dog bite

Our Skilled Lawyer Explains What to Do if You've Been Bitten by a Dog in Missouri

Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. In Missouri, dog owners are held to a strict liability standard when their pet injures someone. This means you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, even if the dog had no previous history of aggression. If you've been the victim of a dog bite in Missouri, our experienced lawyers at Peterson & Associates, P.C. can guide you through the necessary steps to protect your rights and possible compensation.

Understanding Missouri's Strict Liability Dog Bite Law

Under Missouri's dog bite statute (Section 273.036 RSMo), dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog biting, attempting to bite, or otherwise attacking another person. This applies regardless of whether the owner knew the dog had vicious tendencies.

The strict liability law covers situations where the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property, including being an invited guest. The owner is liable if the victim did not provoke the dog.

Steps to Take After Suffering a Dog Bite  

Experiencing a dog bite can lead to significant physical and emotional repercussions. If you are bitten by a dog in Missouri, you must prioritize your health and legal protections by taking immediate action. 

The first thing to do is to seek medical attention without delay. Even if the injury seems minor, a health care professional should evaluate and treat the wound to prevent infection and ensure proper healing.

Next, promptly report the incident to your local animal control agency. This step is crucial, as it allows the authorities to verify the dog’s vaccination history and assess whether additional measures, such as quarantine or further investigation, are necessary.

These actions safeguard your health and strengthen your position should you choose to pursue legal recourse. Early reporting and medical documentation are pivotal in supporting future claims for damages due to the bite.

Damages You Can Recover After a Dog Bite

Dog bite injuries can range from minor cuts and puncture wounds to severe tissue damage and disfigurement; some attacks are even fatal. Our experienced dog bite lawyer can evaluate the full extent of your damages and losses to pursue a fair settlement or court award covering all economic and non-economic harm you've suffered.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, etc.)
  • Lost wages if you missed work as a result of the injury
  • Future lost earnings if you suffered a permanent disability 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Property damage to cover the cost of items damaged during the attack

Why You Need to Hire Our Dog Bite Lawyer

While the strict liability statute seems straightforward, dog bite cases can quickly become confusing. The dog owner's homeowners insurance may fight the claim, or there could be questions about your legal status on the property where the bite occurred.

Our skilled dog bite attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C. understand how to build a strong case demonstrating the dog owner's liability and the value of your claimed damages. They do this by:

  • Conducting an investigation into the attack and gathering evidence
  • Dealing with the insurance companies to maximize your compensation
  • Filing your claim in court if settlement negotiations with the insurer are unsuccessful
  • Representing you at trial to fight for the total value of your case
  • Handling all legal proceedings so you can focus on your recovery.

Statute of Limitations

If you’ve suffered a Missouri dog bite, don’t delay seeking the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our skilled dog bite injury lawyer immediately to assess your rights and explore available legal options before the legally allotted time for you to file a claim approaches.

You only have a certain amount of time to file a claim. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a dog bite or animal attack is five years from the incident date. However, we strongly advise initiating the legal process well before this deadline. As time passes, critical aspects of your case may weaken. For example, eyewitness recollections may fade, compromising their reliability. Additionally, gathering and preserving crucial evidence becomes more challenging over time.

Taking proactive steps will preserve the integrity of the evidence and streamline the legal process. By engaging our experienced Missouri dog bite lawyer immediately after the attack, you’ll have ample time to build a compelling case for damages. Prompt action positions you for a favorable outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.