Over 90 million domesticated dogs are pets in the United States according to information released by the American Veterinary Medical Association. While the vast majority of these canines are good pets without serious behavior issues, when “man’s best friend” becomes a human’s worst enemy, the consequences can be devastating. Dog attacks and dog bite injuries can be life-threatening, disfiguring, and even fatal in all too many cases. Dogs of all breeds may attack, but some dogs are more dangerous than others because of their size and strength. If you have been the victim of a dog attack and want to discuss your legal options with a dog bite lawyer in Kansas City, the attorneys at Mayer & Rosenberg, P.C. are available to help.
According to data collected and published by DogsBite.org, 71 percent of dog bite fatalities in 2016 involved a pit bull terrier breed, with Labrador retrievers being involved in 10 percent of those fatalities. Many other dog breeds can and do attack humans, but these larger dogs—such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, Labradors, and German shepherds—can be far more dangerous than smaller dogs—such as dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians—when they bite. Although the attacks of all these dogs may be spurred by the same aggressive drive, smaller dogs with weaker jaws cause less damage when they attack compared to larger dogs with jaws like a vise grip.
While some breeds are known for being more aggressive or dangerous than others, in many cases a dog may become aggressive because of how it is treated at home. People who train their dogs specifically to attack or as combative guard dogs no longer have cherished pets, but ticking time bombs that are unpredictable and dangerous to humans. However, although it may not be common for a dog that has not been mistreated or trained to be hyper-aggressive to randomly attack people, it can and does happen—and the results are too often tragic.
The first step is to get away from the dog that attacked you and gets medical attention immediately. Once your condition is stabilized, gather documentation about the attack, including photos of wounds inflicted during the attack and medical bills or other expenses that arose because of the dog bite. You can then contact a dog bite attorney to discuss building a legal case to take to court.
Each year, an estimated 4.7 million dog and animal bites occur throughout the United States, according to the Canine Journal. Meanwhile, injuries caused by dogs account for about $700 million per year, with many victims having to undergo reconstructive surgery, as reported by Forbes.
Discuss your dog bite case with a Kansas City dog bite attorney from Mayer & Rosenberg, P.C., to discover your legal options. Before you get that free consultation with our personal injury lawyers, we encourage you to become familiar with how Missouri dog bite laws work.
In Missouri, state laws impose strict liability on dog owners and possessors for dog bites regardless of whether their dog had a previous history of biting people in the past.
Unlike other states, which use the “one free bite” rule for establishing liability, Missouri law penalizes dog owners and possessors (in other words, dog walkers) for dog bites even if their dog had never bitten anyone in the past.
Under Missouri’s Rev Stat § 273.036, dog owners and possessors can also be held liable for property damage and damage to livestock caused by a dog bite. A dog bite victim in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri has a legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against a dog owner even if the incident occurred on the dog owner’s property unless the victim was trespassing.
A major exception to Missouri’s dog bite law is that the statute does not apply to such non-bite injuries inflicted or caused by dogs such as scratches or falls.
It is vital to remain calm and avoid eye contact with the dog because some canines can sense human fear and get agitated whenever someone establishes eye contact with them.
If the dog attack is inevitable, make sure that you protect your face, neck, and hands. If you have been knocked down by the dog, curl up into the fetal position to cover your face and neck.
If running away is not an option, call for help. When the situation is resolved, seek medical attention and remain at the scene until the police arrive to determine who owns the dog.
Immediately following a dog bite incident, it is vital to clean out your wound with soap and water right away. If your wound looks bad, do not hesitate to see a doctor. In fact, documenting your injury will help you prove the extent of your injury when seeking compensation.
If there were other people who saw the dog bite incident, write down their contact information. Collect and preserve all types of evidence found at the scene of the incident, including torn or bloody clothing, the dog’s leash or collar, and pictures taken with your cellphone at the scene.
Under Missouri’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims (dog bites fall under this category, too), a victim can file a lawsuit against the liable party within five years from the date of the incident.
Although five years is much longer than the time limit for bringing a claim to civil court in most other states, it is not advised to postpone seeking medical attention, collecting evidence, contacting a Kansas City dog bite lawyer, or filing a claim.
Although Missouri’s dog bite laws are pretty strict, many dog owners manage to escape liability by mounting defenses such as that the victim who was bitten by their dog was trespassing at the time of the incident.
Missouri is a comparative negligence state, which is why dog owners also routinely claim that the bitten individual was partly at fault for the dog attack (even when they have zero evidence to prove that the victim teased or provoked the canine).
If a dog owner or possessor is found liable for the dog bite, he or she will not only cover the injured party’s losses and damages caused by the dog attack but may also be fined for up to $1,000.
If you were bitten by a stray or someone else’s dog in Kansas City, the first step you should take is get medical attention. Then, it is advised to consult with a Kansas City dog bite attorney to investigate your case and pursue legal action against the dog owner or possessor.
If you were the victim of a dog attack and need a dog bite lawyer in Kansas City, the personal injury attorneys at Mayer & Rosenberg, P.C. can help you file a claim in court. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering as a dog bite victim, and we want to put our more than 40 years of experience to work for you. Our attorneys are dedicated to the pursuit of justice, and we work hard to help our clients turn a bad day into a brighter future by advocating for them in court. There is no cost for a consultation, and we charge no fees until your case has reached a resolution. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.
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