St. Louis Dog Bites Lawyer

A dog attack can be a very traumatic event, usually happening very suddenly and unexpectedly. There is no real way to prepare for a dog attack. Sometimes, an attack can happen with a dog that you are very familiar with and trusting of. Other times, the attack may be coming from a dog you have never seen before. Often dogs, both familiar and strange, may attack because they are afraid or surprised. Regardless of your relationship with the dog or scenario that may have induced the attack, dog bite injuries can be excruciating and may require extensive medical treatment. Thousands of people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs every year, and unfortunately, most of these victims are children. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if a dog bites you to prevent dangerous infections and contagious diseases. If the attack was severe, reconstructive surgery might even be necessary. Regardless of how severe the injury is, you should not wait to seek medical attention if you have been attacked by a dog.

Missouri Dog Bite Laws

Missouri is a strict liability dog bite state. Strict liability allows a victim of a dog bite to seek damages from the dog's owner even if the owner did not know the dog would bite someone and even if the owner was not negligent in handling the dog. In other words, the dog owner can be liable for their dog's biting even if the owner personally did nothing wrong. This strict liability standard is meant to keep dog owners accountable for their pets and make sure that owners keep in mind others' safety - no matter how harmless they believe their pet to be.

Compensation for Dog Bite Victims

A dog bite injury attorney with experience can help victims collect the compensation they deserve for their injuries. This compensation may be derived from the following, depending on the facts of your case:

  • Past and Future Medical Expenses
  • Past and Future Income
  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Disfigurement

Having an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side will help ensure that you collect all of the compensation you deserve for the injury you have suffered. In dog bite cases, compensation for damages usually come from the homeowner's or renters' insurance policy. If the dog owner is uninsured or underinsured, we may be able to find you additional coverage through an umbrella insurance policy, excess insurance policy, or canine liability policy. At Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, we are dedicated to doing anything necessary to get you the compensation you deserve, even if that means recovering damages directly from the dog owner's assets. We will take care of your entire case - from start to finish. If you or a loved one have been affected by a dog bite injury, we encourage you to immediately speak with a dog bite attorney. Our legal team is ready to help you get the maximum compensation available to you, and more importantly, the justice you need to move forward.

What Are the Dog Bite Laws in Missouri?

Statute of Limitations

In Missouri, a victim of a dog bite injury has five years to bring their dog bite case to court. This clock starts ticking on the date of the injury. If you wait over five years to bring your case up, it is unlikely the court will even hear your case. For this reason, it is crucial to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after the injury occurred. 

Missouri's Dog Bite Statute

Missouri has a personal injury law that specifically covers dog bite injuries. Section 273.036 Missouri Revised Statutes holds the dog owner liable if:

  • The injury was caused by a dog bite;
  • The person who was bitten was on public property or lawfully on private property; and
  • The person bitten did not provoke the dog.

Missouri Strict Liability

Strict liability means that the dog's owner is liable if the dog bites a person, even if the owner did not know and could not have known the dog would be aggressive. Some states require that the owner knows or should know that their dog is capable of being aggressive (i.e., the dog has bitten someone before). Missouri does not have this requirement for strict liability, which essentially means the owner can do nothing wrong and still be held accountable for their dogs' aggression.

However, this strict standard of liability only applies to injuries caused by actual dog bites. If some other dog behavior causes the injury (e.g., jumping), the dog owner would not be strictly liable. Instead, the injured person must bring a standard negligence case to show the dog owner should be held responsible.

Defenses to Liability

In Missouri, three of the most commonly used defenses against dog bite claims are:

  • Provocation
    • The dog owner may not be held liable if the person who was bitten provoked the dog beforehand.
    • Ex: Hitting or poking the dog repeatedly until it bites.
  • Trespassing
    • The dog owner may not be held liable if the person who was bitten was not on public property or lawfully on private property.
    • Ex: Cutting through the dog owner's backyard without their permission and getting bit by their dog.
  • Comparative Negligence
    • The dog owner may not be held fully liable if the person who was bitten was partly or entirely responsible for the injury.
    • Ex: The court finds the injured person to be 80% liable for their own injury, so the dog owner would only need to compensate the injured person with 20% of the total damages.

Dog Bite Attorneys

Dog bites can often result in serious injuries, sometimes even disfigurement or permanent scarring. The most important thing to do is to seek immediate medical care, and the next important thing is to seek legal assistance. Do not contact an insurance company or provide them with any information until you have spoken with an attorney. They might try to minimize your damages or even deny your entire claim. Let our experience at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry work for you, and ensure that you do not get taken advantage of. At Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry,  we want to make sure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve, and we will work tirelessly on your case from start to finish to guarantee that you get the best outcome available to you.