Almost half of all Missouri households have at least one dog as part of their family. We love our furry friends, but sometimes, that love can come with risks. Dogs can be unpredictable; they are animals, after all. Improper training, an unknown illness or injury, or simply the wrong time and place can lead to a dog bite. Determining liability in the case of a dog bite can be tricky, and the circumstances of the bite can impact liability. Missouri has dog bite laws that can help to determine who is liable for dog bites when they occur.
Dog Bite Liability
Under Missouri law, anyone who owns or is in possession of a dog that bites someone may be held liable for injuries and damages. There are several factors that determine liability, however. First of all is whether the attack was provoked or unprovoked. Sometimes, a dog bites for seemingly no reason and with no warning. Other times, a person may provoke the dog, causing it to lash out in self defense. If the attack was unprovoked, the dog’s owner or whoever is in possession of it at the time will be held liable for damages or injuries caused by the bite. If the damaged party was partially at fault for the incident, then the compensation is reduced by a certain percentage. That percentage is determined by the amount the damaged party contributed to the incident. For example, if someone teases a dog or otherwise provokes the dog, that person will have some fault in the incident and reduce the amount of compensation.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Injuries from dog bites can range from minor to severe and life-threatening. Recovery isn’t always easy, and sometimes may include more than just physical injuries. Dog bites can cause long-lasting trauma for the person bitten, leading to pain and suffering. There’s also the potential for lost wages during recovery.
When dogs bite, they often attack a person’s hands, legs, face, or arms. Even small dogs can have incredibly strong jaws and teeth that can easily break skin. The most common types of dog bites injuries in Missouri are:
- Punctured skin
- Bruises and scrapes
- Bacterial infections
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Nerve damage
- Emotional suffering and trauma
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you were bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. No matter how minor the injury may seem, you should always have a medical professional check and clean the wound. You should also report the incident to animal control to ensure the dog is up to date on vaccines that can spread dangerous and deadly disease. Get the contact information of the dog’s owner or whoever is in control of the dog during the incident; that can include a dog walker, friend, or family member of the owner. Document your injuries and other damages, such as torn clothing or a cracked phone screen that happened during the attack. Keep records of medical bills and other related costs as well as any time taken off work to recover from the injuries. Finally, consult a Missouri dog bite lawyer who can go over your case with you to determine if you’re eligible for compensation.
Do you need a Missouri Dog Bite Injury Lawyer?
Establishing liability in dog bite cases can be difficult. Local and state laws can affect the outcome of a dog bite injury case, but a knowledgeable attorney can help. If you were bitten by a dog in Missouri, contact Dreyer & Tinney for a free consultation to discuss your case.