A dog can cause a tremendous amount of harm if they attack another animal or human being, including skin lacerations, soft tissue damage, and potentially life-threatening infections. The jaws of larger canines may be capable of tearing ligaments and fracturing bones.
Small children and elderly adults are particularly susceptible to serious harm from dog bites, but anyone who suffers a severe injury due to an attack from a domesticated animal should contact a Creve Coeur dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. State law is generous when it comes to granting dog bite victims cause to file suit over their injuries, and a seasoned personal injury attorney could help you take full advantage of your legal rights.
While some states adhere to a “one bite” rule that grants dog owners immunity from civil liability the first time their dog bites another person or animal, Missouri courts are much less generous. Under Missouri Revised Statutes §273.036, the owner of a domesticated dog is strictly liable for any damages their pet causes by biting someone else, regardless of whether the animal had ever shown violent tendencies before or whether the owner was aware of their dog’s violent tendencies.
Strict liability means that a bitten individual does not have to prove a dog owner was negligent in order to hold them liable for compensation. Instead, an injured plaintiff would only need to prove that the defendant in their claim is in fact the legal owner or caretaker of the dog that bit them.
However, if a person is bitten by a dog while trespassing on property owned by the animal’s owner, or if they did anything to provoke the dog into attacking them, then strict liability does not apply and they are not eligible for compensation. A nearby dog bite attorney could offer further clarification about how state law approaches this type of case and, if necessary, help contest allegations of comparative fault made against a plaintiff.
Through a successful settlement demand or civil lawsuit, someone bitten by an aggressive canine could seek recovery for both economic and non-economic losses that resulted. In addition to objective financial losses like medical bills and wages lost due to time spent out of work, a qualified dog attack attorney in Creve Coeur could seek restitution for subjective forms of harm like physical pain, psychological trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life, as well as the lifelong impacts of permanent disfigurement or disability.
However, like any other civil case in Missouri, dog bite claims are beholden to a statute of limitations that sets a strict filing deadline for prospective plaintiffs. Under Missouri Revised Statutes §516.120, anyone who fails to file suit for a personal injury within five years of the date that injury occurred is generally barred from seeking compensation for that particular incident.
Aggressive dogs can be incredibly dangerous to unsuspecting passersby, and the injuries that may stem from a bite are often both painful, traumatic, and expensive to treat. Fortunately, state law allows you to hold a dog’s owner strictly liable for a canine bite and seek comprehensive financial restitution for your damages in most situations.
Working with a local dog bite lawyer is often a critical component of achieving a successful outcome to this kind of case. To learn more about how a skilled attorney could help you, call today.