Dog Bite Lawyers in Vandalia, MO
Vandalia, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
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Dog Bite Lawyers in Vandalia, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Vandalia, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is essential to get experienced legal service ASAP after a dog attack. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Vandalia, MO and throughout Missouri and Illinois hold negligent dog owners accountable to get the financial recovery they entitled to. If you have a claim, don't hesitate to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our Vandalia, MO dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bites: Figures to Know
Based on research from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than four and a half million dog bites annually nationwide. These injuries are associated with high medical expenses, as medical assistance can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. 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, 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 Vandalia, MO?
If a dog attacked you for no reason, you may be thinking about whether or not you have a valid claim. The answer depends on your unique situation:
- Severity 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 anxiety. It's harder to get compensation for small injuries like bruises or scrapes .
- Circumstances surrounding the incident — If you were attacked 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 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 your attorney to do some "creative lawyering" to help find the coverage you need.
- Dog bite laws — The validity of your claim is, at least to a degree, based 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 at the location legally
- You were acting peacefully and did not provoke the dog
If you don't know if you have enough to seek compensation, you should request a consultation with a qualified Vandalia, MO dog bite lawyer. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Should I Do if I'm Attacked by a Dog in Vandalia, 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:
- Obtain evidence — While you're still at the scene, take photos of the surrounding scene and any injuries. Get the name and information of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, without getting into a confrontation with the owner.
- Get 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 frequently lead 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 a financial recovery.
- Report the attack — Depending on where the attack 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 — Insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Never agree to a settlement before you speak to an attorney, 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 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 Vandalia, MO.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer in Vandalia, MO Do for Me?
A dog bite lawyer in Vandalia, 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 go over the details 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 rights. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in Vandalia, 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 Vandalia, MO dog bite lawyer will be available to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Acquire evidence — A dog bite lawyer can gather 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 handle your claim with the dog owner's insurance company for you. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can stand up for you and make sure the compensation covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court — If your lawsuit 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
Dog bite laws, and laws regarding personal injury in general, are designed to keep innocent people from harm 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 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 do something wrong – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both states adhere to "strict liability", meaning that a dog owner is liable 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 only major difference in dog bite law between Missouri and Illinois is in regards to the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you typically have five years to file a dog bite claim, while in Illinois you have two years.
Common Dog Attack Injuries
As harmless as they seem, "man's best friend" can be dangerous. Our dog attack lawyers in Vandalia, MO, understand how victims can be affected. For instance, below are some of the most common dog bite injuries:
Often, people stereotype certain breeds. There are facts to back this up, but they're not always applicable. Every 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) 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 lash out others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Vandalia, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Vandalia, MO, will look at a number of damages. Some of these include:
- Medical Expenses — Victims might be able to recover all costs related to medical treatment caused by a bite. It is important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want compensation.
- 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 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 Vandalia, MO personal injury lawyers will ensure that no money is left on the table in your claim.
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- Automobile Injury Attorney
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Schedule a Consultation With a Dog Bite Lawyer in Vandalia, MO Now
If you've been attacked by a dog, don't hesitate to reach out to Halvorsen Klote today for a consultation. It is important to contact a local dog bite lawyer in Vandalia, MO, as soon as possible 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 Vandalia, MO, dog bite lawyers are ready to help. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free case review.
Our lawyers would be happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our testimonials here.