Dog Bite Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
Many people believe that if you were bitten by a dog, it was either your fault or simply an accident. However, being attacked by a dog can be similar to getting hit by a driver who ran a red light – someone failed to act responsibly and someone else paid the price.
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, you probably are dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses as a result. If you were bitten because someone else failed to keep you safe, you may be eligible to hold them accountable by filing a personal injury claim against them.
At Burgess Law Firm PC, we fight for clients who deserve compensation, even when that battle is difficult. That is because we believe victims of someone else’s negligence should not have to pay any more than they already are. Reach out today to learn your recovery options. We serve injury victims in Kansas City, Missouri, and throughout the Kansas City Metro Area.
Does Missouri Have a Dog Bite Law?
Different states have varying laws regarding the liability of owners whose dogs bite and injure others. Some state laws uphold a “one bite rule,” which basically holds that a dog gets one “free” bite incident before the owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog.
Missouri dog bite law does not adhere to a one bite rule. Moreover, dog owners have strict liability regarding the actions of their animals. That means owners are held legally liable for the actions of their dogs, even if their dogs don’t have a history of being aggressive toward others.
In order to bring a personal injury claim against the dog owner in Missouri, as the victim, you must have been on the owner’s property where you were attacked and must not have provoked the dog in some way. If you were trespassing on private property or somehow triggered the dog, for example, by hitting it, shoving it, or pulling on its legs, ears, or tail, you will likely not prevail in their personal injury claim.
In all other cases, suing the owner for compensation for a dog bite is possible. If you or a loved one has incurred medical bills, therapy expenses, sustained scarring or disfigurement or emotional trauma, or have lost income while unable to work, you should talk to a dog bite attorney about recovering your damages.
How Can I Prove the Dog Owner Is Liable?
To prove liability on the part of the dog owner, you must first prove that the owner:
owed you a duty of care to keep you safe from the animal,
failed to keep you safe, and as a result, you sustained injuries and damages.
Missouri recognizes pure comparative negligence in personal injury claims, which means that if the injury victim is partially to blame for their injuries, they can still pursue a claim, but any settlement or jury award will be reduced by their percentage of the blame.
For example, if a jury finds you to be 10% responsible for the dog attack and you're seeking $80,000 in damages, you would receive $72,000.
This proof of liability applies not only to getting bit by a dog but also to being injured in any way by a dog. For example, if a dog jumps up and knocks you over, resulting in injury, you will need to prove negligence in a personal injury claim outside the dog bite law. You cannot hold the dog owner strictly liable, but you can prove they failed to exercise reasonable care that resulted in your injuries.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
The first step you should take is to consult with a Missouri personal injury attorney who has successfully represented dog bite victims in the past. Dog bite cases do present challenges that are unique from, for example, car accident personal injury claims. The incident investigation can be more demanding, as can the search for the dog owner’s possible liability insurance coverage and assets.
If there is insurance coverage, your attorney will put the insurer on notice and a claim will be opened. If a settlement cannot be reached, or if there is no insurance coverage or not enough, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Under Missouri law, you must either settle your third-party liability claim against the dog owner’s insurance policy or file a civil lawsuit against the owner within five years from the date of the attack. Otherwise, you forfeit your right to do so.
You will be pursuing compensation for the damages you incur as a result of the dog attack. Economic damages include the cost of your current and future medical and psychological treatment as well as lost earnings due to missing work. They also include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and a spouse’s loss of consortium.
Dog Bite Attorney Serving Kansas City, Missouri
The physical and psychological injuries you may sustain from a dog bite incident can haunt you forever. Treatment is vital to your recovery, and treatment costs money. You can rely on us to provide the best opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was injured in a dog attack, call us at the Burgess Law Firm PC in Kansas City, Missouri now to schedule a free case consultation.