Legal Rights for Animal and Dog Bite Victims


angry dog showing teeth on leash

Animals are considered our friends, but unfortunately, they sometimes bite. When they do, our team steps up to hold the owners accountable. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year and over 800,000 dog bite victims require medical care. Children are most likely to be bitten by dogs. We routinely represent individuals who have been bitten by dogs. In one case, we helped a young girl recover $100,000 for a dog bite. 

Know Your Legal Rights

It is important for dog bite victims to know their legal rights. In Missouri, dog bite cases are governed by RSMo 273.036, which states “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.” Another statute, RSMo 322.145 states that the owner of an animal that bites or otherwise possibly transmitted rabies or any zootonic disease shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the animal. 

In other words, someone with a dog is almost always automatically responsible to the victim unless the person was trespassing or provoking the dog. It does not matter that the dog had never bitten anyone before. There are a number of circumstances where the dog’s owner may not be the only person responsible to a dog bite victim. For example, a person who “harbors” the dog, could also have responsibility. There are often situations where a victim can recover financial compensation from a landlord or business shop owner who harbors a dog.

What to Do if You’re Bitten

Dog bites should be taken very seriously. A victim should seek immediate medical attention if the bite breaks the skin as there is a potential to receive a zoonotic (animal to human) disease, like rabies.  Dog bite victims should contact the Missouri Department of Environmental Health and Senior Services to make sure the dog is quarantined and its behavior examined.  It is also important to contact local animal control so the dog’s bite can be documented. 

Contact Animal and Dog Bite Attorneys

Dog bites can result in scarring and permanent disfigurement, often to the face and hands. We have handled numerous cases where our victims required multiple surgeries, skin grafts, and other medical procedures. Due to our experience and knowledge, we have obtained substantial compensation for our clients.

In addition to dog bites, the laws set forth above also allow individuals to make cases against owners of other types of animals.  We recently helped a client obtain a recovery after she was bitten by a camel at a travelling petting zoo. 

 If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, please do not hesitate to contact us