Most dogs are friendly companions that are trained properly and kept under control by responsible owners. However, if a dog owner fails to take the necessary steps to teach their dog proper behavior and ensure that it is always securely leashed and restrained when outside its kennel or yard, their pet may wind up causing serious injury through an unprovoked and intensely traumatic attack.

Missouri state law is fairly generous in the rights it affords individuals injured by dogs to pursue civil restitution; however, you may still have trouble getting compensation for every form of harm this type of incident can lead to. If you suffer injuries after someone else’s dog attacks, a Maryland Heights dog bite lawyer can help you demand fair financial restitution for all your ensuing physical, economic, and personal losses. Reach out to the team of dedicated personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw today to learn more about how we can help you seek justice for the full extent of your damages.

Are Dog Owners Always Liable for Bite Injuries?

Fortunately for those injured by aggressive canines in Maryland Heights, Missouri does not have a one-bite rule like some other states do. In some states, the court cuts dog owners some slack the first time their dog bites or injures someone else, but not in Missouri. Instead, Missouri Revised Statutes § 273.036 makes the owner—or anyone responsible for controlling or possessing the dog at the time—of a dog that bites and injures someone else “without provocation” strictly liable for the bitten person’s injuries and losses.

In this context, “strict liability” means that you do not have to prove the dog’s owner was reckless or careless in a specific way which directly led to the incident occurring. Instead, you would just need to prove that they were, in fact, responsible for controlling the dog at the time of the incident and that the injuries you are seeking compensation for stemmed directly from the dog biting you.

Notably, this “strict liability” does not apply in situations where a dog injures someone by doing something other than biting them—for example, jumping on them and knocking them over. Additionally, as our knowledgeable Maryland Heights dog bite attorneys can explain, dog owners are typically not strictly liable if their dog bites someone who was:

  • Provoking the animal
  • Trespassing on the owner’s property
  • Committing any other crime at the time of the attack

A dog owner may still be liable for injuries stemming from their own negligence under these circumstances, though.

Recovering Fairly for Short-Term and Long-Term Losses

Whether a dog bite claim is built around strict liability or traditional negligence, a successful plaintiff can seek restitution for both economic and non-economic consequences of their injuries, including:

  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Personal property damage
  • Physical discomfort and pain
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Lost work income or working ability
  • All bite-related medical expenses, including expected costs of future care

In rare situations where a dog owner intentionally and wrongfully commands or allows their dog to attack someone else without cause, a court may impose additional punitive damages against the owner, which could then be awarded to the person their dog injured. Our well-practiced dog attack lawyers in Maryland Heights can discuss potentially recoverable damages in more specific detail during a private consultation.

Talk to a Maryland Heights Dog Bite Attorney Today

Getting bitten by a dog can be incredibly jarring, even if you are fortunate enough to avoid serious physical injury. If you do get severely hurt because someone else fails to control their pet, that person—and not you—should be the one who pays for your ensuing losses.

Support from a Maryland Heights dog bite lawyer at OnderLaw can greatly improve your odds of securing a favorable case result. Call today to discuss your legal options and get started on your case before filing deadline expires.