Our state legislature has recently recognized that dog bite victims are now entitled to greater protection under Missouri law. By adopting a strict liability standard, the state of Missouri now holds dog owners responsible for all damage caused by their canine. Prior Missouri law required dog bite victims to show that the owner of the dog knew or should have known that their dog exhibited a vicious propensity in the past. This prior Missouri dog bite law prevented many victims from receiving reimbursement for their injuries.
Under the old Missouri dog bite law, dog bite victims had a very difficult time proving that the owner of the dog knew or should have known that their dog had exhibited aggressive behavior in the past. While the previous Missouri dog by law did not require the victim to show that the dog had actually bitten someone before, the victim was required to show some sort of aggressive behavior on the part of the dog that the dog owner knew or should have known about. Under the old dog bite law, if the victim of a dog bite was unable to come up with any evidence of the attacking dogs prior viscous propensities, they were unable to recover any reimbursement from the dog owner for their medical bills, lost wages, scarring, pain and suffering, future medical treatment, etc. The injustice of this high burden on an injured dog bite victim forced the state of Missouri to amend its policy regarding dog bites to provide more protection to those injured.
Missouri’s new strict liability dog bite law now holds dog owners 100% responsible for their dogs unprovoked attack on another person. The state of Missouri maintains one caveat to the new strict liability standard: the dog attack must have been unprovoked. A dog owner is not responsible for the damage their dog causes if the victim provokes the dog into attacking. The standard of whether or not another individual provoked a dog attack still remains unclear under Missouri statute. Missouri juries are often assigned the task of determining if a certain behavior provoked the dog into attacking the victim. This issue of provocation is determined on a case-by-case basis in the state of Missouri. However, absent any evidence of provocation by the victim, a dog owner is fully responsible for the actions of their canine.
The new Missouri strict liability dog bite law takes into account the feral nature which lies at the heart of all dogs. Pet owners need to remember that the common domesticated dog is a descendant of the grey wolf. While a dog may be house broken or trained to roll over and shake hands, it is import that pet owners realize their canine is hardwired with certain instinctual behaviors which override training when the circumstances present themselves. The new strict liability dog bite law incorporates this wild and uncontrollable element into the responsibilities of pet ownership
Dog bites often result in very serious injuries and scarring to the victim. If you’re the victim of a Missouri dog bite, it is import that you contact a Missouri dog bite lawyer to ensure you are receiving compensation for all the damages you have to stained. For instance, many people are unaware that they are entitled to have a future scar revision surgery to remove the permanent scarring from their injury. In order to make sure that you are receiving reimbursement for all of your farms and losses, it is important that you contact a Missouri dog bite lawyer immediately after you have sustained an injury. Missouri dog bite lawyer Chris Dixon has experience handling dog bite claims across the state of Missouri. For assistance with your Missouri dog bite claim, call Christopher R. Dixon at 1.314.409.7060, or toll free at 855.402.7274 to speak to an attorney immediately.