Kansas City Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

Representing Victims of Dog Attacks in Overland Park & Throughout Kansas & Missouri

At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., we recognize that dog bite cases require a delicate balance between seeking fair compensation for victims and respecting the emotional ties between owners and their pets. Our firm handles these sensitive cases with utmost compassion and professionalism, guiding our clients through the process of filing dog attack claims, which could mean filing against a friend, family member, or neighbor. Our commitment is to fight for your rights, helping you secure the compensation necessary to cover medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages resulting from the incident.

Talk to our Kansas City dog bite lawyers today. Dial (816) 597-4556 and schedule a free case review.

What is the One Bite Rule?

The "one bite rule" is a legal principle that applies to dog bite cases in some jurisdictions. According to this rule, a dog owner can avoid liability for the first bite caused by their pet if they had no prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous tendencies or aggressive behavior. Essentially, it makes it more difficult to hold a dog owner responsible for the dog's actions if the animal had never hurt anyone before.

However, it's critical to note that not all states and regions recognize the one bite rule. Some operate under strict liability laws, where the dog owner can be held liable for any injury their dog causes, regardless of whether they knew the dog could be dangerous. Other states use a mix of both rules, allowing strict liability for some damages but recognizing one bite rule protections for others.

Given the variation in laws from state to state, consulting with a local attorney is crucial. Call (816) 597-4556 if you have any questions about how the one bite rule may or may not apply to your dog bite case in the Kansas City area.

Situations When a Dog Owner Might Not Be Liable

Our Kansas City dog bite attorneys are dedicated to thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding your dog bite incident. By carefully examining the details of the event, we can determine whether the dog owner is liable for the attack and resulting harm and losses. Understanding the full context of the situation is key to presenting a solid case, as there are certain circumstances where the dog owner's liability may be reduced or unclear.

It might be more difficult to obtain compensation if you were:

  • Trespassing: If you were unlawfully on the owner's property at the time of the attack, the owner's liability may be reduced or nullified. Laws often protect owners whose dogs bite intruders or trespassers.
  • Hurting the dog: If you were intentionally harming or threatening the dog in some way, leading to the dog defending itself, the owner might not be held responsible for the resulting injuries.
  • Hurting the dog’s owner: The dog owner might not be found liable for the defensive actions taken by the dog if you were enacting a crime against the dog owner or another person, such as assault, battery, or robbery.
  • Intentionally irritating the dog: If you provoked the dog by intentionally irritating or teasing it, the owner's liability could be reduced. Provocation is often considered a mitigating factor in dog bite cases.
  • “He worked hard on our behalf and we reached a positive conclusion.” - Lori D.
  • “Tom gives lawyers a good name.” - Donna J.
  • “Tom and his firm are great people!” - Brad

    Compensation for Dog Attack Survivors

    We can help calculate the appropriate compensation owed to you for your dog bite claim. This calculation is based on an evaluation of the physical, emotional, and financial impact of the incident. A comprehensive claim will seek to cover all losses and expenses related to the dog attack, as well as any future costs that you may incur due to your injuries.

    The types of compensation available to dog attack claimants may include:

    • Medical treatment costs: This covers all medical expenses associated with the dog bite, including emergency room visits, surgeries, medication, and ongoing treatments or rehabilitation.
    • Lost wages: If you had to miss work due to your injuries, you could be compensated for the income that was lost during that period. In cases of severe injuries that result in long-term disability, future lost wages may also be included.
    • Pain and suffering: This refers to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the attack. It can also cover the loss of enjoyment of life if your ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed has been affected.
    • Therapy costs: Victims who develop a fear of dogs (cynophobia) after a dog attack may require psychological therapy to overcome their phobia. The cost of this therapy can be included in the compensation claim.

    Injuries Caused by a Dog Attack

    A dog attack, regardless of the breed or size of the dog, can result in serious, even life-threatening, injuries. Even breeds not typically considered dangerous can inflict severe harm if they bite or attack. The severity of the injury often depends on various factors, including the intensity of the attack, the size and strength of the dog, and the vulnerability of the victim.

    Serious injuries that could be caused by a dog attack include:

    • Lacerations: Deep cuts or tears in the skin caused by a dog's teeth. These can result in significant blood loss and may require stitches or even surgery to repair.
    • Broken bones: A powerful dog can easily fracture bones, especially in children or seniors.
    • Nerve damage: Severe bites can damage nerves, leading to loss of sensation or function in the affected area.
    • Infection or disease: If a dog’s mouth is unclean or infected, the bite injury can become infected and lead to serious illness. Rabies is also a serious risk when bitten by a dog that is not vaccinated against it.
    • Permanent scarring: Dog bites often leave visible scars, which can lead to emotional distress caused by a diminished enjoyment of one’s own appearance. 
    • Phobia of dogs (cynophobia): After a traumatic dog attack, victims may develop a persistent, excessive fear of dogs. This can interfere with daily activities and reduce their quality of life.

    Understand Your Legal Options – Contact Our Firm Now

    At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr., we understand the emotional and physical toll a dog attack can take. Our team is dedicated to helping victims in the Kansas City area fully understand their legal rights and potential options to pursue fair compensation through clear, professional advice tailored to your unique situation, assisting you in making informed decisions about your case. With our experienced and compassionate approach, we hope to make the claims process less daunting, ensuring you feel supported every step of the way.

    Don't hesitate to reach out to us for counsel. Talk to our Kansas City dog bite lawyers by dialing (816) 597-4556 now.

    Dog Bite Injury FAQs

    Can I only file a dog bite claim if a certain breed of dog attacked me?

    You can file a dog bite claim regardless of the breed of the dog that attacked you. The breed of the dog is not a deciding factor in determining the validity of a dog bite claim. What matters is whether the owner was negligent or violated any local or state laws about pet ownership and control and whether you suffered harm as a result of the attack.

    Can I file a dog attack claim if the dog accidentally hurt me?

    You can file a dog attack claim even if the dog accidentally hurt you, such as knocking you over. This falls under non-aggressive dog attacks or non-bite injuries. The owner of the dog could potentially be held liable for your injuries, depending on the circumstances of the incident. This liability applies irrespective of whether the dog's actions were intentional or accidental.

    Do dog owners need to keep their dogs on leashes all the time?

    Dog owners do not need to keep their dogs on leashes at all times. However, in many places, there are leash laws that require dogs to be on a leash when they are in public spaces to ensure the safety of other people and animals. In private spaces such as a home or fenced yard, dogs typically do not need to be leashed, though. Regardless, responsible pet ownership includes always maintaining control of a dog, whether through training, voice commands, or physical restraints such as leashes or barriers.

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