Dog bites are an especially serious injury. Most of the victims are young children who are often left traumatized by the attack. This can have lasting repercussions, as they are unable to overcome their fear of dogs and develop a relationship with other, friendly pets.
To help prevent dog bite injuries, the state of Missouri has its own set of laws that deal with dog bites. These laws are some of the toughest in the United States, and protect you in court if you get hurt by a dog bite.
Missouri’s Dog Bite Law
Our state’s dog bite law is Missouri Statute 273.036.
This law sets out when a dog owner is liable for your injuries, should their dog bite. There are several important aspects of this law, which can make a huge difference in your case. One of these is the fact that Missouri’s dog bite statute does not protect you if you were trespassing on someone else’s property.
Trespassing and Dog Bites
When it comes to trespassers, Missouri’s dog bite law says “The owner or possessor of any dog that bites… any person while such person is on public property, or lawfully on private property… is strictly liable for damages…”
This means that Missouri’s dog bite statute will not protect you if you were on private property, but you were there unlawfully. This is also known as trespassing. Unfortunately, “trespassing” is a loaded legal word that has a lot of nuance to it.
There are some obvious situations where you actually are trespassing. If you go into someone’s yard by climbing over a fence and ignoring signs that say “no trespassing, private property,” even though you’ve been repeatedly told by the property owner not to come back, you’re likely trespassing. Meanwhile, if you get invited into someone’s house for a scheduled dinner party, you’re probably not trespassing.
However, between these two extremes, there are thousands of situations that fall into the grey area. While many people think that you’re trespassing if you don’t have permission to be somewhere, this only begs the question: What is permission?
This is just one of the many complex areas of dog bite law, and can easily make or break your case. If you had permission, then the law covers you and you can get the compensation you need to make a full recovery. If you didn’t have permission, you’re going to be on your own.
St. Joseph Dog Bite Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Having a personal injury attorney at your side can ensure you get the best possible outcome in a dog bite case. With our thorough knowledge of dog bite and trespassing laws, the attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph fight for your rights and interests both in and out of court.
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, contact us online or at (816) 875-9373.