Dog bites are more serious than many people realize. Not only does the victim experience pain and suffering from the bite itself, there may be further complications, such as loss of mobility in the injured area and exposure to rabies and infection.
Dog owners can be held liable when their pets hurt others. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, the dedicated Kansas City dog bite lawyers of Aramjoo Law Firm are here to help.
Common Injuries From Dog Attacks
Dog bites leave victims with significant injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds: The tremendous force that a dog’s teeth and jaws exert can dig deep into the skin. This can cause intense pain, bleeding, and scarring.
- Bone fractures: Shattered and broken bones are also common due to the pressure of a dog bite. Additional injuries may be caused if a dog knocks the victim to the ground during a bite attack.
- Infection and disease: Dogs often carry bacteria and diseases like rabies. If a wound is not properly disinfected and treated, including with rabies shots (if needed), the injury can become much more serious.
- Facial and neck injuries: Some of the worst dog bites permanently damage the eyes, cheeks, and other parts of the face. A bite to the neck could prove life-threatening for some victims.
- Deep bruising: Young and elderly dog bite victims, who have less protective tissue, are especially prone to bruising. Deep bruising can be excruciating and limit motion of the injured area.
- Scrapes, scratches, and cuts: These may seem like minor injuries, but they can lead to infection and scarring. Always see a doctor after a dog bite for proper medical attention.
- Disfigurement: Many dog bites disfigure the hands, arms, face, and other parts of the body. Plastic surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.
- Disability and loss of mobility: A deep enough dog bite can damage the nerves and cause permanent disability. A victim can also expect loss of mobility, which could affect the ability to work.
- Trauma: While most dog bite injuries are physical, victims may also suffer emotional injury and psychological trauma. Compensation for these is available in a damages award.
Why do dogs bite?
Even a seemingly friendly, well-trained, and calm dog can suddenly turn violent and lash out against an unsuspecting victim. A dog may bite because it is:
- Afraid, startled, or intimidated
- Defending its owner or an object like food
- Highly territorial
- Injured or sick
- In an unfamiliar place, especially one that is crowded or loud
Dogs don’t always mean to bite or cause injury. An overly playful animal can accidentally bite yet still cause the injuries listed above.
What to Know About Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases
The state of Missouri imposes strict liability in dog bite cases. This means the defendant (the dog owner) is liable for their actions regardless of intent or negligence. Under the state’s dog bite law, a dog owner is responsible for the victim’s damages if:
- The dog bites a victim who is on public property or is lawfully on private property
- The dog bites the victim without provocation
Strict liability also means that it doesn’t matter whether the dog was restrained or didn’t have a history of biting anyone. But note that this strict liability applies specifically to dog bites. If additional injuries are caused (e.g. because the dog knocks the victim to the ground), it may be necessary to prove negligence.
What If You’re Being Blamed for the Dog Attack?
Dog owners, their lawyers, and premises liability insurance companies (which pay for dog bites that occur on private property) are always looking for ways to blame the victim. However, victims are still allowed to recover compensation, even if they’re accused of being partly responsible.
Missouri has a legal doctrine known as comparative negligence, under which a victim who is partly to blame for an injury can still recover compensation. Total damages would be reduced by whatever percentage of fault is attributed to the victim
How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?
A statute of limitations is a deadline to file a lawsuit. In most cases, a victim who allows the statute of limitations to expire will not be allowed to bring a legal claim against the responsible party. Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including dog bites. But it’s recommended that you take action much sooner to acquire and preserve evidence, locate witnesses, and make a stronger case.
How Much Is a Settlement for a Dog Bite Worth?
Most personal injury lawsuits, including those involving dog bites, are settled between the victim and the at-fault party’s insurance company. The amount of the settlement will depend on the severity of the injuries and the losses that the victim suffers, including:
- Medical bills such as hospitalization, surgery, plastic surgery, infection and rabies treatments, and prescription medications
- Lost wages due to time recovering from the injury
- Lost earning capacity if the victim is unable to work the same job as before the dog bite
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages are available to survivors if the victim dies
How Our Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
We bring considerable legal experience to bear in holding the at-fault party responsible for our clients’ injuries. When you retain our firm to represent you in a dog bite case, our Kansas City personal injury lawyers immediately get to work investigating the circumstances of the attack and acquiring the evidence needed to build a compelling legal case. Our Kansas City dog bite lawyers can call upon expert witnesses who can provide testimony to help prove the nature of the victim’s damages, including future ones (e.g., the costs of future medical treatments).
We understand the suffering and financial expenses that victims typically experience in these cases, so we fight for the maximum damages available. Where possible, we will negotiate a settlement with the insurance party that fairly compensates you for your losses. But we aren’t afraid to take your case in front of a jury if necessary. Finally, we work to refute any attempt to shift blame to you, the victim, or deny the damages that you deserve.
Contact Our Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyers Today
Nobody deserves to suffer the pain of a dog bite, let alone the financial burden of medical bills lost time from work, and related damages. That’s why Aramjoo Law Firm stands up for the rights of Kansas City victims and their families. Put our experience to work for you today. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation with a Kansas City dog bite lawyer today.