Dogs are man’s best friend, but not all dogs are friendly pets. Dog owners have a responsibility to protect others from getting hurt by their animal, and when a dog bite results in injury, the victim may have a claim for compensation. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm understand how serious a dog bite attack can be, and we will zealously advocate for your interests after an incident. To learn more, call or contact our office today for a free consultation on Missouri Dog Bite Laws.
Missouri is a Strict Liability State
Missouri is one of the states with a strict liability take on dog bite attacks. Under the law, a dog owner is liable for damages caused by a dog bite if the attack occurred on public property or while the victim was lawfully on private property, the bite resulted in actual injuries, and the victim did not provoke the dog to bite. On top of civil damages to the victim, Missouri law also imposes a $1,000 fine on the owner of the animal.
In a strict liability state, a pet owner can be held liable for a dog bite even if they took reasonable steps to restrain their dog or prevent the attack from occurring. This differs from states with the “one bite” rule, which do not hold dog owners liable for damages if the owners did not know or could not have reasonably known that their pet was dangerous.
Other Injuries Caused by Dogs
In addition to dog bite attacks, dogs can also cause injuries to people in other ways, such as scratching, jumping on, or running into people. If actual injury is caused by a dog that is not a bite, the victim must be able to prove that the owner was negligent in their care of the animal in order to collect compensation for their injury claims. Evidence must be presented that the owner failed to take reasonable care in preventing injuries caused by their pet and that breach resulted in actual injuries.
Defenses to Dog Bite Claims
In a strict liability state for dog bite claims, there are two main defenses available to pet owners whose dog bites a person. The first defense is trespassing. A victim cannot collect damages if they were trespassing on private property when the bite occurred. The second defense is provocation. The last element of Missouri’s strict liability dog bite law is that the victim must not have provoked the attack. If an owner can prove that the victim engaged in behavior that provoked the bite, such as striking or otherwise baiting the dog to attack, the victim cannot collect compensation for their injuries.
Contact a Missouri Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Do you have more questions about a potential dog bite claim in Missouri? If so, the experienced dog bite personal injury attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm can help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your claims with one of our lawyers.