In Jefferson County, a dog owner is responsible for taking the necessary steps to secure their animal. Unfortunately, many dog owners fail to take these precautions. Many times, the result is a dog bite that causes severe injury. These bites are more than just a nuisance. Even bites from small dogs can lead to scarring or severe nerve damage. A seasoned personal injury attorney can assist a dog bite victim in recovering damages for their injuries. Maximum compensation is something that lawyers can work toward for you.
If you have suffered a dog bite, your odds of recovering compensation depend on the circumstances of the attack. When you consult with a Jefferson County dog bite lawyer, an experienced trial lawyer can review your case to determine the legal standard that applies.
Missouri Dog Bite Laws
When it comes to dog bites, some states have what is known as the “one bite rule”. Under this rule, a dog owner is only liable for injuries caused by their animal if they knew the animal was dangerous. Other states operate on a strict liability standard. Strict liability means a dog owner is responsible for injuries their dog causes regardless if the animal had been violent in the past.
Missouri, on the other hand, takes a split approach to liability in dog bite cases. Missouri Statute 273.036 governs liability in a dog bite lawsuit. In some circumstances, a dog owner is held to a higher standard of strict liability. In other cases, you must prove the dog owner was negligent to recover damages. In either case, a Jefferson County dog bite attorney can prove valuable to you if you are seeking compensation for your injuries.
A dog owner in Jefferson County is held to a strict liability standard when they are aware the dog has been violent in the past. The strict liability standard also applies under any circumstance when the bite occurs on public property, or on private property if the bite victim was on the property legally.
Under strict liability, you only need to show three things to recover damages:
- The defendant owned the dog
- The dog bit you
- The bite injured you
Compared to a strict liability case, a negligence case is more challenging to prove. That is because proving that a defendant was negligent in allowing their dog to bite you is a subjective standard that is far more difficult to prove.
In Missouri, dog owners are held to the negligence standard in any case where the strict liability standard does not apply. This includes dog bites against trespassers on private property. A Jefferson County lawyer with experience handling dog bite lawsuits has the skills required to show a jury the defendant acted negligently.
As a dog bite victim, you are entitled to seek damages for your injuries even when you were partially at fault. Missouri is known as “pure comparative fault” state, which means that a jury would assign a percentage of liability to every party in a lawsuit. For example, if a jury finds you to be 20 percent at fault for the dog bite, any damage award would be reduced by that percentage. An experienced lawyer can help you with recovering the damages that you deserve.
Contact a Jefferson County Dog Bite Attorney
If you have sustained a dog bite injury, you deserve legal counsel that takes your claim seriously. To place your case into the hands of professionals, contact a Jefferson County dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.