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Specialist St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers

At Missouri Injury Law Firm, we understand the distress and challenges victims of dog bites can face. Our specialized legal team is dedicated to supporting and representing those injured in such incidents across Missouri. We combine professional expertise with a compassionate approach. Our ultimate goal is to ensure each client receives the attention and advocacy they need to navigate their legal rights and secure rightful compensation. We always maintain the utmost professionalism and sensitivity to your situation. Contact us today for a free case review and consultation.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

After experiencing a dog bite, taking the right steps is crucial for both your health and any potential legal action.

Liability in Dog Bite Cases in Missouri

Determining liability in dog bite cases revolves around understanding state-specific laws and statutes. 
Missouri follows a ‘strict liability’ dog bite law, meaning the dog owner is generally liable for any injuries their dog causes, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior. This liability applies if the victim was bit without provocation and was either on public property or lawfully on private property, including the dog owner’s property. This differs from the ‘one bite’ rule in other states, where owners might not be held liable for a first incident. 
In addition to the owner, others may also be held responsible under certain conditions, such as landlords if they knew of a dangerous dog on their property, or caretakers of the dog at the time of the bite. 
Missouri’s dog bite statute also covers injuries not caused by a bite, such as if a dog knocks someone over, leading to an injury. However, the victim’s own negligence or provocation can impact the claim.

Types of Compensation for Dog Bite Victims in Missouri

In Missouri, victims of dog bites are entitled to various types of compensation, reflecting the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of their injuries. Our skilled legal team will ensure a comprehensive evaluation of all damages and effective representation in securing rightful compensation for all aspects of your injury.

Medical Expenses

This includes immediate medical costs such as emergency room visits, hospital stays, medications, and ongoing expenses like physical therapy or reconstructive surgery.

Lost Wages

Compensation for lost wages can be claimed if the injury causes you to miss work. This also covers future lost earning potential if the injury results in long-term disability.

Pain and Suffering

Victims can seek compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the dog bite. This considers the severity and longevity of the pain, as well as any psychological effects like anxiety or PTSD.

Property Damage

If personal property (such as clothing or glasses) was damaged during the incident, victims can claim compensation for these losses.

Legal Costs

In some cases, legal fees and other expenses related to pursuing the dog bite claim can be included in the compensation.

Children and Dog Bites

Children are particularly vulnerable to dog bites, often suffering more severe consequences due to their small size and lack of awareness about how to safely interact with dogs. 
In Missouri, when a dog bites a child, the legal process and considerations can be somewhat different compared to adults. Firstly, the emotional and psychological impact on a child can be profound, leading to long-term fears or phobias, which are important factors in any legal claim. 
Physically, injuries to children might be more severe and can result in scarring or disfigurement, especially if the bite is on the face. Legally, parents or guardians can file a claim on behalf of the child to seek compensation for medical expenses, psychological counseling, and any long-term care required. 
The strict liability rule in dog bite cases applies regardless of the child’s actions, meaning the dog owner is usually liable even if the child provoked the dog. However, the amount of compensation can be influenced by the circumstances, such as if the child was trespassing.
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Why Choose Missouri Injury Law Firm for Your Dog Bite Case

At Missouri Injury Law Firm, you’re not just getting a legal team; you’re partnering with dedicated professionals who combine legal expertise with genuine care to achieve a favorable outcome in your dog bite case.

What If The Dog That Bit Me Has Bitten Other People Before?

In Missouri, if a dog has bit someone and the owner has had to pay the resulting fine and damages, as of 2017, it is classified as a “dangerous dog”. Missouri RS 578.024 is the law that defines the concept and outlines penalties for what happens if a dangerous dog bites a person.
If a dog bites you and your dog bite injury lawyer finds out that this is not the first time this dog has attacked someone, their owner is now liable for criminal penalties as well as any civil damages. This is because most local jurisdictions require owners to properly secure, leash, and/or muzzle dangerous dogs. These penalties differ by the severity of the dog bite injury:

If a dog bite caused a non-serious injury, the owner faces a class B misdemeanor (punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000).

If a dog bite causes a serious injury, the owner faces a class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000).

If a dog bite causes a serious injury and a previous dog bite has also caused a serious injury, the owner could be subject to a Class E felony (punishable by up to four years in prison).

If a dog bite results in death, the owner can be charged with a Class D felony and face up to seven years in prison.

Furthermore, dogs deemed dangerous must be impounded by the local county sheriff or animal control authority after they have bit someone.

The dog’s owner must file an appeal for the dog to be released. If a court denies that appeal, or if the appeal is not filed within ten days, the dog must be put down, and the owner is on the hook for costs related to the dog’s care and feeding during its time in custody.

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Find answers to frequently asked questions about our personal injury law firm.

