Dog attacks can occur to the most unsuspecting of victims. When a dog decides to bite and not let go, young children and the elderly are the most at risk. Dog bites can be extremely serious and even fatal. They can be traumatic to the victims, resulting in emotional scarring as well as physical harm. It is up to a dog’s owner or possessor to control the animal and prevent attacks. Failure to do so may be negligence according to your state’s laws. For cases on either side of state lines in Kansas City, come speak to our Kansas City dog bite attorney at Wendt Law Firm P.C. for skilled litigation.
Dog Bite Laws in Missouri and Kansas
Each state has its own dog bite laws that govern if and when an animal’s owner will be liable for a victim’s injuries. These laws will help you understand when someone else will pay for your medical bills, and when you may get stuck paying out of pocket. Dog bite statutes can differ on a county-by-county basis. When in doubt about the laws in your part of town, speak to a Kansas City personal injury attorney. A legal professional can explain your rights and legal options, as well as help you file a claim if applicable. Here are the dog bite statutes in both states:
A dog owner is liable for dog bites if the victim was lawfully on the property at the time and the injured person did not provoke the animal. There is a strict liability statute that makes an owner liable regardless of whether he/she was negligent or knew of the dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior. The owner must pay a fine of $1,000 on top of compensating the victim for medical bills and other damages the victim can prove.
A dog owner will only be liable for dog bite damages if the plaintiff can prove the owner was negligent in properly restraining the animal to prevent an attack. This may come in the form of a leash or property fencing. The “one bite rule” will apply to prove the owner’s negligence if the dog has bitten someone in the past. A victim can bring a negligence suit against a dog owner if the dog causes another harm besides biting – for example, if the dog jumps and knocks someone over.
Bites to domestic animals, such as service animals or livestock, may also be grounds for a lawsuit in Kansas or Missouri. Missouri has a criminal penalty for dog owners in possession of “dangerous dogs,” or those that have bitten people in the past. Kansas has no such statewide law, but some local ordinances make it a crime to keep a “vicious” dog. The law bans certain breeds of dogs in parts of both states. For example, Kansas City, Missouri has a statute in place that makes sterilization of pit bulls mandatory. If the dog that attacked you is on your city’s ban list, the owner may be guilty of negligence per se, or assumed negligence for breaking the law.
Most Common Causes For a Dog To Bite
While most of a dog’s temperament can depend on their breed and upbringing, even some well-adjusted, normally calm dogs can have aggressive reactions to a variety of stimuli. A few of the most common reasons for a dog to bite or attack include:
New, unfamiliar environment
Feels threatened or needs to protect their territory
Injured or ill
Injuries Caused By a Dog Attack
Dog attacks can cause a variety of injuries besides bites, including:
If you have experienced a dog bite, it’s important to act quickly. Get away from the dog and to a safe place. Wash the bite thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water. If the skin has been broken, seek immediate medical attention.
When is a Dog Owner Liable For Their Dog’s Behavior?
Owning a dog is a big responsibility and many owners do not realize how much they are truly responsible for. Whether your pet is confined in your yard or running loose in a park, you are responsible for what your dog does even if you are not present. In some cases, dog owners will not be held responsible for the dog in these specific circumstances:
The victim of the dog bite was trespassing.
The victim provoked the animal
The victim was in the middle of illegal activity, such as theft.
The laws in Missouri do not only address dog bites but any injury involving a dog can be justification for a personal injury suit. An example could be being knocked to the ground and ending up with a broken arm or leg.
Speak to an Experienced Kansas City Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one was the victim of a dog bite in Kansas City, contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. about your options. Do not trust the dog’s owner to pay your medical bills “under the table.” Involve the law to protect yourself and others from future incidents with the same dog. Retaining an accident attorney after a dog bite can help you maximize compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. Speak with a Kansas City dog bite lawyer today.