June 25, 2024
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The entire city of St. Louis was shaken when the tragic news of a deadly dog attack on Denis Moore, 62, surfaced. The victim was allegedly ‘eaten alive’ by the dogs. Such attacks undoubtedly cause the victims and their loved ones great emotional distress in addition to physical harm.

Navigating legal systems after dog attacks is tough, as property owners often exploit loopholes to avoid liability. Let’s learn about Missouri’s dog bite laws to better prepare you for any related incidents in St. Louis.

Dog Bite Laws in St. Louis at a Glance

If a dog bites anyone on public property in St. Louis, the owner is solely responsible for the attack, regardless of the pet’s previous behavior. Based on the dog’s behavior, St. Louis also classifies certain dogs as “dangerous”, and owning one of these can entail additional obligations.

Nevertheless, there are specific details and “loopholes” that may affect a case:

  • One Bite rule: Although Missouri has shifted to strict liability since 2009, the “One Bite” rule is still in place in some form. This rule says the owner cannot be held accountable until the dog has received “one free bite”. Dog owners may occasionally use this as a justification.
  • Trespassing: In cases where the victim was not trespassing, strict liability is usually applicable. If someone is bitten while on someone else’s property without permission, the dog owner may get away with it.
  • Landlord liability: In situations where tenants’ dogs attack, landlords can’t be held liable. In certain situations, this can help landlords escape liability for dog bites.
  • Condominium associations: If a dog bite occurs in a common area with established guidelines, the HOA may be held accountable. This occasionally results in uninvited people being held responsible for a dog bite.

Owner Obligations and Liabilities

Dog bite victims in St. Louis can recover damages, including economic and psychological duress. Dog owners must maintain constant control over their pets according to city ordinances. These legal subtleties highlight how crucial it is to speak with a St. Louis personal injury attorney to handle these difficulties.

Preventive Measures and Community Safety

Prevention is key to reducing the frequency and severity of dog bites. Dog owners are encouraged to train and socialize their pets properly to minimize aggressive behaviors.

Highlighting the urgency of these measures, last year, over 5,300 U.S. Postal Service workers were attacked by dogs during mail delivery. In response, during National Dog Bite Prevention Week (June 4-10), the USPS advises dog owners on safety. They encourage adopting safer practices to protect mail carriers and the broader community.

Here are the following measures to consider:

  • Keep dogs inside, behind a fence, on a leash, or in another room away from the door.
  • Teach children not to take mail directly from carriers, as dogs might see them as a threat.
  • Use Informed Delivery to know when the mail carrier will arrive, helping you manage your dog’s interaction.

Understanding Negligence in Dog Bite Legal Cases

In dog bite cases, the concept of negligence is essential. To be considered negligent, an owner must have failed to exercise the reasonable caution expected of a dog owner. This can mean letting an aggressive dog run loose or failing to leash a dog in public places.

According to TorHoerman Law, pure comparative negligence applies in Missouri. If the victim is partially at fault in the incident, their compensation is reduced proportionally to their level of fault. Punitive damages may be awarded if the owner’s actions were particularly heinous, such as penalizing them and preventing future misconduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Dog in St. Louis?

If a dog bites you, find medical assistance right away. Then document the attack by reporting the incident to the police. You should also contact animal control. Check to see if anyone witnessed the incident and who owns the dog.

2. Can I Sue For A Dog Bite In St. Louis If The Dog Has No History Of Aggression?

Yes, Missouri law holds dog owners accountable even if the dog has never shown aggression before. This is because Missouri law applies a strict liability rule to dog bites. In addition to other damages, you might be entitled to reimbursement for medical costs, missed income, and pain and suffering.

3. What Kind Of Compensation Am I Entitled To In St. Louis For A Dog Bite Injury?

In St. Louis, victims may qualify for compensation under Missouri’s strict liability laws, without proving the dog’s prior aggression. Compensable damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

Other compensations are loss of enjoyment of life, physical disfigurement, future medical costs, lost earning potential, and property damage.

4. Does Missouri Have A Cutoff Date For Filing Claims Related To Dog Bites?

In Missouri, a personal injury claim must be filed within five years of the date of the dog attack. Take swift action, though, as evidence can fade over time, making it more challenging to assemble a compelling case.

To summarize, victims in St. Louis should understand the legal details of laws on dog bites to make stronger claims. For additional dog bite law details, visit St. Louis City Animal Care & Control and the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. Contact a reputable St. Louis law firm if you require legal assistance or would like to speak with an attorney.

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