Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyer
Many of us see our pets as more than just animals – they’re part of the family. Most of us take proper care of our pets and would never give them a reason to bite, but others don’t dedicate the same training, care, and devotion to their animals. Some let their dogs run around public places without a leash, don’t properly contain them in yards, or even fall behind on vaccination schedules. When dogs are neglected or mistreated, they can become aggressive and prone to biting other humans or pets. The Kansas City dog bite attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can help guide you the legal process after a dog bite injury in Missouri.
The Dog Bite Liability Rule
Dog bites, like other animal attacks, fall under the legal concept of strict liability. For the uninitiated, these laws are tough to understand. Simply put, this means an owner can be liable for the actions of their dog, even if they took reasonable precautions to prevent a bite.
As a victim, you’re free to pursue a personal injury claim even if the owner of the dog wasn’t “at fault” in any way. For example, if you’re bitten by a dog at a public park, you can still seek compensation for your injuries, even if the dog was leashed. This stands even if the owner didn’t know his or her dog was dangerous.
How to Use Strict Liability as Grounds for a Suit
The rules of strict liability may seem like suing for a dog bite is a “slam dunk.” But you can’t file a personal injury claim against just anyone. Like any other case, dog bite cases require sufficient evidence and legwork. Generally speaking, you need to prove:
- You were injured. You can’t file a suit for being “almost bitten” by a dog.
- The dog was directly involved in your injuries. Medical records are often sufficient to prove a dog caused your injuries.
- You’re seeking a personal injury claim from the pet’s owner.
- You didn’t provoke the dog.
- You had a right to be in the place you were bitten (i.e., you weren’t trespassing).
The Dog Bite Statute in Missouri
In the past, pet owners were protected by the “one free bite” rule, meaning they couldn’t be liable for their dog’s actions if they didn’t know their dogs were dangerous. Most states, including Missouri, have moved beyond this. Now pet owners in Missouri can even face criminal penalties for dog bites if they knew their dog was dangerous. “Dangerous dogs” are those who have attacked before without provocation. Owners of dangerous dogs can be convicted of misdemeanors, even felonies if the injuries are serious enough.
Owners are NOT liable for their dog’s actions in the following circumstances:
- The victim was trespassing.
- The victim was in the course of committing a crime on the owner’s property.
- The victim provoked the animal.
Missouri law addresses more than just dog bites. Any injury caused by a dog can be justification for a personal injury suit. For example, you may seek compensation for your injuries if a dog knocks you to the ground.
Protecting Kansas City Dog Bite Victims
Injuries from dog bites range in severity. Dog bites aren’t always serious, but they can also be devastating, especially when young children are involved. Medical treatment may include treatment for infection or reconstructive surgery. If you’re struggling under the weight of your medical bills or dealing with emotional trauma from an altercation with a dog, contact the Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet. We offer free initial consultations, so the call is at no risk to you. We only take on cases we believe will be successful, allowing us to give individual attention to every client. Talk to us about your personal injury settlement today.