Is A Dog Owner Strictly Liable For A Dog Bite In Missouri?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | November 30, 2015
Is A Dog Owner Strictly Liable For A Dog Bite In Missouri?

Dog bite injuries are a prevalent issue in the United States as every single day nearly 1,000 individuals require emergency care treatment for a dog bite injury.1 The consequences of suffering from a dog bite are, mental, physical, and financial. Dog bite injury related hospital stays typically cost around $18,000 which is 50 percent higher than the average injury related hospital stay.2 A dog bite also can create significant emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder in injured victims who can suffer from a range of issues such as unwarranted fears, increased anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders. In order to recover from a dog bite injury, a personal injury claim may arise to cover from the losses.

Dog Bite Laws and Regulations

There are several statues and laws that apply to dog bite injury cases. As a personal injury case, there is a statute of limitation which prohibits claims to be filed after five years from the date of the injury.3 Liability for a dog bite injury is covered under Missouri Revised Statute 273.036 which covers that an owner is liable when the injury was caused by a dog bite, the person who was bitten was lawfully on private property or public property, and the person did not provoke the dog prior to the biting incident. Many states deploy what is known as a first bite or one bite rule which holds that the owner of a domesticated animal such as a dog will be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the animal, only if the owner knew or should have known that the animal possessed a propensity for violence based on a manifestation of danger or aggression in the past.4 This one bite rule does not apply in Missouri since in 2009 the state statute was revised to allow for strict liability so that an owner is liable whether or not they knew or could have known that the dog was aggressive.5 There are legal complexities associated with holding dog owners strictly liable for a bite injury, for instance, the statute limits recover to those injuries sustained from a bite itself not in the event that the injury was caused by another form of dog behavior such as jumping or running and the claim is still susceptible to defenses such as provocation, trespassing, or comparative negligence.6

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have suffered injury from a dog bite, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests to compensation. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.



A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

Author's Bio

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