Dog Bite Lawyers in St Clair, MO
St Clair, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a Free Case Evaluation | St Clair, MO Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bite Lawyers in St Clair, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when St Clair, 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 qualified legal service ASAP after an incident. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in St Clair, MO and throughout Missouri and Illinois hold negligent dog owners liable to get the financial recovery they entitled to. If you were bitten by a dog, don't wait another second to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our St Clair, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bite Statistics
Based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are over four and a half million dog bites each year in the U.S. These injuries can carry high medical bills, as medical assistance can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Every day, nearly 1,000 people seek emergency medical treatment 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 St Clair, MO?
If a dog attacked you for no reason, you may be wondering whether or not you have a valid claim. The answer depends on your unique situation:
- The extent of your damages — In order to have a viable case, your injuries your injuries have to have resulted in financial damages. You can generally receive compensation for injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations or broken bones, as well as emotional injuries such as anxiety. For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a scrape, you may not have a claim .
- Circumstances surrounding the attack — If you were bitten while you were on public property or on private property you had access to, you may have a case. However, 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 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 locate the coverage that covers your injuries.
- Dog bite laws — Whether or not you're able to make a valid claim for a dog bite also depends on local ordinances and state statutes. Typically, in Missouri and Illinois, you can seek compensation for a dog bite any time you were bitten by someone else's dog if:
- You were at the location legally
- You did nothing to provoke or threaten the dog or its owner
If you are unsure whether or not you have a viable case for legal action, you should request a consultation with a qualified St Clair, MO dog bite lawyer. They can analyze the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Should I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in St Clair, 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:
- Gather evidence — Before leaving, 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 a confrontation with the owner.
- Seek medical treatment — Even if the bite doesn't seem significant, you need to get checked out by a healthcare professional. Dog bites often cause infection, and you may need to receive a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent complications. Additionally, you'll need documentation of your injuries in order to receive compensation.
- Report the bite — Depending on where you were bitten, 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 quarantined and observed for signs of rabies or other diseases, and that there is documentation of the incident to corroborate your story.
- Don't believe 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.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer — An attorney with experience in injury claims can help you to understand your legal rights and options. They can evaluate the circumstances of the incident and help you to determine how much compensation you are owed for your dog bite injury in St Clair, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in St Clair, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in St Clair, MO can handle all the legal aspects of your case while you focus on healing. 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 offer insight into your chances of success. They will review the circumstances surrounding the bite, including the severity of your injuries and any relevant laws.
- 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 St Clair, 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 St Clair, MO dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Acquire 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 stand up for you and ensure 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
Dog bite laws, and laws regarding personal injury in general, are designed to keep innocent people from harm and to hold people responsible 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 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 actively forgo safety precautions – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both Missouri and Illinois operate under the doctrine of "strict liability", meaning that a dog owner can be sued for any damages their dog causes, whether or not the dog has a history of aggression or or if the home owner did anything wrong. Unlike other forms of liability, such as negligence, strict liability does not require the victim to prove that the dog owner did anything wrong. Instead, the mere fact that the dog caused harm 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 attorneys in St Clair, MO, know how victims can be affected. For instance, here are a few of the most common injuries related to dog bites:
Often, people stereotype certain breeds. There are facts to back this up, but they're not always applicable. Any dog is capable of biting someone. This can be caused by how the person interacts with the dog and the environment it was raised in.
Breeds that are 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 strike others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in St Clair, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in St Clair, MO, will look into a number of special and general damages. These include:
- Medical Expenses — Victims may be able to recover all expenses related to medical treatment caused by a dog bite. It is important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want compensation.
- Lost Time at Work — 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 certain 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 may have 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 St Clair, 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 St Clair, MO Now
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, contact Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It's essential to contact a local dog bite lawyer in St Clair, MO, as soon as possible 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 there aren't any upfront costs and you only pay if we win the case. Our St Clair, MO, dog bite lawyers are standing by to help. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a complimentary consultation.
Our firm would be happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our testimonials here.