Legal Rights of Missouri Dog Bite Victims
Dogs can be wonderful pets and provide years of fun and companionship. Unfortunately, dogs can also be a liability for their owners, particularly dogs who are prone to aggression. When a dog attacks and bites a person, the victim has a right to be compensated for their injuries. To receive compensation for injuries, the bite victim has to file a dog bite claim or lawsuit. Missouri dog bite lawsuits are civil cases and they are handled by St. Louis personal injury attorneys.
“One Bite” Law
While some states follow a “one bite” law, some states will award compensation to victims if the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the attack. In addition, Missouri law strictly protects the rights of all dog bite victims and places the burden on the dog owner. A MO dog bite victim injury attorney can help you determine what your legal rights are after a dog bite and whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Injuries from a dog attack can be severe and can cause permanent pain and disabilities. Large dogs can remove large portions of muscle and tissue, causing a victim to undergo painful surgeries and even skin grafts in an attempt to recover. Scarring is also common after a dog bite and victims may need to seek the services of a specialized plastic surgeon following an attack. When this occurs, you may find yourself struggling to pay medical bills, resume work or even enjoy life to the fullest. A Missouri dog bite attorney can help you navigate the dog bite tort law. Your lawyer will also help you recover damages and help you get your life back on track.
Missouri used to follow a One Bite Law, which meant that a victim could only sue if the dog had a history of biting. The burden was on the victim to prove that the dog was a danger and the owner was already aware of the danger. Recent changes in Missouri law (Missouri statute 273.036) has placed the burden on the dog owner himself.
Missouri’s Updated Dog Bite Laws
Under the new state law, anyone who has been bitten by a dog can seek financial compensation for their injuries. As long as the victim did not provoke the attack in any way, the owner is now liable for any and all injuries. Victims of a dog bite can seek financial compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, pain, psychological or emotional trauma and future disabilities.
Investigation after a Dog Bite Attack in St. Louis, Missouri
A dog attack can be an extremely traumatic experience. The dog bite victim is often left with serious physical injuries, permanent scaring, emotional trauma, and pain. When an injury victim suffers from these types of harm after a bite, it is important to contact a dog bite victim injury lawyer.
Changes in Missouri Dog Bite Law
Missouri dog bite liability changed in 2009. Some lawyers used to call MO a “one bite state.” The dog bite tort law in MO used to require the personal injury victim show the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog knew of the propensities. A few examples of vicious propensities in dog bite lawsuits would be, prior bites, severe aggressiveness, etc. A dog bite compensation attorney will be able to help you determine if there is insurance that may provide financial compensation to cover the bite. It is typical for the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance to step up and cover the damages caused by the dog. Often times, dog bite cases can be resolved without the need to file a lawsuit. Skillful negotiations can usually get the case resolved.
Since the state of Missouri is no longer a “one bite law” state, any dog bite victim can seek compensation for their injuries without proving the dog had known aggressive or dangerous propensities. It is important to note that, dog owners are probably not going to be held if the dog bite victim was trespassing or if the victim provoked the attack in any way. A dog bite compensation lawyer will need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack to help you determine if the dog was provoked prior to the attack.
Thorough Dog Bite Investigation
Dog bite liability often turns on the investigation that was done soon after the bite. It is crucial to investigate the facts surrounding the dog attack, the dog bite injury itself and the dog owner. Experienced Missouri dog bite attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts. The lawyers at our firm always:
- Obtain the police report;
- Obtain the animal control report;
- Take recorded statements from the dog owner and anyone that witnessed the animal attack; and
- Interview neighbors that lived near the dog.
This investigation needs to be done as soon as possible. The more time that goes by, the more witness’ memories fade, scenes change, and vegetation grows or is cut back.
In sum, if you have been involved in a dog attack and have sustained a dog bite injury, it is important to contact a St. Louis dog bite lawyer who is experienced in investigating dog bite injury cases.
In addition to investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack, your attorney will investigate the dog owner to determine if his negligence contributed to the dog attack. In many situations, an aggressive dog that bites others can often be traced back to an owner that has been negligent. Proving that the dog owner was negligent will help solidify your case and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Call a St. Louis Dog Bite Attorney at Page Law Today
Our attorneys have an extensive knowledge of Missouri’s dog bite statute (273.036) and we aggressively pursue the maximum compensation for all of our clients. We know how traumatic a dog bite can be. Contact us immediately for a free consultation. You will never pay any fees unless we recover money for you. Please call (314) 322-8515 for an immediate response from an attorney at Page Law or contact us online at firstname.lastname@example.org.