Dog Bite Lawyers in O'Fallon, MO
O'Fallon, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Complimentary Case Review | O'Fallon, MO Dog Bite Law Firm
Dog Bite Lawyers in O'Fallon, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when O'Fallon, 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 representation ASAP after an incident. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in O'Fallon, MO and on both sides of the Mississippi hold negligent pet owners liable to get the financial recovery they are owed. If you were bitten by a dog, don't wait another second to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our O'Fallon, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than four and a half million dog bites every year in the U.S. These injuries can carry expensive medical bills, as medical assistance can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Each day, almost 1,000 people go to an emergency room for serious 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 ended up costing $1.136 billion in compensation.
Do I Have a Dog Bite Case in O'Fallon, MO?
If a dog attacked you for no reason, you may be thinking about if you have a case for legal action. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the attack:
- Seriousness of your injuries — If you want to have a valid case, your injuries your injuries have to have resulted in monetary loss. You can generally receive compensation for injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations or broken bones, as well as less tangible damages like emotional distress. For less serious injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a small cut, you may not have a claim .
- Circumstances surrounding the bite — If you were attacked while you were on public property or on private property you had access to, you may have a case. But, if you were trespassing or if you provoked the dog, 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 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 find the policy you need.
- Dog bite laws — Whether or not you're able to make a valid claim for a dog bite also depends on local and state law. Generally, 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 did nothing to provoke or excite the dog or its owner
If you don't know if you have a viable case for legal action, you should speak to a qualified O'Fallon, MO dog bite lawyer. They can analyze the circumstances surrounding your dog attack and advise you on your best options for compensation.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in O'Fallon, 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 pictures 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 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, you need to get your injuries seen by a doctor or other medical professional. Dog bites can be prone to infection, and you may need to receive a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent complications. Additionally, you'll need proof that you were injured in order to receive compensation.
- Report the incident — Depending on where you were bitten, you may need to report the dog bite to 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 documentation of the attack to show the insurance company.
- Be cautious with insurance companies — Insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Never agree to a settlement before you speak to an attorney, 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 with experience in injury claims can help you determine the best way to move forward. They can look into the details of your case and help you to determine how much compensation you are entitled to for your dog bite injury in O'Fallon, MO.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in O'Fallon, MO Can Help
A dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, MO offers expertise and peace of mind. Here are some of the benefits to hiring an attorney for your claim:
- 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 the injury claim process and what you're entitled to. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in O'Fallon, 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 O'Fallon, MO dog bite lawyer will be by the phone to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Gather 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 to get you the compensation you're entitled to. Insurance companies want to devalue 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 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 damages 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 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 – 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 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
As harmless as they seem, "man's best friend" can be dangerous. Halvorsen Klote's dog bite attorneys in O'Fallon, MO, know how victims and their families can be affected after an incident. For example, here are a few of the most common dog bite injuries:
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 keep in mind 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 O'Fallon, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, MO, will look at a number of damages. 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 compensation.
- Lost Wages — If you or your child have been injured because of 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 some circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the owner's conduct was intentional or extreme.
- Property Damage — This may 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 O'Fallon, 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 O'Fallon, MO Now
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, reach out to Halvorsen Klote now for a consultation. It's essential to contact a local dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, MO, as soon as possible 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 O'Fallon, MO, dog bite lawyers are here to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Our lawyers would be more than happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.