Dog Bite Lawyers in Bonne Terre, MO
Bonne Terre, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
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Dog Bite Lawyers in Bonne Terre, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Bonne Terre, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It's crucial to get qualified legal service as soon as possible after a dog bite. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Bonne Terre, MO and beyond hold negligent pet owners accountable to get the compensation they are owed. If you were attacked by a dog, don't wait another second to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our Bonne Terre, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote fights for the rights of the injured in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bites: Statistics to Know
Based on research from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are over four and a half million dog bites each year nationwide. These injuries can carry expensive medical expenses, as medical care can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Each day, almost 1,000 people seek emergency medical treatment for significant dog bites, and the average medical costs for a dog bite is $20,000.
In 2022, in the United States there were 17,597 dog bite claims, which resulted in $1.136 billion in compensation.
Do I Have a Dog Bite Case in Bonne Terre, MO?
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be wondering whether or not you can seek compensation for your injuries. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the bite:
- The extent of your damages — If you want to have a valid 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 damages like post-traumatic stress disorder. For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a scrape, you may not be able to make a claim .
- The specifics of the incident — If you were attacked while lawfully on public or private property, you may have a case. However, if you were there illegally or threatened the dog or their owner, you may not have a case.
- Insurance coverages available — For more serious dog bite cases, you'll likely need to find an insurance policy that covers the injuries a specific dog causes. Most times, this will be under a homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance policy. If not, you may need your attorney to do some "creative lawyering" to help locate 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. Typically, in Missouri and Illinois, you have a dog bite claim any time you were bitten by another person's dog if:
- You were at the location legally
- You were acting peacefully and did not provoke the dog
If you don't know if you have a viable case for legal action, you need to speak to a qualified Bonne Terre, MO dog bite lawyer. They can analyze the specifics of your case and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Do I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in Bonne Terre, MO?
If you've been attacked 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:
- Obtain evidence — While you're still at the scene, take photos of the dog, your injuries, any injuries the dog sustained and where the attack occurred. Get the name and information of the dog's owners and any people who saw the attack, without getting into a confrontation with the owner.
- Seek medical attention — Even if the bite doesn't seem serious, it's important to get evaluated by a doctor or other medical professional. Dog bites often lead to infection, and shots or medications may be necessary to get you fully healthy. Furthermore, you'll need documentation of your injuries in order to receive compensation.
- Report the incident — Depending on where the incident occurred, you may need to report the dog bite to your local municipality. This can help to ensure that the dog is free of disease and infection, and that there is documentation of the incident to show the insurance company.
- Be cautious with insurance companies — Insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Be wary of accepting a settlement without consulting with a lawyer, as the first offer is likely to be less than what your claim is worth.
- Reach out to a personal injury lawyer — A lawyer who specializes in injury claims can help you determine the best way to move forward. They can evaluate the circumstances of the incident and help you to determine how much compensation you are entitled to for your dog bite injury in Bonne Terre, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in Bonne Terre, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in Bonne Terre, MO offers expertise and peace of mind. Here are some of the things they can do for you:
- Analyze your case — A dog bite lawyer can go over the details and offer insight into your chances of success. They will review the circumstances surrounding the bite, including the severity of your injuries and the relevant state statutes.
- Help you understand your rights — A dog bite lawyer can help you understand the injury claim process and what you're entitled to. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in Bonne Terre, MO, and they can help you navigate the legal system from filing an initial insurance claim to going to trial if you have to. Throughout your case, your Bonne Terre, MO dog bite lawyer will be available to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Acquire evidence — A dog bite lawyer can obtain evidence that corroborates your side of the story. This may include medical records, witness statements and any surveillance footage or other evidence.
- Negotiate with insurance companies — A dog bite lawyer can handle your claim with the dog owner's insurance company for you. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can advocate for your rights and make sure the compensation covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court — If your case goes to court, a dog bite lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Any law regarding personal injury is designed to keep the public safe and to hold people responsible for the harm they cause. Each state makes their own dog bite laws, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar.
Neither state has a "one bite rule" – where you can't hold the owner liable if it's the dog's first aggressive incident – or uses negligence – requiring the dog owner to actively forgo safety precautions – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both states follow "strict liability", meaning that a dog owner is liable for a dog bite even if the owner did nothing 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 main difference in dog bite law between Missouri and Illinois is in regards to the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you generally have five years to file a dog bite claim, while in Illinois you have two years.
Common Dog Attack Injuries
As harmless as they seem, "man's best friend" can be dangerous. Our dog attack lawyers in Bonne Terre, MO, understand how victims and their families can be affected after an incident. For instance, below are some of the most common injuries related to dog bites:
Too often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this stigma, but it's not always the case. Any dog is able to bite a person. This can be attributed to the dog's environment and interaction with the victim.
Breeds often associated with danger 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 remember is how a dog was raised and how you interact with the dog. People have the same tendency to strike others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Bonne Terre, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Bonne Terre, MO, will look into a number of special and general damages. Some of these include:
- Medical Expenses — You might be able to recover all expenses related to medical treatment caused by a bite. It's important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want compensation.
- Lost Time at Work — 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 can have lifelong consequences. These types of non-economic damages are factored into personal injury settlements and verdicts.
- Punitive Damages — Although rare, in certain circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the dog owner's conduct was intentional or extreme.
- Property Damage — This can include a broken phone, if you crashed a bike, if a dog tore up your siding and other things that may have 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 Bonne Terre, MO personal injury lawyers will ensure that no money is left on the table in your claim.
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Reach out to a Dog Bite Lawyer in Bonne Terre, MO Today
If you've been attacked by a dog, contact Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It's crucial to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Bonne Terre, MO, right away if there are financial damages. Legal counsel doesn't cost you anything. At Halvorsen Klote, 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 Bonne Terre, MO, dog bite lawyers are ready to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a complimentary consultation.
Our firm would be happy to speak with you. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.