St. Charles Dog Bite Lawyer

Many people keep dogs for companionship, hunting, and therapeutic assistance but, like any animal, dogs can be unpredictable. Even a normally friendly dog might become aggressive under the right circumstances, and their owner might be unable to predict what sets them off.

Dog bites can cause severe physical injuries and lifelong psychological trauma. An uncontrolled dog has the potential to be a dangerous weapon, so the law makes owners responsible for harm their dog does to others. If you have suffered injuries in a dog attack, you could bring a case for damages against the dog’s owners with the assistance of a personal injury attorney. A St. Charles dog bite lawyer could help you bring your claim and hold the dog’s owner accountable.

When Are Dog Owners Strictly Liable?

Missouri Revised Statute §273.036 imposes strict liability on a dog owner if the dog bites someone. This means that the owner could be liable to an injured party the first time the animal bites.

There are some significant limitations to this law, however. Firstly, the dog must have bitten the plaintiff, and an owner is not necessarily liable if a dog knocks someone over and injures them. An injured person can only hold the owner liable if the bite took place on public property, or private property if the plaintiff had permission to be there. A trespasser cannot seek damages for a bite that happened while they were on private property without permission.

An owner is also not liable if the plaintiff provoked the dog. A local dog bite lawyer could review the events around the incident to advise whether provocation might be a plausible defense that would defeat a claim for damages in a particular case.

How Does Comparative Negligence Rules Apply in These Cases?

Although strict liability makes a dog’s owner liable for any damages a bite victim suffers in most circumstances, the injured party’s behavior can impact the damages they can collect. If the plaintiff was negligent in some way and that negligence contributed to them getting bitten, or affected the severity of their injuries, the law takes that negligence into account.

In a case seeking damages, a judge apportions liability among all the parties. If the plaintiff was partially at fault, the judge must reduce any award of damages by a percentage that reflects the victim’s degree of responsibility. A St. Charles attorney experienced in dog bite cases could determine if the plaintiff is likely to be found at partial fault for their injuries.

Dog Bite Injuries

Sometimes dog owners overlook the severity of the damage a dog bite can do. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 800,000 dog bite injuries require medical attention every year.

Children suffer nearly 70 percent of the bites that require medical attention. Sadly, their injuries often include bites to the face that lead to permanent scars. Injuries dog bite victims might suffer include:

  • Soft tissue damage that temporarily or permanently restricts function
  • Complex wounds requiring sutures
  • Amputations
  • Complications due to infection of the bite area
  • Significant psychological trauma

These injuries can incur high medical costs and lasting consequences, and the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries can affect how much compensation they recover through a personal injury claim.

Let a St. Charles Attorney Take On Your Dog Bite Case

People injured by dog bites sometimes try to negotiate with an owner or their insurance company on their own after their incident. This may be unwise because securing money damages that adequately compensate for an injury is not a straightforward process, and often requires someone who is knowledgeable about the law and can view the case objectively. A St. Charles dog bite lawyer could examine the facts of your case and help you obtain the compensation that you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.