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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Powell

A Guide on How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Missouri

Pet ownership can be an amazing thing, especially considering the level of companionship that an animal can bring. Dogs are often the go-to choice, and with their wit, appearance, and care, who can blame those who decide to make them a part of their lives?

While people are free to have their pets, it is their responsibility to ensure that the said animals cause no undue damage to anyone. This is not always done successfully, which is the reason for many dog bite incidents.

How are these meant to be handled in Missouri? What does the litigation say? Can victims get compensated? How does the process work, if so? The answers to these questions and more are below.

How Do Missouri Dog Bite Laws Work?

How Do Missouri Dog Bite Laws Work?

Missouri law states that a dog owner is automatically responsible for any property damage and bite injuries that their pet may cause. The "one bite" rule is pretty common among states, however, it is not practiced here. Put simply, the victim in a dog bite case would need to prove that the owner was aware or should have been aware that the animal was dangerous.

Alongside not having to demonstrate this, there is no need for the injured party to illustrate how the owner's negligence led to the accident.

Instead, dog bite victims in Missouri need only prove that they were injured in an unprovoked attack, which took place on public property. Private property that the person was on legally also counts.

What Does a Dog Bite Victim Need to Prove in Negligence Cases?

While the strict liability explained above applies in cases where a dog bite attack or property damage is at play, the recourse for non-bite injuries isn't the same. In such scenarios, the injured party can still recover compensation in a negligence lawsuit.

This process requires the victim to prove the following:

  1. The dog's owner had a duty of care to take reasonable steps to control the animal

  2. There was a violation of this duty

  3. Injuries have now occurred because of the said violation

Note that this duty can be pretty far-reaching as it includes an owner being ready for the dog's habits, which may include jumping on people and running around off-leash. The extent to which the dog's behaviors are known will weigh heavily on the outcome of the matter.

Gather Evidence When Dog Bite Injuries Are Caused

Getting compensated for dog bites still requires the victim to take the right steps after an incident, though there may be less of a need to prove negligence when compared to claims in other states.

Remember that there needs to be validation that the dog attack happened. Additionally, an indication that an injury has now occurred because of it is required.

Therefore, whatever evidence can be gathered post-incident is very helpful. Examples include pictures of the wound and scene, as well as the contact information of eyewitnesses who may have seen what took place.

While a dog bite attorney will do everything possible to ensure that the claim is successful when filed, getting assistance from the client's initial actions goes a long way toward that positive outcome.

Attempt to Locate the Owner

Dog owners should be made aware of attacks that their animals are responsible for. While those injured are advised to exercise caution, since saying the wrong thing can jeopardize a claim, it is still good to let the person know. Try to get contact information for the owner, if possible.

Get Medical Attention

Getting medical attention should be one of the highest priorities, as there could be infection or other long-term consequences that no one wants to have to deal with.

Additionally, taking this step will cause the creation of documentation indicating that the incident happened, what kind of care was necessary, and what medical bills were incurred. All this is valuable in getting fair compensation from a dog bite lawsuit.

Contact the Authorities

Report the matter to the relevant authorities. This could be the police department or animal control. Again, doing this results in the generation of a paper trail. Furthermore, that one action makes it possible for a dog bite lawyer to get access to an incident report later, which could also prove to be a key part of getting a good settlement.

Retain the Services of a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Retain the Services of a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Initial Consultation

Dog bite cases are not easy to navigate, especially when there is someone on the other side who has likely sought legal aid in a bid to prevent having to pay the compensation amount that aligns with the matter.

The engagement with St. Louis dog bite attorneys will usually begin with a free consultation to establish a solid understanding of the matter. Additionally, the legal professional will speak to what kind of path forward is possible. They can also explain how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Missouri.

Case Building

Successful dog bite lawsuits for victims require a strong case to be built. Sure, Missouri may be a strict liability state, but what does need to be proven requires that no doubt is present. Therefore, the attorney will collect the necessary details and speak to the relevant parties to ensure that an airtight claim is put forward. They can assist with how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Missouri as well.

Filing the Claim

When dog bite lawyers are satisfied with what has been compiled, a claim will usually then be filed on behalf of the victim, which will outline what the matter is about and how much is being requested.

The Negotiation Phase

Missouri dog bite victims will rely on their lawyers to negotiate on their behalf. The dog owners will also have their legal professional handle this. Both sides will attempt to secure what they deem fair.


If no settlement can be reached from negotiation, a trial will need to happen under Missouri's dog bite laws, where the victim's lawyer will provide representation and attempt to get the desired settlement via court order.

Schedule a FREE Consultation with the Best in the Dog Bite Law Business Today!

Were you injured by someone's dog in Missouri unprovoked? You may be entitled to compensation! A qualified dog bite lawyer at Powell Law Firm can likely assist you in getting paid for the damages you have suffered. Schedule your free consultation today!


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