Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
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Dog Bite Injury Lawyer St. Charles County, MO. Dogs are beloved members of the family and close companions, frequently the best of friends when the going gets tough. However, occasionally, man's best friend is not friendly at all, and the natural animal tendencies of dogs take over. If that ever happens to you or someone you know, a top St. Charles County, MO dog bite injury lawyer is your best friend.
Attorney Gene Hou at the Missouri Injury Law Firm is an experienced St. Charles County, MO personal injury lawyer who puts his clients first in all that he does. He has a long record of representing his dog bite injury clients in St. Charles County, MO, with compassion as well as valor. If you have been recently bit by a dog in St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, MO.
What Should I Do After I've Been Bit By A Dog in St. Charles County, MO?
The dog bite injury lawyer team at Missouri Injury knows the impact a dog bite can have on your life in St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, MO, you're probably 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 several steps you should take immediately after it happens. Our St. Charles County, MO dog bite lawyer suggests you do the following if you sustained a dog bite injury in St. Charles County, MO:
- Take photos. 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 St. Charles County, 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 pictures 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 photos of the immediate area like street signs, cars parked nearby, and addresses — animal control in St. Charles County, MO needs to warn people living nearby about the danger of a unleashed dog.
- Call 911. Animal Control in or near St. Charles County will need to be contacted to begin their process after a dog has bit you. In addition, you should chat with to the St. Charles County police. Not only should you get a report for your insurance records, but the police and other St. Charles County, MO authorities also keep files on dogs who have bit other people before. If they determine 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. Ask the owner to provide info about the dog's veterinarian, tag, and their personal insurance. This is also a great time to look for any witnesses, if applicable. 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 phoning a St. Charles County, MO doctor or visiting a nearby emergency room or urgent care center as soon as you can. Dog bites can easily result in infection, so speedy treatment is important. The only circumstance you should skip immediate medical treatment is if you know the dog’s owner and they supply validation of vaccinations being up-to-date. Do not count on verbal proof because people routinely forget the last time they have gotten their pets immunized. Also, and contrary to popular belief, the rabies virus is still a very real issue in St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, 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 St. Charles County, MO. Our talented and knowledgeable dog bite injury lawyer will be able to handle all of your concerns and questions. Give us a call 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 sustained injury due to a dog bite.
R.S.Mo. § 273.036 states 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, your dog bite injury lawyer 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 liable regardless of whether he or she took reasonable care to prevent the dog bite, such as restraining the dog, or didn’t know the dog could be dangerous. The statute also dictates a $1,000 fine to a dog owner held liable for a dog bite, as well as any additional damages you can prove.
After being injured from a dog bite, you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, including lost income if not able to work, pain and suffering, and property damage. Frequent legal defenses to responsibility 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 prior to 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 far-reaching than Missouri's dog bite law as it also includes guidelines about what happens to dogs after they bite another human, which in Missouri is delegated to local 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 liable 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
Like Missouri, Illinois has a strict liability statute, meaning the dog owner is legally responsible for a dog attack regardless of whether the dog acted dangerously in the past or previously attacked someone. Note, however that the Illinois statute covers all injuries caused by a dog, not simply bites. So, as an example, if a dog jumps on you 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 St. Charles County, MO?
Both Missouri and Illinois have mostly matching requirements they follow after a dog bites a human being. The sole difference is that Illinois' dog bite procedures are part of the state Animal Control Act, while Missouri's procedures are determined by each county or city. While this allows for some differences in other matters relating to dogs (for example, some cities in Missouri specifically ban certain dog breeds like pit bulls), for the most part the protocol after a dog bite is identical.
Following the report of a dog bite, St. Charles County, MO animal control will take the dog into custody for 10 days. The dog will be taken to a central facility such as an animal shelter or a veterinarian's office near St. Charles County, MO. The dog will then be watched for that time and checked for illnesses, most notably rabies. Before the dog is allowed to exit the facility, a tracking microchip is inserted into the dog, and if their owner has not done so already the animal is spayed or neutered. If St. Charles County, 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.
After a dog is returned to the custody of its owner in St. Charles County, MO, it is also entered into a statewide database of "dangerous" (in Missouri) or "vicious" (in Illinois) dogs. St. Charles County, MO owners of dogs listed in these categories must keep them in secure pens or kennels, and when out in public they are obligated to keep them on a short leash and muzzled. If a dangerous or vicious dog bites another person once again, they are once again placed under observation. However, this time the St. Charles County, MO owners must file an appeal and prove 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 St. Charles County, MO?
Dog bite injuries in St. Charles County, MO can vary in their size, but one thing is for certain: they are no joke. Dogs have strong jaws — research has found that on average, a dog's bite exerts 320 pounds per square inch of force, more than double the strength of a human's bite — and sharp teeth, both legacies of their predatorial ancestors. While, for instance, being bit by a chihuahua will not cause as many injuries as being bit by a rottweiler, the most common injuries our St. Charles County, 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
A top St. Charles County, MO dog bite injury lawyer can assist you in recovering 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 drugs, necessary rehab or physical therapy, and any psychiatric counseling needed in St. Charles County, MO. If the dog that bit you also damaged your St. Charles County, MO property — for instance, if you were bit while riding a bike and the dog also broke part of your frame — a St. Charles County, 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 caused you.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of dog bite lawsuits never go in front of a jury. St. Charles County, MO insurance companies do not want to chance having to potentially pay a large jury award, while plaintiffs like settlements as they avoid lengthy court cases and put money in their pocketbooks 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 St. Charles County, MO Who Fights For His Clients | Missouri Injury Law Firm St. Charles County, MO
Lawyer Gene Hou and his dog bite injury attorneys near St. Charles County, MO, know that getting bit by a dog is an experience no one should have to go through. The Missouri Injury team takes time out to get to know all of its clients in St. Charles County, MO and ensures that they do not have to go through the legal process alone. Additionally, the entire St. Charles County, MO dog bite injury lawyer team brings a unique combination of legal knowledge both in private practice and as staff attorneys for a major insurance firm into the courtroom, which means that Gene Hou knows how insurance companies work and can fight for your maximum financial award.
If you or a loved one has recently been bit by a dog in St. Charles County, MO, do not wait to reach out to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer. Give us a call today at 636-333-1717 or contact us online to set up a no-cost, no-risk consultation.