Missouri Dog Bite Laws

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

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Under Missouri law, dog owners are liable for any injuries or damages that are caused by their dog if it bites another person while on public property or on the dog owner’s property if the victim is there lawfully. If a dog bites someone, the dog owner may be held liable for damages and medical costs that result from the bite.

Additional legal considerations in dog bite cases also include the statute of limitations (deadline for filing a claim), comparative negligence, and consequences of a dangerous dog attacking an individual.

Missouri Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims

In Missouri, individuals who have suffered a dog bite injury have 5 years to pursue a legal claim. This deadline begins on the date of the injuries, or on the date the injuries were discovered. Individuals who wait longer than the 5-year deadline will not be able to file a successful claim.

Strict Liability in Missouri

Missouri follows the doctrine of strict liability for dog bite injuries, meaning that dog owners can be held accountable for any damages or injuries their dogs cause (regardless of the dog’s previous behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its aggressiveness). Unlike some states that adopt the “one-bite rule,” which may absolve an owner of liability for the first incident, Missouri imposes responsibility on the dog owner from the outset.

Comparative Negligence & Dog Bites

Missouri follows a comparative negligence system, which means that if a dog bite injury occurs, fault may be distributed between the dog owner and the victim. This happens if the victim’s actions are found to have contributed to the attack in any way. If this is true, the victim’s compensation may be reduced proportionally to their level of fault. For example, if the victim provoked the dog or ignored warning signs, their compensation may be reduced.

Dangerous Dog Laws in Missouri

Missouri has regulations in place to address dogs that are classified as dangerous or aggressive. If a dog has previously displayed aggression or attacked someone, it may be classified as a “dangerous dog.”

Under RSMo Section 578.024, a person violates Missouri law if they keep a dangerous dog that has previously bitten a person or other domestic animal without provocation and the dog then bites another person. Depending on the degree of the resulting injuries, the owner may be found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony.

How Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage Affects Dog Bite Claims

Many dog bite claims are covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. In Missouri, homeowners are often protected under their insurance plans if their dog causes injuries to someone else. However, insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts, making legal representation vital in securing fair compensation.

Recovering Compensation After a Dog Attack

In the state of Missouri, dog bite victims may pursue legal action to recover damages that result from the attack. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional damages. The average dog bite settlement is worth approximately $84K. However, each claim is unique, and compensation will vary due to unique circumstances of your case.

Importance of Seeking Legal Advice in Dog Bite Cases

Navigating the complexities of dog bite laws and dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming for the average individual, especially when trying to recover from injuries. Seeking legal advice from experienced attorneys specializing in dog bite cases can significantly improve a victim’s chances of obtaining fair compensation, protecting their rights, and ensuring a smooth case timeline.

Get Help with Your Claim from a Dog Bite Lawyer at Brown & Crouppen

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a dog attack in Missouri, the dog bite lawyers at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm in St. Louis and Kansas City can help. Getting started with your case is easy. Request a free case evaluation online or call 888-801-4736. And remember, our lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning there are no upfront costs or legal fees – we only get paid if you win.

Our attorneys can help answer legal questions, evaluate your options, and build a strong claim if you have a case. Since 1979, we’ve helped recover over $1 billion for our clients, including dog bite settlements and verdicts.


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