Missouri Dog Bite Victim Lawyers
Before you try to pet that majestic Great Dane or perky Pomeranian, consider these statistics. Almost five million people are bitten by dogs every year. A thousand dog bite victims pour into hospital emergency rooms every day. More than half of these victims are children who have been bitten by dogs belonging to their own family, a neighbor or a friend. Seventy percent of dog-bite fatalities occur in children under the age of ten.
Understanding canine mentality will help you prevent a dog attack, and teaching your children some basic rules will protect them as well. Dogs are pack animals by nature. In the absence of other dogs, they consider the family their pack, one that has a very rigid hierarchy. A gesture that might be well intended, such as a hug from a child, could be considered an aggressive attempt to dominate the dog. Similarly, a dog’s behavior such as tail wagging or rolling on its back may be interpreted as a friendly gesture, when the animal is really expressing fear.
Never leave young children unsupervised with any dog, even the trusted family pet. Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar dogs. If children want to pet a dog, tell them to ask the owner first. Kids should then approach the dog slowly from the side. Make sure the child doesn’t put his or her face up next to the dog’s. If a dog exhibits threatening behavior, children should stay still and avoid eye contact, then back away slowly. If a dog attacks, children should be instructed ahead of time to curl up in a ball on the ground, cover their heads, and lie still.
If someone is bitten despite all precautions, you may have grounds for a personal injury suit. In Missouri, the “one bite” rule applies, which means that if a dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner may not be sued. Contact an attorney experienced in dog-bite cases. That experience will be invaluable in discovering whether the dog has indeed bitten before.