Dog Bite Lawyers in Columbia, MO
Columbia, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Complimentary Consultation | Columbia, MO Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bite Lawyers in Columbia, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Columbia, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is essential to find experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Columbia, MO and on both sides of the Mississippi fight insurance companies 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 Columbia, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
How Common Are Dog Bites?
Based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than four and a half million dog bites each year across the country. These injuries are associated with expensive medical expenses, as medical treatment can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Every 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, across the country 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 Columbia, MO
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be thinking about whether or not you can seek compensation from the dog owner. The answer depends on a few key factors:
- The extent of your damages — If you want 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 less tangible damages such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It's harder to get compensation for small injuries like bruises or scrapes .
- Circumstances surrounding the attack — 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 some "creative lawyering" to help locate the policy that covers your damages.
- Dog bite laws — The validity of your claim is, at least to a degree, dictated by local and state law. Generally, 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 are unsure whether or not you have enough to make a claim, you should speak to a qualified Columbia, MO dog bite lawyer. They can analyze the specifics of your case and advise you on your best options for compensation.
What Do I Do if I'm Bit by a Dog in Columbia, 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:
- Acquire evidence — As soon as you can afterwards, take pictures of the dog, your injuries, any injuries the dog sustained and where the attack occurred. Ask for the name and information of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, but do not start an argument with the owner.
- Seek medical treatment — Even if you don't end up going to the emergency room, you need to get evaluated 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. Furthermore, you'll need proof that you were injured in order to make a claim.
- Report the bite — Depending on where you were when you were attacked, you may need to file a report with your local municipality. This can help to ensure that the dog is observed to see if they're a danger to others, and that there is documentation of the incident to back up your story.
- 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 it may not fully cover the costs of your medical bills and other expenses.
- Schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer — An attorney with experience in dog bite cases can help you determine the best way to move forward. They can look into the details of your case and help you to determine the true value of your dog bite injury in Columbia, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in Columbia, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in Columbia, MO offers expertise and peace of mind. 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 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 Columbia, MO, and they can help you navigate the injury claims process from filing an initial insurance claim to going to trial if necessary. Throughout the duration of your case, your Columbia, MO dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Obtain 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 to get you the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can fight on your behalf and ensure 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.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws, and laws regarding personal injury in general, are designed to keep innocent people from harm and to hold negligent actors liable for the damages they cause. Each state makes their own dog bite laws, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar.
Neither state implements 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 do something wrong – to determine if an owner can be liable.
Instead, both Missouri and Illinois operate under the doctrine of "strict liability", in which a dog owner can be sued 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 only major difference in dog bite law between Missouri and Illinois has to do with the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you generally have five years to file a dog bite claim, while in Illinois dog bite claims must be filed within 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 Columbia, MO, understand how victims and their families can be affected after an incident. For instance, here are a few of the most common dog bite injuries:
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 human. This can be caused by how the person interacts with the dog and the environment it was raised in.
Breeds often associated with bites 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 the same tendency to strike others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Columbia, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Columbia, 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 dog bite. It's important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want reimbursement.
- 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 traumatic. 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 some circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the 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 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 Columbia, 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 Columbia, MO include:
- Fatal Car Accident Lawyer
- Auto Accident Attorney
- Bike Wreck Lawyer
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
- Lawyer for Bicycle Accident
- Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
- Injury Claim Lawyer
Speak To a Dog Bite Lawyer in Columbia, MO Now
If you've been attacked by a dog, contact Halvorsen Klote now for a consultation. It's essential to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Columbia, MO, right away if there are financial damages. Legal representation 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 Columbia, MO, dog bite lawyers are here to help. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a complimentary consultation.
Our firm would be more than happy to speak with you. We've won numerous cases and you can view our testimonials here.