Man's best friend, while often a beloved family member, can unpredictably become a source of danger when an unexpected dog bite occurs. In Missouri, these traumatic incidents are not only painful but also carry emotional, physical, and financial repercussions. Therefore, understanding Missouri's dog bite laws and compensation processes is imperative for victims and their families.
The Legal Landscape in Missouri
Missouri's stance on dog bite injuries hinges on a strict liability principle. This is underscored in the Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 273.036: dog owners bear full responsibility for injuries inflicted by their pets. The prior behavior of the dog, or the owner's awareness of such behavior, plays no role. The core determinants are the victim's legal presence at the bite's location and the act itself.
Essentially, if a dog in Missouri bites you, its owner is typically liable for resultant damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Other related losses
Winning a dog bite claim in Missouri generally requires victims to validate:
- The defendant's ownership of the dog
- The bite happened while they were legally present on the premises
- The injuries are the direct result of the bite
Given Missouri's strict liability on this matter, dog owners often bear the burden of proof, simplifying the victim's claim process.
Steps Post a Dog Bite
If the unthinkable happens, and a dog in Missouri bites you or someone you know, ensure the following steps are undertaken:
- Medical Consultation: Immediate medical attention is paramount. Dog bites pose a risk of grave infections.
- Information Accumulation: Document the dog owner's details and identify potential eyewitnesses.
- Official Reporting: Engage local animal control or the police to report the dog bite, ensuring an official account.
- Injury Documentation: Capture photographs of sustained injuries and maintain a record of all medical expenditures.
- Legal Consultation: Engage a personal injury attorney proficient in dog bite cases to safeguard your legal interests.
Entitlements for Dog Bite Victims
Missouri's legal provisions grant dog bite victims rights to various compensations:
- Medical Costs: Covering consultations, hospitalization, surgeries, and medicines
- Pain and Distress: Compensation for both physical pain and emotional trauma
- Wage Loss: Covering income loss due to recuperation from injuries
- Property Damage: Compensation if personal assets were damaged during the attack
In Missouri, while dog bite injuries can be harrowing, the law generally favors the victim. With dog owners often held to strict accountability, victims possess a more streamlined path to compensation.
Should you ever face such an ordeal in Missouri, after ensuring medical safety, it's crucial to collaborate with a seasoned personal injury attorney, such as the personal injury lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates. They will help explain your rights, and strive to secure your rightful compensation for the traumatic experience.