Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis
St. Louis and Southern Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Free Consultation | St. Louis Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when St. Louis dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It's important to find qualified legal representation as soon as possible after a dog bite. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients throughout the St. Louis area fight insurance companies to get the compensation they deserve. If you have a claim, don't hesitate to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our St. Louis dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 4.5 million serious dog bites each year in the U.S. These injuries are associated with high medical costs, as medical assistance can cost tens of thousands of dollars when you consider surgery, medication and other factors. Each day, nearly 1,000 people visit an emergency room for serious dog bites, and the average medical costs for a dog bite is $20,000.
In 2022, nationwide there were 17,597 dog bite claims, which resulted in $1,136,000,000 in compensation.
Do I Have a Dog Bite Case in St. Louis?
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be wondering if you have a case for legal action. The answer depends on a few key factors:
- Severity of your injuries — In order to have a viable case, your injuries must be significant enough to warrant medical attention. This may include physical injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations or broken bones, as well as emotional injuries such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a bruise or scrape, you may not have a claim.
- Circumstances surrounding the incident — If you were bitten while lawfully on public or private property, you may have a case. However, if you were trespassing or if you provoked the dog, you may not have a case.
- Insurance coverages available — For more serious dog bite cases, you'll probably need to find an insurance policy that covers any damages the dog causes. Most times, this will be under a home insurance or renter's insurance policy. If not, you may need some "creative lawyering" to help find the coverage you need.
- Dog bite laws — Whether or not you're able to make a valid claim for a dog bite also depends on local ordinances and state statutes. Generally, in Missouri and Illinois, you have a dog bite claim any time you were bitten by someone else's dog if:
- You were lawfully allowed to be where you were
- You were acting peacefully and did not provoke the dog
If you are unsure whether or not you have a viable case for legal action, you should request a consultation with a qualified St. Louis dog bite lawyer. They can evaluate the specifics of your case and advise you on your best options for compensation.
What Should I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in St. Louis?
If you've been bitten by a dog, it's important to take certain steps to protect your health and your legal rights. While it can be hard to keep your wits about you, after being bitten by a dog you should:
- Gather evidence — While you're still at the scene, take pictures of the dog, your injuries, any injuries the dog sustained and where the attack occurred. Get the contact info of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, but do not start a confrontation with the owner.
- Seek medical attention — Even if the bite doesn't seem serious, it's important to get it checked out by a healthcare professional. Dog bites can be prone to infection, and you may need to receive a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent complications. Additionally, you'll need documentation of your injuries in order to make a claim.
- Report the incident — Depending on where the incident occurred, you may need to report the dog bite to the local animal control agency or police department. This can help to ensure that the dog is quarantined and observed for signs of rabies or other diseases, and that there is documentation of the incident to show the insurance company.
- Be cautious with insurance companies — If the dog's owner has insurance, their insurance company may reach out to you to offer a settlement. Be wary of accepting a settlement without consulting with a lawyer, as it may not fully cover the costs of your medical bills and other expenses.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer — A lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases can help you to understand your legal rights and options. They can evaluate the circumstances of the incident and help you to determine the true value of your dog bite injury in St. Louis.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in St. Louis Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in St. Louis can provide a range of services to help you with your case. Here are some of the things they can do for you:
- Evaluate your case — A dog bite lawyer can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a valid claim. They will review the circumstances surrounding the bite, including the severity of your injuries and any relevant laws.
- Help you understand your rights — A dog bite lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in [city], [state], and they can help you navigate the legal system from filing an initial insurance claim to going to court if necessary. Throughout your case, your St. Louis dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you may have.
- Gather evidence — A dog bite lawyer can gather evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, witness statements and photographs of your injuries.
- Negotiate with insurance companies — A dog bite lawyer can negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company to get you the compensation you're entitled to. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can advocate for your rights and make sure you get a fair settlement.
- Represent you in court — If your case goes to court, a dog bite lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights. They can present your case to a judge and jury and argue for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws, and laws regarding personal injury in general, are designed to keep the public safe and to hold people accountable for the harm they cause. Each state has their own laws regarding dog bites, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar.
Neither state has a "one bite rule" – where the dog had to have bitten somebody before for the owner to be liable – or uses negligence – requiring the dog owner to do something wrong – as a standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both states operate under the doctrine of "strict liability", meaning that a dog owner is liable for any damages their dog causes, whether or not the dog has a history of aggression or if the home owner did anything wrong. Strict liability recognizes that dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their dog, while allowing dog bite victims who did nothing wrong to get full compensation without having to prove wrongdoing on the part of the dog owner.
The dog bite laws in each state can be found in Missouri Revised Statute §273.036 and 510 ILCS 5/1.
The only major difference in dog bite law between Missouri and Illinois is in regards to the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you typically have five years to file a dog bite claim, while in Illinois you have two years.
Common Dog Attack Injuries
A dog might be considered "man's best friend", but that doesn't mean they're not dangerous. Our dog attack attorneys in St. Louis understand how victims and their families can be affected. For example, below are some of the most common dog bite injuries:
- Nerve Damage
- Facial Injuries
- Puncture Wounds
- Broken Bones
- Emotional Trauma
Often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this stigma, but they're not always applicable. Any dog is able to bite a person. This can be attributed to the dog's environment and interaction with the victim.
Breeds that are often associated with bites include (in no particular order) bull terriers, cocker spaniels, jack russells, German shepherds, pit bulls, bulldogs, and even chihuahuas. The size and age of the dog rarely matters; the important thing to keep in mind is how a dog was raised and how you interact with the dog. People have a similar tendency to lash out others when they're scared or aggravated. You should be mindful of a dog's breed, not afraid of it.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in St. Louis?
A dog bite lawyer in St. Louis will look at various types of special and general damages. These include:
- Medical Expenses — Victims can recover all expenses related to medical treatment caused by a dog bite. It's important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want compensation.
- Lost Wages — If you've been bitten by a dog, you might lose your earning capacity for a certain period of time. The money you lost from not working can be reimbursed to you.
- Pain and Suffering — Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience. Emotional stress, scarring, ongoing fear and other factors have lifelong consequences. These types of non-economic damages are factored into personal injury settlements and verdicts.
- Punitive Damages — Though rare, in some circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the dog owner's conduct was intentional or extreme.
- Property Damage — This can include damages to your home, your clothes, a bike or motorcycle, your phone and other things that might've been damaged during an attack.
One of the most important aspects of a dog bite lawyer's job is to accurately value how much your personal injury claim is worth. At Halvorsen Klote, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers will ensure that no money is left on the table in your claim.
Speak To a Dog Bite Lawyer in St. Louis Today
If you've been attacked by a dog in St. Louis, reach out to Halvorsen Klote now for a consultation. It is crucial to contact a local dog bite lawyer in St. Louis as soon as possible if there are financial damages. Legal assistance doesn't cost you anything. Here, we charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we don't win your case you don't owe us anything and there aren't any upfront fees. Our St. Louis dog bite lawyers are here to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Our attorneys would be happy to speak with you. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.
Attorney at Law
Joel Halvorsen and his partner Greg Klote founded the Halvorsen Klote law firm on the principle that injured people and their families should have access to the same quality legal representation as large insurance companies.
Attorney at Law
Greg Klote is a partner and founder of Halvorsen Klote.
Greg has successfully fought for people who were injured through no fault of their own. He became a lawyer to help make a difference in the lives of those who have been wronged and treated unfairly.