Missouri Dog Bite Attorneys
According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and one in five dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention. These attacks can occur anywhere and at anytime. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that more than 50 percent of dog bites occur on the dog owner's property. If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog in Missouri it is crucial that you speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. State law is very specific with respect to dog bites and the liability of the dog's owner.
The Responsibility of Dog Owners
It was only a few years ago that dog bite victims had to prove that the dog had a history of dangerous tendencies in order to pursue compensation for their dog bite injuries. Now Missouri Revised Statute Section 273.036 does not require an animal to have a history of violence for the owner to be held responsible for an attack. Missouri's strict liability statute states: "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."
Types of Injuries Suffered in Dog Bite Attacks
Depending upon the size and viciousness of the dog, the resulting injuries of an attack can range from minor to fatal. Some common injuries suffered in dog bites include:
- Punctures wounds
- Tissue loss, if the animal gets a good hold of the victim
- Fractured bones, if the dog is able to clamp down on the victim.
- Scars from the attack and subsequent surgeries.
- Infections such as rabies.
If you suffer from a dog bite, it is important to clean your wounds immediately. Additionally, you should seek medical attention and advice regarding rabies. If you are not familiar with the dog or its owner, contact your local animal control board and report the incident. Missouri animal control officers may be able to locate the dog and determine its rabies vaccination status.
Several factors, including the dog's prior behavior, the use of a "Bad Dog" warning sign, whether the dog was provoked, and the law of the particular city or county where the bite occurred, will be important in determining the dog owner's legal liability in regards to a Missouri dog bite. Some states impose liability only if the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was aggressive. In these states, the first bite is said to be "free." That is, since the dog has not bitten before, the owner has no knowledge of the dog's tendency to do so. Other states impose liability regardless of the owner's knowledge. In these states simply owning a dog is sufficient for legal liability.
Wounds: The skin consists of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and the fat layer. The epidermis is an extremely thin top layer which we most associate with the term "skin." The dermis is immediately below the epidermis and is home to hair follicles, sweat glands, and small blood carrying capillaries. The bottom fat layer contains just that along with blood vessels and nerves. All of these layers can be permanently injured in a dog attack.
Time Limits & Dog Bites
Statutes of limitation vary from state to state. In general, they limit the amount of time a dog bite victim has to file a lawsuit. Failure to timely and properly file suit within the applicable limitation period may forever bar your claim. You should contact a dedicated Missouri dog bite attorney to discuss the statute of limitations as they relate to your case.
As long as the victim did not provoke the dog and was not trespassing at the time of the attack, he or she may pursue financial compensation from the dog owner for the damages suffered. All losses sustained by the dog bite victim should be considered in a lawsuit. Damages covered by a successful civil lawsuit include medical expenses, future medical procedures related to the attack, time away from work, therapy fees, physical pain and mental anguish.
Our reliable St. Louis dog bite lawyers have successfully represented victims of serious dog bites. We have helped these victims secure much-needed compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and cost of expensive cosmetic surgery to repair scars. A number of dog bite victims also suffer emotionally and psychologically, as they cope with physical pain, fear and mental anguish. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Missouri dog attack, please call our law offices at for a free consultation. We are here to help you through this difficult time.
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