Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in Columbia, MO
Who is liable for compensating a dog bite injury in Missouri?
In the state of Missouri, dog owners are held strictly liable for the actions of their pet. This means that they would be solely responsible for providing compensation to an individual that has been attacked without provocation—as long as the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property, including the property of the pet's owner. In some states, the victim of an animal attack would be required to show that the owner was aware or had prior knowledge of their pet's violent tendencies in order to secure damages. Fortunately for the residents of Columbia, such stipulations no longer exist in the state. Rather, Missouri Statute § 273.036 was modified under the expectation that dog owners will exercise a reasonable amount of caution at all times—whether they are inviting guests into their home or talking their pet for a walk. Now, the burden of proof rightfully lies with the owner, not the victim.
Types of Recoverable Damages for an Unprovoked Animal Attack
In accordance with Missouri's newly modified dog bite laws, the victim of an attack no longer needs to prove that the animal had a tendency to act out violently. Now, they must only need to show that the attack was unprovoked and they were on public property or private property lawfully. Once this has been clearly established, they would be entitled to damages for any property damage and/or physical injuries that were sustained during the incident. Similarly, they would have the right to seek reimbursement for the cost of their medical treatment and lost wages, as well as for any non-economic damages that were incurred—including emotional trauma and pain. In some cases, the dog owner may even be subject to a punitive fine of $1,000. It is important to understand that the victim's own level of fault could diminish the award, however, as Missouri's comparative negligence laws would still apply.
When would I be prohibited from suing a negligent dog owner?
While you would not be required to prove that the dog had a propensity for violence, you would be barred from suing the owner if they could prove one of two things: 1) you had been trespassing on private property when the attacked occurred or 2) you had provoked the dog before it attacked you. Since both of these circumstances would give the owner a justifiable reason to argue that your negligence outweighs their own, they would be free of the obligation to pay damages. For this reason, it is recommended that you solidify your claim with the help of a Columbia personal injury attorney from the Sumner Law Group, LLC before taking your case to trial. In doing so, you can ensure that your claim will stand up against the counter-accusations of the defendant. Although the burden of proof may lie with the dog owner, it is still important to build a strong case.
Reach Out to a Columbia Personal Injury Attorney for Help
In the event that you or someone you love is injured by the negligent actions of a pet owner, it is crucial that you seek the dedicated legal counsel of a Columbia personal injury lawyer from the Sumner Law Group, LLC. Not only can we contribute years of experience to your case, but we can even offer the assurance that we have already recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our former clients. For this reason, we ask you to place your trust in the hands of our firm by giving us a call today. When you
contact our office at (573) 287-3178, your initial consultation is free!