The House Packard McElderry Blog

Dog Bites in Missouri and Kansas

By Aaron M. House, September 15, 2015

The following article was written by Kyle E. Murphy, Law Clerk, on September 14, 2015

Every day more than 1,000 people visit the emergency room as a result of dog bites. When dog bites occur in Missouri or Kansas, victims can potentially receive money as compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, disfigurement, and other damages.

In Missouri, dog owners are held strictly liable for dog bites. There is no requirement to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had a vicious tendency. The victim of the dog bite must simply prove that he or she was either on public property or lawfully on private property when bitten. The only available defense for the dog owner is to prove that the dog was provoked. Landlords may also be held liable when they know or should know that a dog owned by their tenant has dangerous propensities.

Kansas, on the other hand, holds dog owners liable based on the “one bite rule,” which generally implies that after a dog has bitten one person, its owner is on notice that the dog has a tendency to bite. The circumstances and severity of the prior bite determines whether the dog has a propensity to bite people. If this is proven, the dog owner will be held strictly liable for the dog bite. A dog owner is also liable in Kansas if a victim suffers a dog bite as a result of the dog owner’s negligence. In order to prove that a dog bite was a result of the dog owner’s negligence, the victim must show that the dog owner did not take reasonable steps to shield the vicious or uncontrollable dog from the public.

Kansas also recognizes dog owner liability where a person is injured as a result of “dog fright.” A dog owner is negligent and liable if a person’s injury directly results from his or her dog’s frightening behavior where such behavior is reasonably foreseeable by the dog owner. For example, where a child is injured from a fall from a bicycle as a result of being chased and frightened by a dog, the dog owner may be liable if he knew or should have known that the dog was inclined to chase and frighten others.

If you or a family member or friend has been injured as a result of a dog bite, call the experienced attorneys at House Packard at 816-875-4260 who can help you pursue the damages to which you are entitled.

- Aaron M. House

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