Dog Bite Lawyers in Washington, MO
Washington, MO Personal Injury Lawyers
Call 866-382-4167 for a No Risk, No Obligation Case Evaluation | Washington, MO Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bite Lawyers in Washington, MO. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when Washington, MO dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It's essential to get experienced legal service ASAP after a dog bite. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in Washington, MO and on both sides of the Mississippi fight insurance companies to get the compensation they entitled to. If you have a claim, don't hesitate to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our Washington, 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
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are over 4.5 million serious dog bites each year across the country. These injuries can carry expensive medical expenses, as medical care can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Every day, nearly 1,000 people seek emergency medical treatment for serious dog bites, and the average medical costs for a dog bite is $20,000.
In 2022, in the U.S. there were 17,597 dog bite claims, which ended up costing $1.136 billion in compensation.
Do I Have a Dog Bite Case in Washington, MO?
If a dog bit you for no reason, you may be thinking about whether or not you can seek compensation from the dog owner. The answer depends on your unique situation:
- Seriousness of your injuries — In order to have a valid claim, 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 emotional damages like emotional distress. For less significant injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a scrape, you may not be able to make 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 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 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 enough to make a claim, you should speak to a qualified Washington, MO dog bite lawyer. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Do I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in Washington, 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 — As soon as you can afterwards, take photos of the surrounding scene and any injuries. Ask for the name and information of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, without getting into an argument with the owner.
- Get medical treatment — Even if the bite doesn't seem serious, it's important to get evaluated by a healthcare professional. Dog bites frequently cause infection, and shots or medications may be necessary to get you fully healthy. Additionally, you'll need documentation of your injuries in order to receive a financial recovery.
- Report the attack — Depending on where you were when you were attacked, you may need to report the dog bite to your local municipality. 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 incident to back up your story.
- Be cautious with 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 the first offer is likely to be less than the true value of your claim.
- Schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer — An attorney who specializes in injury claims can help you determine the best way to move forward. They can evaluate the circumstances of the incident and help you to determine the true value of your dog bite injury in Washington, MO.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in Washington, MO Can Help
A dog bite lawyer in Washington, 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 advise 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 Washington, MO, and they can help you navigate the legal system from filing an initial insurance claim to going to trial if you have to. Throughout your case, your Washington, MO dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you may have.
- Gather evidence — A dog bite lawyer can obtain 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 negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can fight on your behalf and make sure you get a fair settlement.
- Represent you in court — If your case 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 accountable 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 the dog had to have bitten somebody before 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 any damages their dog causes, whether or not the dog has a history of aggression or or if the home owner did anything 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 dog bite laws in each state can be found in Missouri Revised Statute §273.036 and 510 ILCS 5/1.
The only major 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. Our dog attack lawyers in Washington, MO, know how victims can be affected. For example, below are a few of the most common dog bite injuries:
- Nerve Damage
- Facial Injuries
- Puncture Wounds
- Mental Anguish
Too often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this stigma, but it's not always the case. Every dog is capable of biting someone. 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 the same tendency to attack others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in Washington, MO?
A dog bite lawyer in Washington, MO, will look into a number of damages. Some of these include:
- Medical Expenses — You might be able to recover all expenses 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 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 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 — 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 may include damages to your home, your clothes, a bike or motorcycle, your phone 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 Washington, 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 Washington, MO include:
- Bike Wreck Lawyer
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
- Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
- Lawyer for Bicycle Accident
- Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
- Injury Claim Lawyer
- Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
- Auto Crash Attorney
Speak To a Dog Bite Lawyer in Washington, 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 Washington, MO, as soon as possible if there are financial damages. Legal counsel 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 Washington, MO, dog bite lawyers are here to win. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a complimentary case review.
Our attorneys would be happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our testimonials here.
Attorney at Law
Joel Halvorsen and his partner Greg Klote founded the Halvorsen Klote law firm on the principle that injured people and their families should have access to the same quality legal representation as large insurance companies.
Attorney at Law
Greg Klote is a partner and founder of Halvorsen Klote.
Greg has successfully fought for people who were injured through no fault of their own. He became a lawyer to help make a difference in the lives of those who have been wronged and treated unfairly.