St. Louis Dog Bite Attorney
Holding MO and IL dog owners responsible when their dogs bite or attack
Dog bites and attacks, no matter how minor, can have a lifelong impact on victims. Injuries from dog bites can range from the physical (infections, scarring, and disfigurement) to the emotional (anxiety, fear, and PTSD). Whether you are suffering physically or mentally after a dog bite, an experienced injury attorney can help.
If you or your child have suffered an injury from a dog attack, talk to a personal injury lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm. We work to secure financial compensation for your injuries and losses, ensuring the dog owner is held responsible for their negligence. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
How common are dog attacks in the United States?
Dog bite statistics in Missouri and nationwide may depict an unfortunate reality about one of America’s favorite pets, but here at The Hayden Law Firm, we have met the individuals, children, and families behind these numbers. It is our mission to help them when a negligent dog owner allows their dog to attack innocent children and adults.
Recent data and statistics about dog bites include:
- Approximately 5 million dog bites occur every year
- One out of every five dog bites requires medical attention
- Over 40% of dog bite injuries occur among children aged 14 and younger
- One study showed the average cost of a dog-related hospital stay was $18,200, which is 50% higher than the average injury
- In 2018, nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by a dog(s)
- During the 15-year period of 2005 to 2019, dogs were responsible for the deaths of 521 people
- From 2015 to 2019, 36% of dog bite-related fatalities happened to children under the age of 10
While we know that there are certainly responsible pet lovers out there, there are also irresponsible owners that must be held accountable for the treatment of their dogs.
When a dangerous dog is on the loose, everyone is in danger – you, your children, other small dogs, or anyone in the vicinity of the animal. By contacting a skilled St. Louis dog bite attorney, you do more than protect your own rights; you can protect others in the future and set a standard for responsible dog owners in your area.
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What are Missouri’s dog bite laws?
Missouri’s dog bite law (Statute 273.036) explains that “strict liability” for dog attacks falls to the dog’s owner. This means that the owner should be held liable for the animal’s actions and the damages caused.
However, this law does exclude cases in which the person provoked the animal or trespassed on private property, causing the dog to attack. This is known as contributory or comparative fault, which means that an injury victim can be held liable for a portion of their damages because of their failure to act in a reasonable way.
Missouri also has its own breed-specific laws, also known as BSLs. Different municipalities have banned different breeds, including:
- Pit bulls
- American bulldogs
- Doberman pinschers
- Chow chows
- Japanese akitas
- Wolf-dog hybrids
Under these ordinances, a resident must follow the city’s regulations for owning a dangerous dog or else be subject to fines or impoundment/loss of ownership of the dog. If an owner has failed to follow these laws and you were bit by one of the dangerous breeds listed above or any other type of dog, you may be eligible for a personal injury claim.
Recently, some lawmakers have filed bills in favor of banning municipalities from passing BSLs. However, as of this writing, no such laws have been passed.
What are common injuries from dog bites and attacks?
Dog attacks and bites can result in a variety of injuries with different levels of severity, some leaving lasting scars and tissue damage. Some of these injuries include:
- Anxiety or PTSD
- Facial and eye injuries
- Fractured and broken bones
- Nerve and tissue damage
- Puncture wounds
- Scarring and disfigurement
Remember, everyone’s injuries are unique and, in some cases, a dog doesn’t even have to bite you to cause physical harm. If your injuries were caused by being knocked to the ground or by trying to escape a dangerous animal, you may still be entitled to compensation. A skilled attorney at The Hayden Law Firm in St. Louis can tell you more.
What should I do if I’m bitten by a dog?
Take the following steps into consideration if you or your child are attacked by a dog. These can help protect both your physical health and your legal rights.
- If possible, get the owner’s contact information, but do not discuss anything about the incident. Leave immediately to get medical attention. You may get any witnesses’ contact information if possible.
- Contact police or animal control to file a report. This report will be invaluable for your case. Provide the dog owner’s information, as well as any witnesses to the attack. After reporting the incident, ensure you request a copy of the report.
- Seek medical attention. Whether your injuries seem serious or minor, you will need your medical records to prove your case. Further, any type of bite or puncture wound needs treatment to prevent infection.
- Contact The Hayden Law Firm for experienced representation. We will protect your rights and best interests and work to ensure you are fully compensated for your injures.
How can a St. Louis dog bite attorney help me with my case?
At The Hayden Law Firm, we treat every client as if they are our only client. The damages to which you are entitled will depend upon the severity of your injuries, the county where you live, the culpability of the dog owner, and more. We take all of these factors into consideration as we guide you through the claims process.
While you take the time you need to recover, we’re hard at work learning every detail we can about the dog attack. Our investigation begins with obtaining police and animal control reports, recording statements from witnesses, interviewing neighbors, determining whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior, and more. This will help us build a case to present to the negligent dog-owner’s insurance company, giving you the best chance at fair compensation.
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St. Louis dog bite injury attorney
At The Hayden Law Firm, we know that a dog attack can be a traumatic experience that extends far beyond just the physical injury. We work to secure you fair and just compensation for all of your injuries and losses, while you take the time to recover. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.