Even though they do not have an owner who can easily be held liable, it is still possible to recover damages after being bit by a stray dog. You should investigate the following things with your attorney if you get bit by a stray dog in Missouri:

  • Was this dog previously reported as dangerous?

Cities are responsible for making sure dangerous animals are not running freely around town. It’s possible someone had already reported this animal as being dangerous, and the city or county you were in did not take this dog into custody, or you were bit by a stray dog on public property. It could also be that the dog was previously picked up by animal control but somehow managed to escape back into the wild. Under any of these circumstances, the local area may be liable for your attack and resulting injuries, as they did not maintain safe premises.

  • Were you on private property?

If a property owner knew that there was a stray dog on their premises and did not at least warn others of potential danger, they can be deemed negligent and thus liable for a lawsuit. Make sure you have the right to be on this property, though: Missouri law deems property or dog owners not liable if someone was bit by a dog while unlawfully trespassing on private property.

  • Could authorities find the dog’s owner?

It’s entirely possible that during an investigation, it is determined that the stray dog that bit you is actually not a stray at all, but rather a dog either willfully abandoned by its owner or allowed to run free. Now, not only can we prove liability much easier, but the dog owner could also be subject to additional criminal charges, as animal abandonment is a Class C misdemeanor in Missouri.

Each jury award or settlement in a dog bite lawsuit takes into account a large number of factors. These include the severity of your dog bite injuries, how much treatment you required, and how long you were unable to earn a living after your attack.

Most dog bite lawsuits are settled before they go in front of a jury. Insurance companies like settlements because they avoid the risk of large jury awards, while plaintiffs may want a settlement as it allows for a quick resolution without the time and expense of a trial. According to data from a leading insurance firm, the average dog bite lawsuit settlement in Missouri for 2019 was $47,411.

However, you should keep in mind that Missouri is also what is known as a “comparative fault” state. What this means is that if a judge or jury decides that both parties were at least somewhat responsible for a dog bite attack, they can reduce the reward proportion to how much the plaintiff was liable.

In Missouri, you generally have five years from the incident date to file a dog-bite lawsuit. However, talking to an attorney will ensure you meet all necessary deadlines. 

Are you struggling to find dog bite lawyers in St Louis? Call Missouri Injury Law Firm today to discuss your case. Our St Louis animal attack lawyers are here to protect your rights and help you get maximum compensation for your case.

Dogs are natural predators. With sharp teeth and strong jaws, their bites can be particularly vicious. The severity of your injuries can vary based on the size and breed of the dog that bit you. However, some of the most common dog bite injuries are:

  • Cuts, bruises, or lacerations
  • Infection: canine saliva can carry multiple bacteria strains that are harmful to humans
  • Broken or cracked bones
  • Damage to nerves and scarring
  • Rabies or tetanus
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional trauma

Get expert legal assistance for dog bite injuries in St Louis by contacting our personal injury lawyers today.

In a dog bite case, the fate of the dog largely depends on the specific circumstances and local regulations. Typically, animal control will investigate the incident to assess the dog’s behavior and history. 

If the dog is deemed dangerous or has a history of aggression, it may be subject to measures like quarantine, behavioral assessment, or, in severe cases, euthanasia. 

However, if the dog has no history of aggression, it might be returned to its owner with specific conditions or warnings. 

Each case is evaluated individually, and the primary concern is always public safety and preventing future incidents.

Yes, you can sue for a minor dog bite in Missouri. Even if the injury seems minor, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, or other damages. Missouri law allows victims of dog bites to seek legal recourse regardless of the severity of the injury. Call Missouri Injury Law Firm today for a free case review and consultation.

In St. Louis, Missouri, dog bite liability is governed by Missouri’s dog bite statute (RSMo § 273.036). This law states that the owner or possessor of the dog is liable for damages when their dog bites or injures another person. 

The statute applies regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness, meaning Missouri follows a “strict liability” approach for dog bites. The owner is responsible for injuries caused by their dog biting someone who is on public property or lawfully on private property, including the property of the dog owner.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as if the person bitten was trespassing with criminal intent, provoking the dog, or performing a paid service involving the dog where the risk of dog bites is inherent to the job (e.g., veterinary work).

While specific statistics regarding the frequency of dog bite injuries in St. Louis may vary year by year, dog bites are a common public health concern both in Missouri and across the United States. Nationwide, millions of Americans are bitten by dogs annually, with a significant portion of these incidents resulting in medical treatment and, in some cases, hospitalization.

Children are often more susceptible to dog bites than adults and can suffer more severe injuries. Local health departments and animal control agencies in St. Louis and surrounding areas frequently deal with reports of dog bites and work towards public education and safety measures to reduce these incidents.

Given the potential severity and frequency of dog bite incidents, it’s important for dog owners to understand their legal responsibilities and for victims to know their rights.