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Dog Bites and Missouri Law: What Every Victim Needs To Know


Over 4 million Americans are bit by a dog every year. Around 20% of these will cause a serious injury.

st-louis-dog-bite-attorneyUnlike other states that have enacted “one bite” laws, Missouri has taken a firmer stance. Dogs have no second chance here. If you or your child received medical care for a dog bite, contact a Missouri personal injury attorney immediately. Not only may the owner be charged a fine, but you may have the right to compensation.

Last year, an estimated 27,000 Americans needed reconstructive surgery after being bitten by a dog. One Missouri woman was bitten in the face while dining in a friends’ home. Over 100 stitches were required to repair the wound and she was left with an unsightly facial scare. The $105,000 awarded to her is not only for the injury, but also reflects the cost of future cosmetic surgery.

How is liability determined?

According to Missouri law, so long as the plaintiff was on the dog owners’ property with permission, the dogs’ owner is liable for its actions. Even in the previously mentioned case, where the young lady had bent down to pet the dog, the owner was still found to be liable. In order for this type of negligence claim to succeed, the plaintiff needs to show how the dogs’ owner had a responsibility to protect them from their pet and that failure to do so caused it to bite.

Receiving Compensation

If you were the victim of a dog bite you may be eligible to receive compensation for all of your medical treatment, even future treatments or surgery. If you also suffered emotionally, physchological treatment may be factored in. Other costs that your personal injury attorney should consider are:

  • Loss of income – both immediately after the accident as well as future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medications
  • Property damage – such as broken glasses
  • If the incident involved your own dog and it too was injured, then that veterinary treatment may also be in your claim.

In the event that you are bitten outside of the defendant’s house, you may still have a claim. Missouri law is clear: Owners of a dog are responsible for its actions while it is on public property or private. It also allows a defendant to claim comparative negligence. In this case if a jury finds that you were partly to blame for the incident, then a percentage of your award, equal to that of your determined negligence, shall go to the defendant. It will benefit you greatly to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side.

St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers

No one starts off their day thinking that they will get bit by a dog. Bite injuries are painful and can cause permanent scarring. That is why it is in your best interest to avoid contact with dogs that are chained up or show signs of aggressive behavior. However, if you are bit, contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.

Call (314) 361-4300 to schedule a free consultation.

photo credit: State Farm

Updated: May 16, 2024
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