Hollis Law Firm

Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyer

Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyer

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While some dog bites can be as simple as a nip at the hand, dog bites can be much more severe, causing wounds that need medical care, scarring, sometimes infection, and more. If you or someone you know has recently experienced a dog bite in Kansas City, you don’t have to face the court system or the medical bills alone. A Kansas City dog bite lawyer experienced in Kansas’s dog owner liability suits can help you get the settlement you deserve so you can focus on recovery and moving on from the incident as best you can.

Dog Bite Injuries in Kansas City

In 2020, there were 373 registered cases of dog bite injuries in Kansas City. USPS releases its top dog bite cities every year. Our Kansas City sits at number three with 48 postal worker bites in 2021, right after Cleveland at number two (54 bites) and Houston in the top spot with 58 bites.

Needless to say, there are a lot of dogs here, and not all dog owners are fully responsible for their animal’s aggressive behavior. This has created an environment of risk, combined with the dual legal situation because Kansas and Missouri have two different standards for dog bite law.  

The One-Bite Rule vs Strict Liability for Dog Owners in Kansas City | KS vs MO

Kansas uses an unusually old dog bite law standard based on England’s original one-bite rule for all domestic animals including sheep and pigs. If the animal does not have a history of aggression and the owner has no reason to believe the animal would be aggressive, they are not typically held liable for the first dog bite.

However, that first bite creates a precedent where the owner should then be on alert—and becomes liable—for any dog bites that happen after the first violent incident. 

Missouri Strict Liability

On the Missouri side of Kansas City, strict liability for the dog owner is applied. This is a more typical law structure matching the dog bite standards of other states. Under strict liability, the dog owner is responsible for all injuries caused by their dog if:

  • The injury was a result of the dog bite (not other dog injuries)
  • The injured person was lawfully occupying public property, or private property where they had permission to be
  • The injured person did not provoke the dog

If these three requirements are fulfilled, a person injured by another’s dog can hold the dog owner liable in court and sue for medical costs.

How to Prove Dog Bite Liability in Kansas City

In order to sue the dog owner for medical bills, you will first need to prove liability. This is more challenging on the Kansas side of the Kansas City, and fairly simple on the Missouri side.

Proving First Bite Liability

If the dog has bitten someone before, proving first bite liability may be simple. However, if you are the dog’s first documented attack, you can sometimes prove the owner’s awareness of danger in other ways. Here are some signs a Kansas dog could be legally dangerous:

  • Vicious dog breeds: Some dogs breeds are known to be more aggressive and must be watched carefully by their owners.
  • “Beware of Dog” signs: If the owner has posted signs warning about the dog, they have displayed a reasonable concern that the dog is dangerous.
  • Confining or muzzling the dog around guests: If the owner typically confines the dog or keeps it away from guests, this can be proof they were aware of the risk of violent behavior.
  • Growling, lunging, and aggressive behavior when leashed: If the dog often acts in a hostile way towards others, the owner can reasonably assume that hostility can turn violent.
  • Training and environment: If the dog has been trained to fight or trained to aggressively protect the household, it may be assumed to be capable of biting a visitor or neighbor.
  • Fights with other dogs: If the dog has shown violent behavior to other dogs and pets, the owner may have knowledge of the animal’s dangerous disposition.

If you can identify one or more signs that the owner was already aware that their dog was dangerous, you can sue for liability on the first bite in Kansas City, Kansas.

Proving Strict Liability for a Dog Bite

Strict liability is a simpler matter to prove, as there are only three qualifying factors.

First, is the injury a dog bite? If you are suing for non-bite injuries from being jumped on, knocked over, or raked with claws, you will need to see owner negligence instead of Missouri dog bite law. If you were bitten, the first qualification is achieved.

First, you can prove that you were lawfully located where the dog bit you. A public sidewalk, park, restaurant, or any other place where people can freely go is a legal location. On private property, you may need to provide proof of permission to be there. Your home, the home of a known friend, or your place of work are all examples of private property where you may be lawfully located.

Lastly, you will need to prove that you did not provoke the dog. This is true for both Kansas and Missouri. 

The Provoked Animal Exception – Proving You Did Not Provoke the Dog

In Kansas City, on both sides of the line, a provoked dog waives owner liability. This protects dogs and dog owners from consequences if, say, a reckless person taunts or hurts the dog and is bitten as a result. In other words, the dog has a self-defense argument. A dog owner may argue that you provoked their dog, but this can usually be disproven with matching witness accounts and sometimes local security camera footage.

Crouching to gently extend your hand to the dog is not an act of provocation. Nor is speaking in a normal voice to the dog, or asking the owner to keep their dog under control if the dog is barking or jumping on their leash. Yelling at the dog, making aggressive gestures, pushing, or attacking the dog would be considered methods of provocation.

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When to Call a Dog Bite Lawyer in Kansas City

If you have been bitten by a dog in Kansas City, first seek medical attention while a friend collects records and witnesses of the situation as it happened. Once you are safe from the dog and your injury has been treated, a Kansas City dog bite lawyer can help you determine the right course to make a liability claim with the dog’s owner. Sometimes, a dog’s owner will settle immediately, but it may become necessary to file a lawsuit to fight for the settlement you need in order to pay for medical expenses.

Hollis Law Firm is an experienced personal injury law firm offering services to dog bite victims in Kansas City. Our Kansas City dog bite attorneys are proud to provide our clients with the dedicated representation they deserve. Reach out to us at (800) 701-3672 or fill out our contact form if you have suffered a dog bite and are looking to file a claim.


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