One of the more common causes of action in a personal injury suit is animal attack. These days, with so many people keeping aggressive breeds such as pit bulls and Dobermans as pets and guard dogs, dog bite injuries are becoming a very serious problem. News stories abound regarding people who have been injured, maimed and even killed by a domesticated dog.
The problem is increasing to extraordinary proportions. Almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Hospital emergency rooms treat a thousand dog bite victims every day. More than half of these victims are children who have been bitten by dogs belonging to their own family, a neighbor or a friend. In one study, dog attacks rose by 33 percent over a ten-year period, while dog ownership increased by only 2 percent for the same period.
The “One-Bite Rule”
In Missouri, the “one-bite rule” applies. This means that dog owners can not be prosecuted the first time their animal bites someone, unless they have been negligent, reckless or deliberate in the actions that led to the attack. Once a dog has bitten someone, it is considered to have a dangerous propensity, and any attacks after that will be subject to strict liability.
Assessing negligence and liability can be complex. Animal attacks are covered by layers of city, county and state laws. Searching the Internet can help you find a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases and has experience helping dog bite victims.