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This morning, St. Louis personal injury and dog bite attorney Steve Dioneda of Kullmann, Klein, & Dioneda, P.C. appeared on KPLR TV in St. Louis to talk about Missouri dog bite laws with Christine Buck. There are about 4.7 million reported dog bite cases in the U.S. every year, but many more go unreported. In the City of St. Louis alone, there were 403 confirmed dog bite cases in 2012. So far in 2013, there have been 103 dog bite cases in St. Louis. That’s why it’s so important to know what the law is as well as what to do in case a dog bites you.

The first thing to do, of course, is to make sure that any injuries are taken care of. Whether at a doctor or an emergency room, medical care should always come first, especially for a serious bite. After that, “you want to identify the dog,” Dioneda said. “It sounds obvious, but it’s very important.”

Information is an important part of any case, including a dog bite. “You want to gather information,” Dioneda said. “You definitely want a [police] report. Those 4.7 million cases…those are reported cases.”

The laws concerning dog attacks vary by state, and have changed over the years. For instance, in Missouri there used to be a so-called “one bite rule,” where a dog had to have a history of attacks before legal action could be taken. Now, however, a dog’s owner is liable for any unprovoked attack in which the victim is lawfully present in the location of the attack, for example, a public park or when the victim is invited to the dog owner’s home.

These attacks can often be serious, especially when children are affected. “Over 800,000 cases a year result in people needing medical care,” Dioneda said. “Half of those numbers are children—65 percent of the children 12 and under who are attacked by dogs, the bite is above the shoulders.” Of course, an attack to the head or the neck of a child would be much more serious and possibly more disfiguring and traumatizing.

Dioneda stressed the importance of reporting a dog bite, which will help protect the victim and ensure that any legal proceedings are handled fairly and effectively.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you need to consult with an attorney. Steve Dioneda and the experienced St. Louis personal injury and dog bite attorneys at Kullmann, Klein, & Dioneda, P.C. can help you today. Contact us online or call 800-536-8844 for a free consultation today.

Click here to download our free infographic: 6 Steps to Take After Being Bit by a Dog.