is also entered into a statewide database of "dangerous" (in Missouri) or "vicious" (in Illinois) dogs. Kansas City, MO owners of dogs listed in these categories must keep them in secure pens or kennels, and when out in public they must keep them on a short leash and muzzled. If a dangerous or vicious dog bites another person again, they are once again placed under observation. However, this time the Kansas City, MO owners must file an appeal and show that they can maintain safe custody of their pet. Otherwise, it will be euthanized.
How Much Can I Get For My Dog Bite Lawsuit in Kansas City, MO?
Dog bite injuries in Kansas City, MO can differ in their severity, but one thing is undoubtable: they are no joke. Dogs have strong jaws — research has found that on average, a dog's bite exerts 320 psi of force, more than double the strength of a human's bite — and sharp teeth, both passed down from their predatorial ancestors. While, for instance, being bit by a shih tzu will not cause as many injuries as being bit by a German shepherd, the most common injuries our Kansas City, MO dog bite injury lawyer sees include:
- Surface-level cuts and bruises
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Infections from canine saliva
- Broken or cracked bones
- Avulsion injuries
- Nerve damage
- Emotional trauma
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
An experienced Kansas City, MO dog bite injury lawyer can help you recover money for all of these medical expenses and more. In addition to standard hospital or doctor's expenses, you can get money for any prescription medications, needed rehab or physical therapy, and any psychiatric services required in Kansas City, MO. If the dog that bit you also damaged your Kansas City, MO property — for instance, if you were bit while riding a bike and the dog also broke part of your frame — a Kansas City, MO dog bite injury lawyer can get you money to repair that, as well as damages for the pain and suffering the ordeal of being bit by a dog put you through.
Studies have shown that the great majority of dog bite lawsuits never go in front of a jury. Kansas City, MO insurance companies do not want to run the risk of having to potentially pay a substantial jury award, while plaintiffs like settlements as they avoid drawn-out court cases and put money in their pockets as soon as possible. Recent data from the Insurance Information Institute revealed that the median dog bite lawsuit settlement in Missouri is almost $47,500, while the average settlement in Illinois is a little higher at $48,100.
Contact A Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Near Kansas City, MO Who Fights For His Clients | Missouri Injury Law Firm Kansas City, MO
Attorney Gene Hou and his dog bite injury attorneys near Kansas City, MO, know that getting bit by a dog is an experience no one should be subjected to. The Missouri Injury team takes time out to get acquainted with all of its clients in Kansas City, MO and guarantees that they do not have to go through the legal process alone. Additionally, the whole Kansas City, MO dog bite injury lawyer staff brings a unique combination of legal expertise gained both in private practice and in work as insurance company staff attorneys into the courtroom, which means that Gene Hou knows how insurance companies operate and can fight for your maximum financial award.
If you or someone you know has recently been bit by a dog in Kansas City, MO, do not wait to contact an experienced dog bite injury lawyer. Call us today at 636-333-1717 or reach out to us online to set up a free, no-risk case evaluation.