How do I prove fault in a dog bite lawsuit?

dog bite lawsuit proving fault - dog bite lawyer Missouri

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If you have been bit by a dog in Missouri, it's highly likely you will want to file a lawsuit against that dog's owner. Determining who was at fault for the actual bite itself is important, as it decides who may be on the hook for additional damages or increase your insurance rate.

Having an experienced St. Louis dog bite injury attorney can help you navigate the uncertainty that comes with a dog bite lawsuit. Contact the Missouri Injury Law Firm either online or over the phone at (636) 333-1717 for a free, no-strings-attached consultation about your case.

Who's Liable in Missouri?

Before 2009, personal injury law relating to dog bites in Missouri was notoriously unfriendly to plaintiffs, or those who had been bit by a dog. Missouri operated under what is known as a "one-bite" standard. Under that standard dog owners were not liable for damages if their dog had never shown signs of aggression before the first time they bit another person. In practice, it meant that plaintiffs had to prove that the dog that bit them had a prior record of being aggressive and that their owner knew as much in order to recoup damages, which was not an easy task.

But a new law, officially known as Missouri RS 273.036, came into effect in 2009. This eliminated the "one bite" framework for dog bite damages and replaced it with one of "strict liability". No longer could a dog's owner say that he was unaware his pet was dangerous to humans. Now, owners were responsible for the actions of their dogs at all times, and the onus was on them to prove that their dog biting someone was not their fault.

Exceptions to Strict Liability

While it may seem like this new law means that dog owners are held responsible in all dog bite lawsuits in Missouri, this is not always the case. The law states that the person being bit was at fault in the following cases:

  • The person bit provoked the dog into biting them, such as by baiting or taunting the dog
  • The person that was bit was unlawfully on private property or ignored posted warnings about dangerous dogs

Missouri also operates under a "comparative fault" system for negligence. This means that a judge or jury can determine that both parties were responsible to a degree for an incident, such as a dog bite, and assess proportional damages. For example, if a jury authorizes a $100,000 award to a dog bite victim but judges that he or she was 25 percent at fault, the plaintiff will only take away $75,000.

Get In Touch With a Missouri Dog Bite Attorney

Every dog bite lawsuit is unique. You may think you were entirely not at fault for getting bit by a dog, but an investigation may find out that you may have contributed in some way to your accident.

In any case, it's important to have a top dog bite lawyer in Missouri to help you throughout the legal process. Contact attorney Gene Hou today or call him at (636) 333-1717 for a no-obligation discussion of your case.

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1444 Gravois Road,
High Ridge, MO 63049

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From speeding tickets to devastating car accidents to serious injury and death cases, Missouri Injury Law Firm has the proven expertise to handle your case and provide you with step-by-step legal assistance. Missouri Injury Law Firm provides a highly experienced personal injury attorney to clients who have been injured in an accident whether at work or as a result of someone else's negligence. Our traffic law attorney provides representation for traffic accidents, speeding tickets, and DWI/DUI cases and is committed to every client, regardless of the circumstances. To strengthen your case in court with high-quality legal representation and to receive the maximum compensation for your injury, choose Missouri Injury Law Firm.