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Missouri Dog Bite Laws and Liability

Missouri Dog Bite Laws and Liability

Getting bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. In the state of Missouri, there are specific laws in place to protect individuals who have been victims of dog bites. Understanding these laws and knowing your rights is crucial if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation. That’s where the top-notch St. Louis dog bite lawyers at Bruntrager & Billings can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.


Missouri Dog Bite Laws

In Missouri, dog bite laws fall under the “one bite rule.” This means that unless the dog has a history of aggressive behavior or the owner acted negligently, the owner may not be held liable for the first bite. However, if the owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, it opened the door for legal action.


Holding St. Louis Dog Owners Liable

Despite the “one bite rule,” there are circumstances where dog owners can still be held liable for injuries caused by their pets. Missouri law recognizes that dog owners have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in preventing their dogs from causing harm to others. If an owner fails to take necessary precautions, such as keeping their dog on a leash or properly restraining a known aggressive dog, they may be considered negligent.


Comparative Fault in Dog Bite Cases

It’s important to understand that Missouri follows a “comparative fault” system when it comes to dog bite cases. This means that if the victim also bears some responsibility for the incident, their compensation may be reduced. For example, if someone provokes or trespasses on a property where the dog lives, their negligence could be used to reduce the amount of compensation they receive.


Dog Bites Are a Public Health Concern in Missouri

Despite Missouri’s “one bite rule,” the state recognizes dog bites as an important public health hazard. Consider the following:

  • In 2020, approximately 4,000 dog bite incidents were reported in Missouri. (Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)
  • The majority of dog bite victims in Missouri are children under the age of 10. (Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)
  • Missouri ranks 15th in the United States for the number of dog bite claims filed with insurance companies. (Source: Insurance Information Institute)
  • Approximately 17% of dog bite incidents in Missouri result in an emergency room visit. (Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)
  • The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay in Missouri is $18,000. (Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)


St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers You Can Trust

When it comes to dog bite cases, you need legal representation from attorneys who are knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate. The team at Bruntrager & Billings embodies these qualities and more. They understand the physical and emotional toll dog bite injuries can have on victims and their families. Our team of St. Louis dog bite attorneys will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case. To set up a free legal consultation or case review, contact our offices today.