Owner Liability for Dog Bites

In the state of Missouri, a dog owner is responsible for injuries resulting from a bite providing the victim:

  • Was on public property or lawfully on private land
  • Did not provoke the dog

Of course, it must also be established that the injury was the result of a dog bite and not preexisting.

Missouri dog bite laws are “strict liability.” This means that the owner will be held liable for damages even if measures had been taken to restrain the animal or prevent the attack. Owners found guilty of negligence are required to pay a $1000 fine in addition to any damages awarded through a personal injury lawsuit.

Damages following dog bite are typically based on the severity of the injury. Some dog bites will result in surface damage alone and may not necessitate medical intervention. However, for the 20% of dog bite victims that require hospitalization for physical damage may be extremely painful, limiting, and permanent.

Some of the most serious dog bite injuries may result in:

  • Nerve, tissue, and muscle damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of a limb or digit
  • Infection
  • Death

Dog bite injuries can be particularly dangerous for children. Between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2017, 433 people died following an attack from a dog. 52% of those victims were children under the age of 10. Within that group, infants under the age of one account for 48% of all fatal dog attacks.

Dog Breeds That Bite the Most

Which Breeds Are the Most Dangerous?

Pitbulls remain the most dangerous breed of dog when it comes to attacks. Of the 433 fatal dog attacks over the 13-year course of the above-mentioned study, 65.6% of them (284) involved a pitbull – 72% of those lives taken were children under the age of 10. Following the pitbull is the Rottweiler, which accounted for 10.4% of all fatal dog bites between 2005 and 2017.

The five most deadly breeds are:

  1. Pitbull – 284 of 433 deaths (65.6%)
  2. Rottweiler – 45 of 433 deaths (10.4%)
  3. Mixed breed – 17 of 433 deaths (3.9%)
  4. American bulldog – 15 of 433 deaths (3.5%)
  5. Mastiff/Bullmastiff – 14 of 433 deaths (3.2%)

Of course, not all dog bites are fatal – and the breeds that bite the most are not necessarily the same as those that are most dangerous. According to Canine Journal, the breeds that bite the most are:

  1. Chihuahua
  2. Bulldog
  3. Pitbull
  4. German Shepherd
  5. Australian Shepherd
  6. Lhasa Apso
  7. Jack Russell Terrier
  8. Cocker Spaniel
  9. Bull Terrier
  10. Pekingese

However, any dog can bite or pose a threat. If you have been attacked by any breed and suffered injury as a result, our St. Louis dog bite attorneys can help. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of dog bite law and to assist you in securing the compensation your injury demands.

To schedule a complimentary consultation at our St. Louis office, please call 314-333-333. In Illinois or surrounding areas of Illinois, call 618-888-8888 to set up your free consultation and learn more about your rights. The dog bite attorneys at Brown & Brown serve Missouri and Southern Illinois.

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