If you suffered dog bite injuries and want to seek compensation for the expenses you incurred, you’ll need the help of a qualified and experienced Columbia personal injury lawyer from OnderLaw, LLC. We have been fighting for compensation on behalf of our clients since 2002. We understand the lasting effects of a dog attack and how much it can upend your entire life. You can depend on us to be your advocate during this traumatic experience and help you seek the justice you deserve.
A dog can cause significant physical harm to a human being. They have sharp teeth that can puncture multiple layers of skin and damage the muscles, nerves, and tendons underneath. It can be a painful ordeal to go through and also can result in severe psychological issues. Many dog bite victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder and a phobia of dogs. They often need ongoing therapy or counseling.
The Columbia dog bite lawyers of OnderLaw, LLC are ready to take on your case and hold the at-fault party liable. You should not face the financial burden of paying for medical treatment, prescription medications, and other expenses when you didn’t cause your injuries. Let us help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to get you on the road to recovery. Call us now for a free consultation at (314) 963-9000.
Missouri Dog Bite Laws
When it comes to dog bites, Missouri follows a strict liability law. That means the owner of a dog is liable for a victim’s losses under these circumstances:
- If the victim was lawfully on private or public property;
- The victim didn’t provoke the dog bite; and
- Whether or not the dog has a history of viciousness or the owner knew of the viciousness.
If you suffered any type of loss, such as medical bills or emotional distress, the owner of the dog should be held financially responsible, so you’re not forced to pay for anything out of pocket.
According to Section 5-58 of the Columbia, MO Code of Ordinances, it is unlawful for anyone to allow their dog to roam free while off of their premises. That means if someone takes their dog off of their property, they must have them on a leash at all times.
Section 5-57 requires owners of a dangerous or aggressive dog to keep it confined to their premises indoors or within a locked cage or kennel. A dog is aggressive or dangerous if:
- It causes anyone to become fearful of sustaining serious physical harm;
- It bites or injures a person, pet, or domestic animal; or
- It habitually growls, snaps at, or takes a position to attack, bite, or injure a person, domestic animal, or pet.
If someone takes their aggressive or dangerous dog out in public, they must use a muzzle and a leash no more than four feet long to prevent it from biting anyone.
Common Injuries Caused By Dog Bites
You might be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the dog’s owner if their dog caused you any harm. Most dog bite cases involve physical injuries. However, you might also be entitled to compensation for any personal property damaged during the attack, such as an expensive watch.
The most common injuries associated with dog bites and attacks are:
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Facial scarring or disfigurement
- Torn tendons, tissue, and muscles
- Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety
- Eye injuries
- Nerve damage
Most dog bite injuries require immediate medical care. It’s vital that you receive shots to prevent bacterial diseases and infections, such as tetanus. Untreated dog bites could lead to severe complications, and in some cases, death.
How You Should Handle a Dog Bite
What happens if you were at your friend’s home when you were bitten? What about if you were out with friends and one of their dogs bit you? You will want to hire a lawyer right away, and here’s why. We can take the emotion out of the equation.
Your friend’s homeowner’s insurance should pay for your injuries and expenses. We will handle all the communication with the insurance company and any other parties, leaving you to heal your wounds and make sure your friend relationship is still intact after the incident.
If you suffer injuries from a dog bite, we’ll need to take immediate action. Don’t wait to start building your case. If you let too much time pass, you could lose your chance to obtain compensation.
The first thing you should after a dog bite is to seek medical treatment. Go to a nearby hospital and tell the doctor what happened. They should evaluate your injury and determine if you’ll need a round of shots to prevent rabies or tetanus. If a serious infection develops, you might require antibiotics to fight it.
The emergency room physician should devise a treatment plan, depending on the severity of the injury. Some dog bites only require a couple of follow-up appointments for shots. More severe injuries could require surgery to repair broken bones or underlying damage to nerves.
It’s vital that you follow up with all recommended medical providers. Skipping appointments or allowing too much time to pass in between them could lead to much less compensation than you need. Insurance companies rely heavily on medical records when determining whether a claimant deserves a settlement. They want to save money and will look for valid reasons to withhold a payout. For example, if they see that you didn’t regularly treat your injuries, they could use that as evidence that your injuries weren’t serious and deny your claim.
Besides medical care, it’s also essential that you hire an experienced Columbia dog bite lawyer. Handling your case alone might result in complications. There are laws, deadlines, and legal procedures to follow when pursuing compensation from the dog’s owner. If you don’t know how to handle an insurance claim or lawsuit, you will likely lose. OnderLaw, LLC knows exactly how to build a case that gets results. We can take on the responsibility of the legal process from start to finish and handle each step on your behalf.
Compensation That Might Be Available in Your Case
If you suffer emotional, physical, or financial losses from a dog bite injury, you have the right to seek compensation from the liable party. The losses eligible for compensation might include:
- Hospital and medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
The monetary value of your case will depend on the circumstances of the attack and other associated factors. The insurance company will likely try to diminish this value to avoid a large settlement payout. At OnderLaw, LLC, our Columbia dog bite lawyers can review the details of your dog bite incident to determine the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve. Some of the contributing factors we might use are:
- The length of time it takes to recover
- The severity of the injury
- Any emotional or psychological effects of the attack
- The impact on your quality of life
- The total cost of medical treatment and the estimated cost of necessary care and assistance in the future
- Relevant evidence proving what happened
- The amount of available insurance coverage
Although we can’t guarantee a specific outcome in dog bite cases, we will do our best to try to recover the maximum compensation possible. You deserve a monetary award that pays for the expenses you incurred so you can get your life back on track.
Filing a Lawsuit Following a Dog Bite Injury in Columbia
If you want to sue the dog’s owner for the losses you suffered, you must follow a strict timeframe known as a statute of limitations. The Missouri statute of limitations for injury cases is five years. That means you have five years from the date of the attack to file your lawsuit. If the deadline passes, you could lose your right to recover compensation through the court system.
The jury will review the facts of the case and assign fault to each party. If they determine that your actions partially contributed to your injury, they could reduce your financial award under the pure comparative fault statute. For instance, if you suffered $20,000 in losses but were 10% to blame for the dog bite, you could only pursue up to $18,000 in compensation. Under normal circumstances, you would be entitled to the entire $20,000 if the dog’s owner were 100% at fault.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC Today
At OnderLaw, LLC, our Columbia dog bite lawyers know the economic toll an injury could take. Medical bills are expensive, and you might struggle to afford to pay them. When you’re already facing financial strain, you might not want to hire someone to represent you in your case. The thought of paying additional expenses can be too much to bear.
We don’t want to add to your burdens. That’s why we take cases on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees or costs. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
Our award-winning Columbia dog bite lawyers will fight hard for the maximum compensation you need and deserve. You’ve suffered enough due to someone else’s actions and should have the chance to hold that person liable. You can depend on our legal team to create the right strategy to try to achieve your goals. You will have someone in your corner advocating for your rights until the end.
If you sustained dog bite injuries in Columbia and want to hold the owner accountable for the harm they caused, call OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000 today. We can meet with you for a free consultation to discuss what happened and how we can help.