In most states, if a dog bites someone, and it’s an isolated incident, the dog’s owner is unlikely to be liable if they had no idea that the dog was dangerous. However, in the state of Missouri, if a dog causes harm to someone, and the victim files a claim, the owner is strictly liable for the victim’s injuries and financial damages.
What is Strict Liability?
Strict liability is a tort that entitles victims in Missouri to hold another party liable for their actions, whether they knew that there were potential dangers or not. For example, if a dog is restrained on a leash, but bites a child or adult, and the victim files a claim, the owner is responsible for the dog’s actions if the victim provides the following types of evidence:
- Proof of injuries, such as photos, a medical report, torn clothing, or witness accounts
- The owner’s name, contact information, address, and even a copy of the dog’s vaccination records
- Witness reports, or proof that the dog has harmed someone in the past
- A copy of the official report made to St. Louis Animal Control for the accident
- Proof of financial damages caused by the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage
It’s essential to keep in mind that not every dog bite case in Missouri is eligible to recover compensation. If a dog’s owner can provide evidence that displays that the dog bite victim provoked the dog or was trespassing at the time of the accident, the dog’s owner can oppose the victim’s claim under §273.036.1 of Missouri’s Statute of Limitations.
Dog Bite Liability Laws in Missouri
If you were injured in a dog bite accident in Missouri, you could be entitled to compensation, but the amount that you are eligible to recover is based on the percentages of fault in the accident. For example, if a person is walking down the street, and a dog bites the victim unprovoked, the dog’s owner is fully responsible for the dog’s actions and required to compensate the victim for their injuries and other damages caused in the accident. However, if someone is walking down the street, and yells something at the dog or attempts to make contact with the animal, and it bites them, both the victim and the dog’s owner could be liable for the accident in Missouri.
While ‘fault’ rules vary from state to state, the state of Missouri follows the rule of ‘comparative negligence.” The rule of comparative negligence states that if someone is partially at fault for their injuries caused by another, the amount of damages that they can recover is determined by the percentage of fault they had in the accident. For example, if both the dog’s owner and the victim in the accident are found to be 50% responsible for causing the accident, the settlement that the victim is eligible to receive will be reduced by 50%.
While most dog bite victims are eligible to recover compensation for their harm and losses, it’s essential to keep in mind that not all cases are eligible to recover damages. Missouri has a strict deadline for dog bite claims under Missouri’s Statute of Limitations which states that claims must be filed within five years of the date of the accident. Beyond this time frame, if someone attempts to file an injury claim against the dog’s owner, the claim will be considered invalid, and the victim forfeits all rights to sue the other party for damages.
Speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer in Missouri Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog bite accident, you need a St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyer on your side representing your case. An experienced lawyer can assess your situation, determine liability in the accident, and negotiate for the highest possible settlement for your harm and losses.
Christopher R. Dixon and the Missouri Dog Bite Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm are committed to recovering the most compensation for dog bite victims and offering the highest level of support to victims and their family members during such a difficult time. Chris Dixon has been repeatedly recognized as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, and has helped recover more than $35,000,000 in settlements for personal injury and wrongful death victims.
If you are ready to see how the Dixon Injury Firm can help with your dog bite case, don’t hesitate to call (314) 208-2808, or contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers.