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Dog Bites In Missouri

Ed Cox Jan. 13, 2023

Sometimes man's best friend can quickly become his worst enemy. Dog bites are painful, traumatic, and costly. Children typically fall victim to dog bites more than adults. Permanent scars, deadly infection, muscle damage, tissue damage, disfigurement, and emotional issues all can result from a dog bite. Often, dog bites are inflicted by dogs owned by the victim's family or friends. This may make a victim cautious of filing a lawsuit. Dog bite claims may be worth as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is important to consult an experienced attorney when you have been bitten by a dog in order to receive compensation.

Missouri (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 273.036 (West)) holds dog owners (regardless of the breed) strictly liable for all damages from their dogs' bites. Strict liability means that a victim only must prove that the bite occurred, and that the defendant's dog is responsible. The bite victim does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent or acting with a purpose to harm the victim.

In Missouri, a dog owner or possessor is liable when a dog bites any person on public property or lawfully on private property without being provoked to bite. It does not matter if the owner did not have a reason to believe that their dog was vicious. Dog owners and possessors are also liable for damages to livestock and property caused by their dogs.

While the state of Missouri does not have a state-wide leash law, it is important to note that municipalities have the power to create leash laws and many municipalities have enacted such laws. Leash laws, where enacted, may impose even more liability on dog owners.

Dog bites can present unique factual scenarios and every dog bite case is different. It is important to consult a lawyer to receive the proper compensation you deserve after a traumatic dog bite. We have offices in Centerville and Bloomfield with attorneys licensed in both Iowa and Missouri ready to fight for your proper compensation!

What To Do Immediately Following A Dog Bite

  1. Seek medical attention.

  2. Notify the police

  3. Obtain the name and address of the dog owner.

  4. Obtain the name and information of any eyewitnesses to the dog bite.

  5. Record the name and breed of the dog.

  6. Record the color of the dog and any of its unique markings.

  7. Record the approximate size of the dog.