Dog Bite Injury Help
Although dogs are known as man’s best friend, they are also capable of hurting and killing children and adults. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, or god forbid a family member has died as a result of a dog attack, our St. Louis dog bite lawyers are standing by to help. To discuss your right to reimbursement for your injuries call 314-409-7060, or toll free at 855-402-7274 for a FREE consultation. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will lead the fight against the dog owners insurance company for the reimbursement of your harms and losses. All consultations are FREE, and there is NO FEE unless you win.
If you have suffered an attack from a dog, you should immediately seek medical treatment. Dog bite wounds often lead to infections and long term scarring. It is also wise to request a plastic surgeon take a look at the wound while you are in the emergency room to ensure the wound is closed properly. A short trip to the emergency room will help prevent future suffering.
Missouri Dog Bite Law
Strict liability generally means that a person is responsible for acts that hurt someone even if the person was not at fault or wasn’t careless or reckless. Missouri’s current strict liability dog bite law states:
Section 273.036.1, R.S.Mo. Cum. Supp. 2009:
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. Owners and possessors of the dogs shall also be strictly liable for any damage to property or livestock proximately caused by their dogs. If it is determined that the party had fault in the incident, any damages owed by the owner or possessor of the biting dog shall be reduced by the same percentage that the damaged party’s fault contributed to the incident. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs killing or maiming sheep or other domestic animals under section 273.020.
The current version of the Missouri dog bite law above is much more in favor of dog bite victims than the previous version. The old Missouri dog bite law stated as follows:
A possessor of a domestic animal that he knows or has reason to know has dangerous propensities abnormal to its class is subject to liability for harm done by the animal to another, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent it from doing harm. - Wilson v. Simmons, 103 S.W.3d 211 (Mo. App. W.D. 2003), quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts
This old rule was interpreted to mean that the dog owner must know or have reason to know of the animal’s abnormally dangerous nature – in other words, that the dog’s behavior is abnormal compared with that other dogs. This requirement has been eliminated to ensure dog bite victims receive full compensation for all of their harms and losses following a dog attack.
Dangerous Dogs in Missouri
Under the old Missouri dog bite law, certain dogs were held to be inherently dangerous. This meant that certain types of dogs were held to be more dangerous than others, thereby holding the owners of those dog breeds to a higher standard than others. These dogs usually included breeds such as pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, akitas, chows, and german shepherds.
However, under the 2009 changes to Missouri’s dog bite law, these differences were eliminated. Now, the owner of any dog who attacks another person is responsible for their animals attack, unless the victim was trespassing or provoked the dog into biting. Insurance companies regularly try to argue that the victims provoked the attack in an attempt to reduce the amount of money they will have to pay. These tactics are one of the main reasons the law was changed in the first place, and Missouri now thankfully provides additional protection to dog bite victims.
Dog Bite Injuries and Scarring
Dog attack injuries are some of the worst. Dog bites often happen to the face of the victims, especially when children are bitten. No matter where the dog bite occurs, the victim will often be left with a permanent scar. Facial scarring can leave the victim with an emotional burden and cause needless embarrassment. Scarring is often the precursor to physiological injury and adolescent ridicule. Dog bite victims are entitled to seek reimbursement for all of their injuries they receive from the attack, including future suffering.
It is crucial that in any dog bite case, you visit with a plastic surgeon who is able to either perform a scar revision surgery, or write a scar revision report. A plastic surgeon’s scar revision report will set forth the procedure required to reduce the visibility of the mark, as well as the cost associated with the operation. Often, plastic surgeons will wait until a child reaches the age of 18 before performing a scar revision surgery. For that reason, it is important to never settle a child’s dog bite case unless you have first obtained a scar revision report. This will ensure the child has the money to undergo necessary medical procedures when they reach the appropriate age. In addition, if the child must wait until they are 18 years of age, you must make sure to seek compensation for the emotional toll of having to live with the scar.
Dog Bite Verdicts and Settlements
In 2006, a man from Independence, Mo., was mowing grass on his property when he was viciously mauled by several pit bulls. A Jackson County judge found the owners of the rental property where the dogs were kept liable and awarded the man $7.25 million. The man’s wife was awarded $300,000 for her loss of consortium claim.
In 2009, a St. Peters man was in his backyard with his grandson. A pit bull belonging to the neighbor next door began barking and tried to crawl under the fence through a hole. As the man attempted to fill the hole with bricks, the dog bit his hand and pulled his arm under the fence. The dog did not have a history of prior attacks, but the dog’s owner was cited by the St. Charles County animal control for failing to provide adequate food, shelter and protection for the dog. A $500,000 settlement was reached, representing the full amount of the homeowner’s insurance policy.
A 9-year-old girl who was riding a scooter in front of her Bridgeton home was attacked by a pit bull after it escaped from a neighbor’s fenced yard. The girl was bitten several times on the left knee and leg. The dog had no history of aggressive behavior or dangerous propensities, but the neighbor was cited for violating the city’s leash law. A St. Louis County jury awarded a verdict of $200,000 to the girl.
St. Louis, Missouri Dog Bite Lawyer
The facts of each case, including the dog’s history, are unique to that case. Christopher R. Dixon has helped dog bite victims receive the full reimbursement for all of their harms and losses. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
For information on your personal injury case, call at 314-409-7060 or 855-402-7274 (toll free) for a FREE case consultation. There is NO FEE unless we win.