Dog Bite Lawyers in Festus, MO
Festus, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Complimentary Case Evaluation | Festus, MO Dog Attack Attorneys
Dog Bite Lawyers in Festus, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Festus, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is crucial to find experienced legal counsel ASAP after a dog bite. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Festus, MO and beyond hold negligent dog owners accountable to get the compensation they entitled to. If you were bitten by a dog, don't hesitate to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our Festus, 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 every year in the U.S. Dog bites can carry expensive medical expenses, as medical care can cost tens of thousands of dollars when you consider procedures, medication and other factors. 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.
Do I Have a Dog Bite Case in Festus, 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 — 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 less tangible injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder. For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a small cut, you may not have a claim .
- Circumstances surrounding the attack — If you were attacked while you were on public property or on private property you had permission to be on, you may have a case. But, 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 homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance policy. If not, you may need your attorney to do some "creative lawyering" to help locate the policy that covers your injuries.
- Dog bite laws — The validity of your claim is, to some extent, dictated by local ordinances and state statutes. Typically, 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 don't know if you have enough to make a claim, you should discuss your case with a qualified Festus, 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 Festus, 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 — Before leaving, 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 treatment — Even if you don't end up going to the emergency room, you need to get checked out by a doctor or other medical professional. Dog bites can be prone 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 make a claim.
- Report the incident — Depending on where the incident transpired, 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 observed to see if they're a danger to others, and that there is an official record 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.
- Reach out to a personal injury lawyer — A lawyer with experience in dog bite cases can help you to understand your legal rights and options. They can look into the details of your case and help you to determine how much compensation you deserve for your dog bite injury in Festus, MO.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in Festus, MO Can Help
A dog bite lawyer in Festus, 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 tell you 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 options. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in Festus, MO, and they can help you navigate the injury claims process from filing a claim with the appropriate insurance to going to trial if you have to. Throughout your case, your Festus, MO dog bite lawyer will be by the phone to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Acquire evidence — A dog bite lawyer can acquire evidence that backs up your side of the story. 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 deserve. Insurance companies want to devalue claims, but a dog bite lawyer can stand up for you and ensure the compensation covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court — If your case 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 has their own laws regarding dog bites, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois have most of the most important aspects in common.
Neither state has a "one bite rule" – where the dog had to have bitten somebody in an earlier incident for the owner to be liable – or uses negligence – requiring the dog owner to actively forgo safety precautions – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both Missouri and Illinois adhere to "strict liability", in which a dog owner can be sued 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 has to do with the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you typically 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
As harmless as they seem, "man's best friend" can be dangerous. Halvorsen Klote's dog attack attorneys in Festus, MO, know how victims and their families can be affected. For instance, below are a few of the most common injuries related to dog bites:
Too often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this up, but it's not always the case. Every dog is able to bite someone. 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) 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 lash out others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Festus, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Festus, MO, will look into a variety of damages. Some of these include:
- Medical Expenses — You might be able to recover all costs related to medical treatment caused by a bite. It's important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want reimbursement.
- Lost Wages — If you or a family member have been injured 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 could 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 Festus, 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 Festus, MO include:
- Fatal Car Accident Lawyer
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- What to Do After a Car Accident
- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
- Lawyer for Bicycle Accident
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Call a Dog Bite Lawyer in Festus, MO Now
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, reach out to Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It is crucial to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Festus, MO, right away if there are financial damages. Legal assistance doesn't cost you anything. Here, we charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that there aren't any upfront costs and you only pay if we win the case. Our Festus, MO, dog bite lawyers are here to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Our firm would be happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.