Dog Bite Lawyers in Fulton, MO
Fulton, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
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Dog Bite Lawyers in Fulton, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Fulton, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is important to get experienced legal counsel ASAP after an accident. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Fulton, MO and beyond 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 Fulton, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote fights for the rights of the injured in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bite Statistics
Based on reporting from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than 4.5 million serious dog bites annually across the country. Dog bites can carry high medical costs, as medical treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars when you consider surgery, 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, 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 Fulton, MO?
If a dog bit you for no reason, you may be wondering whether or not you can seek compensation from the dog owner. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the attack:
- Seriousness of your injuries — In order 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 less tangible injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder. It's harder to get compensation for small injuries like bruises or scrapes .
- The specifics of the incident — If you were bitten while you were on public property or on private property you had permission to be on, you may have a case. However, if you were trespassing or threatened the dog or their owner, you likely don't have a case.
- Insurance coverages available — For more serious dog bite cases, you'll likely 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 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 can seek compensation for a dog bite any time you were bitten by another person's dog if:
- You were at the location legally
- You did nothing to provoke or excite the dog or its owner
If you are unsure whether or not you have a viable case for legal action, you need to speak to a qualified Fulton, MO dog bite lawyer. They can look at the specifics of your case and advise you on your best options for compensation.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Fulton, 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 — Before leaving, take pictures of the surrounding scene and any injuries. Get the name and information of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, but do not start a confrontation with the owner.
- Seek medical attention — Even if you don't end up going to the emergency room, it's important to get your injuries treated 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 attack — Depending on where the attack transpired, you may need to file a report with your local municipality. 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 corroborate your story.
- Don't believe insurance companies — Insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Never agree to 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 — An attorney who specializes in injury claims 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 Fulton, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in Fulton, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in Fulton, 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 go over the details 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 the injury claim process and what you're entitled to. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in Fulton, MO, and they can help you navigate the legal system from filing an initial insurance claim to going to court if necessary. Throughout the duration of your case, your Fulton, MO dog bite lawyer will be by the phone 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 photographs of your injuries.
- Negotiate with insurance companies — A dog bite lawyer can handle your claim with the dog owner's insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies want to devalue claims, 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 claim 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 liable for the harm 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 – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both Missouri and Illinois follow "strict liability", in which 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 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 bite lawyers in Fulton, MO, understand how victims can be affected. For instance, here are some of the most common dog bite injuries:
Often, people stereotype certain breeds. There are facts to back this stigma, but they're not always applicable. Any dog is capable of biting a person. 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 keep in mind 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 Fulton, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Fulton, MO, will look at various types of special and general damages. These include:
- Medical Expenses — You might be able to recover all costs related to medical treatment caused by a dog bite. It is important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want reimbursement.
- 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 traumatic. 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 — 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 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 Fulton, 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 Fulton, MO include:
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- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
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Speak To a Dog Bite Lawyer in Fulton, MO Today
If you've been attacked by a dog, reach out to Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It's essential to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Fulton, MO, right away if there are financial damages. Legal assistance doesn't cost you anything. At Halvorsen Klote, 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 Fulton, MO, dog bite lawyers are here to help. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a no risk, no obligation consultation.
Our firm would be happy to speak with you. We've won numerous cases and you can view our testimonials here.