Dog Bite Lawyers in Cape Girardeau, MO
Cape Girardeau, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Complimentary Consultation | Cape Girardeau, MO Dog Attack Law Firm
Dog Bite Lawyers in Cape Girardeau, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Cape Girardeau, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is essential to get experienced legal representation as soon as possible after a dog attack. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Cape Girardeau, MO and throughout Missouri and Illinois hold negligent dog owners liable to get the financial recovery they deserve. If you have a claim, don't hesitate to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our Cape Girardeau, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote fights for the rights of the injured in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
How Common Are Dog Bites?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than 4.5 million serious dog bites annually nationwide. These injuries can carry expensive medical bills, as medical care can cost tens of thousands of dollars when taking into account tests, prescriptions and other factors. Every day, almost 1,000 people visit an emergency room for significant dog bites, and the average medical costs for a dog bite is $20,000.
In 2022, in the U.S. there were 17,597 dog bite claims, which resulted in $1.136 billion in compensation.
How to Know if You Have a Dog Bite Case in Cape Girardeau, MO
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be thinking about if you have a case for legal action. The answer depends on a few key factors:
- Seriousness of your injuries — In order to have a valid claim, 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 such as post-traumatic stress disorder. For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a scrape, you may not have a claim .
- Circumstances surrounding the incident — If you were bitten while you were on public property or on private property you had access to, you may have a case. But, if you were there illegally or if you provoked the dog, you likely don't have a case.
- Insurance coverages available — For more serious dog bite cases, you'll probably 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 some "creative lawyering" to help find the coverage you need.
- Dog bite laws — The validity of your claim is, to some extent, dictated by local and state law. 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 enough to make a claim, you should request a consultation with a qualified Cape Girardeau, MO dog bite lawyer. They can analyze the circumstances surrounding your dog attack and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Do I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in Cape Girardeau, MO?
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:
- Acquire evidence — As soon as you can afterwards, take photos 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, without getting into an argument with the owner.
- Seek medical treatment — Even if you don't end up going to the emergency room, it's important to get evaluated by a healthcare professional. Dog bites frequently cause 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 file a report with the local animal control agency or police department. This can help to ensure that the dog is free of disease and infection, and that there is an official record of the attack to back up your claims.
- Be cautious with insurance companies — If the dog's owner has insurance, their insurance company may reach out to you to offer a settlement. Never agree to a settlement without consulting with a lawyer, as the first offer is likely to be less than the true value of your claim.
- Schedule a consultation 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 Cape Girardeau, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO can provide a range of services to help you with your case. Here are some of the benefits to hiring an attorney for your claim:
- Analyze your case — A dog bite lawyer can evaluate your case and advise whether you have a valid claim. They will review all of the evidence and how it fits with law and case precedent.
- Help you understand your rights — A dog bite lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in Cape Girardeau, MO, and they can help you navigate the injury claims process from filing an initial insurance claim to going to court if you have to. Throughout the duration of your case, your Cape Girardeau, MO dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you may have.
- Acquire evidence — A dog bite lawyer can gather evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, witness statements and any surveillance footage or other evidence.
- Negotiate with insurance companies — A dog bite lawyer can negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies want to avoid paying claims, but a dog bite lawyer can advocate for your rights and ensure the compensation covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court — If your lawsuit goes to court, a dog bite lawyer can present your case to a judge and jury and argue for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Any law regarding personal injury is designed to keep the public safe and to hold negligent actors liable for the harm they cause. Each state implements their own laws regarding dog bites, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois have most of the most important aspects in common.
Neither state implements 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 actively forgo safety precautions – to determine if an owner can be liable.
Instead, both states follow "strict liability", in which a dog owner is liable for a dog bite even if the owner did nothing wrong. Unlike other forms of liability, such as negligence, strict liability does not require you to prove that the dog owner did anything wrong. Instead, the mere fact that the dog bit you is enough to establish liability.
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
A dog might be considered "man's best friend, but that doesn't mean they're not dangerous. Halvorsen Klote's dog attack lawyers in Cape Girardeau, MO, know how victims and their families can be affected. For example, here are some of the most common injuries related to dog bites:
Often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this stigma, but it's not always the case. Every dog is capable of biting a human. This can be caused by how the person interacts with the dog and the environment it was raised in.
Breeds often associated with danger include (in no particular order) bulldogs, pit bulls, shepherds, terriers, pekingese, 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 a similar tendency to lash out others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Cape Girardeau, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO, will look at various types of damages. These include:
- Medical Expenses — Victims may be able to recover all expenses related to medical treatment caused by a bite. It is 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 — Though rare, in some circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the owner's conduct was intentional or extreme.
- Property Damage — This could 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 Cape Girardeau, MO personal injury lawyers will ensure that no money is left on the table in your claim.
Other cases we take on and win in Cape Girardeau, MO include:
- Fatal Car Accident Lawyer
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- Bike Wreck Lawyer
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- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
- Lawyer for Bicycle Accident
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Speak To a Dog Bite Lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, don't hesitate to reach out to Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It's essential to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO, right away if there are financial damages. Legal representation 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 Cape Girardeau, MO, dog bite lawyers are ready to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Our attorneys would be more than happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.