Experienced Kansas City Dog Bite Attorneys
Strong representation for victims of animal attacks in MO and KS
For dog owners, the old saying that a dog is man’s best friend is true. For most “pet parents,” there’s nothing like the love and loyalty of a family dog. They roll over, chase frisbees, and look at you with those adorable eyes.
Dogs do have their limits, some breeds more than others. Dog bites are dangerous, posing risk of infection. Dogs may bite if they’re scared, teased, or upset. Young children are especially prone to dog bites because youngsters don’t appreciate how dangerous dogs can be. Postal carriers are at constant risk of being bitten by an unfriendly dog.
At Kansas City Accident Insurance Attorneys, our premises liability attorneys are skilled at representing dog bite victims. We work with investigators and use the discovery process to determine what happened, and to build the case that the dog owner should be responsible for your injuries, the injuries your child has, or the tragic death of a loved one. Our lawyers work with your doctors to explain the exact types of injuries the dog bite victim has, what treatment will be needed, and whether there is any scarring or disfigurement. Many cases do settle with the premises liability carrier or the homeowner’s insurance carrier. If necessary, we’re ready to try your case before a jury.
How often do dogs bites occur?
More often than you think. According to DogsBite.org, 1,000 Americans require ER care for a dog bite every day. More than 14,000 people need to be hospitalized for a dog bite each year. A few other notable dog bite statistics include the following:
- Homeowners’ insurers, in 2020, paid out $854 million in dog bite (and other dog-related) claims.
- Nearly 1 in 5 of the 4.5 million dog bites that occur annually become infected.
- In 2018, almost 27,000 dog bite victims required reconstructive surgery.
- The average expense of a dog-related hospital stay is $18,200.
- “There were 4 times as many dog bite-related ED visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas in 2008.”
Some of the breeds that are known to bite more than others are Rottweilers, German shepherds, pit bulls, and bull terriers.
What is the Missouri law on dog bites?
Missouri Statute 273.036 provides that “The owner or possessor of any dog that bites, without provocation, any person while such person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner or possessor of the dog, is strictly liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's or possessor's knowledge of such viciousness.”
Strictly liable means the victim does not have to show the dog owner/possessor was negligent or that the dog owner knew, or should have known, the dog had a propensity to bite.
Anyone who is found liable under Missouri’s dog bite law may also be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Missouri will reduce the amount of any dog-bite damage award if the victim was partly responsible for the dog bite by the percentage amount of fault of the victim.
What is the Kansas law on dog bites?
Kansas does not have a dog bite statute. Victims must show the owner of the dog knew, or should have known, by prior notice that his or her dog was “vicious” – had the propensity or disposition making it foreseeable the dog would bite someone prior to the incident. This is the “one bite rule.”
What types of injuries do dog bites cause?
Dog bites are serious injuries, especially for children. The more common injuries include:
- Abrasions. These minor cuts need to be treated so they don’t cause infections or other diseases.
- Lacerations. These are deeper cuts than abrasions. In addition to treatment for infection and disease, lacerations often require stitches. Lacerations affect the deeper layers of the skin. They can also affect the victim’s nerves, blood vessels, muscle, and bones.
- Punctures. These wounds are deeper than abrasions and lacerations. They require immediate medical care.
- Infections. Dogs have a lot of bacteria. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “roughly 50% of dog bites introduce bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus and Pasteurella, as well as Capnocytophaga.” The signs of a dog bite infection include swelling and redness, pain that lasts more than a day, wound drainage, warmth around the wound, and difficulty moving the affected body part. Signs the infection is spreading include fever, night sweats, and shaking. Your doctor will clean the wound and likely give you antibiotics for the infection.
- Infections. While the risk of rabies in America is low, rabies is deadly and it is incurable. Dogs that haven’t been vaccinated are especially prone to have rabies. It’s critical in dog bite cases that victims identify (with the help of their lawyer if necessary) the dog that bit the victim. The dog may need to be tested for rabies.
- Tetanus. Your doctor will want to know if you have had a recent tetanus shot.
- Scarring and disfigurement. Many dog bites, especially deeper wounds, leave scars. In severe cases, such as when a dog bites someone’s face or the bite is disfiguring, the victim may require skin grafts and plastic surgery. Many dog bite victims who have scars or disfigurements require treatment with a psychologist to manage the emotional concerns about their appearance.
Some dog bites, especially when the victims are small children, may cause muscle, nerve, and bone injuries. In severe cases, a dog bite can cause paralysis. If the victim falls, he/she could suffer other injuries such as head trauma, brain trauma, fractures, and death.
What damages can Kansas City dog bite victims claim?
Dog bite victims (and their parents) can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their losses. They can claim damages for:
- The ER, hospital, doctor, and therapy bills
- The cost of medications and assistive devices
- Psychological care
- Lost income
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other damages depending on what happened
We file wrongful death cases on behalf of families if a child or any family member dies due to a dog bite.