Missouri has one of the best laws in the nation for protecting victims of dog bites. In Missouri, the owner of a dog that bites is automatically responsible to the victim of the dog bite so long as the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog. R.S.Mo. 273.036.1. Contrast this to the law in Kansas which requires the victim to prove that the owner of the dog knew the dog was dangerous. Lawyers call the Missouri law “strict liability,” while the Kansas law is referred to as the “one free bite rule” since dog owners usually escape responsibility unless the victim can prove the dog previously bit somebody else.
While lawyers frequently debate which law is the most fair, more and more states nationwide are abandoning the “one free bite rule” in favor of strict liability for dog bites. Certainly Missouri’s law and others like it provide the most protection for dog bite victims by shifting the financial responsibility for dog bites away from innocent victims and onto the owner of the dog that attacked the victim. This shift of financial responsibility makes even more sense when one considers that most dog owners are insured for dog bites through their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
Please see our Practice Areas page for additional information regarding dog bites, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338.