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Strict Liability for Owner’s of Dangerous Dogs

In Missouri, an animal owner does not have to be found negligent in order to be held responsible for their pet’s actions.

beware-of-the-dogIf the animal is known to be dangerous, then just the fact that the pet hurt a person is enough to show liability. This is known as strict liability in personal injury litigation. If you or someone in your family has been bitten by a dog or other pet, get in touch with a Missouri personal injury attorney. Not only should you be compensated for your injury, but if the pet is truly dangerous, than the proper authorities need to be made aware of its presence.

Proving Negligence

The basis of all personal injury lawsuits is showing how negligence or recklessness of one party caused harm to another. With strict liability, that burden of proof is removed. Since one cannot hold a pet accountable for its actions, that duty must fall on the shoulders of its owner, even if there was no negligent behavior on his part.

The Duties of a Dog Owner

Without fail, it is always the duty of a dog owner to make sure it does not inflict harm onto others. They should take proper measures to ensure that their pet is trained and socialized as well as up to date with its vaccinations. Even inside the home, the owner of a dog is responsible for the pet’s actions when visitors are in the house. Dogs bite people for any number of reasons, such as fear or a show of dominance. With a dog bite claim it is not important why the victim was bit; the importance is what should have been done to prevent it.

If You Are Bitten By Someone’s Pet

While young children make up more than half of all dog bite victims in the United States, anyone who comes into contact with a strange pet is putting themselves at risk. While dining at an associates’ home, a young Missouri business woman was disfigured when the homeowner’s dog bit her in the face. Over 100 stitches were used to repair the damage to her face, resulting in permanent scarring that will affect her appearance for the rest of her life. In a situation such as this one, the advice of a plastic surgeon should also be taken into account to ensure that any future medical care to repair the disfigurement is also considered in the claim. This young lady was awarded $105,000 for her injury.

While strict liability may seem harsh for an animal owner who had no control over their pet’s actions, it is necessary in order to make sure that people injured by dogs are able to be compensated for their injury. A person’s homeowner’s insurance policy will usually absorb the cost of this type of claim. Unfortunately, not every dog owner is a homeowner so alternate means of receiving compensation will need to be explored.  The most important thing to do after an animal bite is to seek medical attention. Beyond that, talk with The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 to get you started on receiving compensation for your damages.

Photo credit: cogdogblog via Flickr

Updated: May 16, 2024