What Is the Dog Bite Law in Missouri?
Updated: Feb 24
Those filing an injury lawsuit for a dog bite may encounter problems when the defense tries to pin the blame on them. Understanding what the law in the state of Missouri has to say about dog bites is vital to the success of the case.
Dog Bite Laws in Missouri
As per Missouri Revised Statutes section 273.036.1, if a dog attacks someone, the owner of the dog is responsible for the resulting injuries. However, this is provided these injuries were the result of the dog bite, the victim was attacked on public or private property, and the person complainant did not do anything to provoke the dog.
In addition, if a dog owner is found liable for a dog attack, he or she must pay a $1,000 fine, along with compensation for damage to property and or injuries that the complainant can prove in the case.
Missouri's dog bite statute is a "strict liability" statute, which indicates that it applies even if the owner of the dog took preventive steps to restrain the dog or prevent the attack from occurring.
Who Is Liable?
Someone bitten by a dog that belongs to someone else may make a legal claim against the dog's owner or the person responsible for it.
Other parties may also be held liable, such as a landlord informed of a dog problem, but did not take the appropriate measures to keep other occupants safe.
Premises liability, strict liability, or negligence can all be used to establish liability for injuries caused by an animal. Most homeowner's insurance plans cover dog attacks in Missouri.
Does the “One-bite” Law Apply in Missouri?
Unlike Kansas, Missouri does not follow the one-bite rule, which requires the owner of the dog to be aware that the dog is likely to attack, or has already bitten someone, for them to be held liable.
In Missouri, a victim has five years to file a lawsuit against the dog owner, whereas, in Kansas, this time frame is two years.
What Does the Law Say about Non-bite Claims?
The Missouri statute refers to dog bites, and not other injuries caused by dogs. Many other kinds of animal behavior, such as jumping on people, can also result in injuries.
To claim the costs for a non-bite injury caused by a dog, the victim must file a negligence claim against the owner of the animal, demonstrating to the court that the owner of the dog failed to exercise due care, which resulted in the injuries.
Criminal Penalties for Retaining a Dangerous Dog
If a dog causes injury or death, the owner may face criminal charges in addition to a civil lawsuit in some instances. According to Missouri Revised Statutes section 578.024, a dog owner can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for retaining a "dangerous animal."
A "dangerous animal" has previously bitten a human, and then bites that person again without provocation. The criminal penalties for retaining a dangerous animal in the state of Missouri become more severe if the dog causes severe injuries.
If the second attack causes serious injury, the owner may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If both the first and second attacks cause serious injuries, the owner may be convicted of a Class E felony and may be found guilty of a Class D felony if the dog's attack leads to a person's death.
In any of these situations, an owner facing criminal charges could also encounter a civil lawsuit for damages or losses. The government prosecutor's office files criminal charges, and a guilty verdict can result in penalties such as probation or imprisonment.
A civil lawsuit is filed directly by the injured person, or by the injured person's estate in a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim dies because of the dog bite. Liability is resolved solely in terms of monetary damages.
Contact Powell Law Firm Today!
It may be difficult to receive compensation if a person was bitten by a dog because laws can be difficult to navigate, as they differ from state to state. Enlisting the help of an experienced St Louis dog attack attorney can be the difference between winning and losing a dog bite case. Be sure to report the dog bite to the police immediately.
Victims can get a free consultation with Powell Law Firm and have Kenneth Powell and his legal team fight the battle on their behalf.