A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to take legal action after an injury caused by another party. How long after a dog bite injury can you file a claim in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for a dog bite injury is one year from the date of injury.
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140, plaintiffs have only one year to commence legal action after an incident that caused injury to themselves, a child, or another family member. Compared to other states, the statute of limitations for a dog bite injury in Kentucky is relatively short.
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog in Kentucky, don’t delay. You have only a limited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for your dog bite injury. If the statute of limitations for a dog bite injury lapses, you will be barred from seeking compensation for your losses.
Only in rare cases would a victim have longer than a year to file a claim. An extended statute of limitations is typically only applicable when the injury is not discovered immediately, which is unusual for animal attack injuries.
Dog bite Injury cases can take a significant amount of time to investigate and build. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What Happens if a Dog Bites Someone in Kentucky?
Kentucky law holds dog owners responsible for injuries caused by the animal. Under Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 258.235(4), “Any owner whose dog is found to have caused damage to a person, livestock, or other property shall be responsible for that damage.”
If a dog bites someone in Kentucky, the injured party has the right to hold the dog owner responsible for damages. It is not necessary to prove negligence (or to prove that the owner had prior knowledge that the dog was likely to bite) in order to move forward with a legal claim.
However, under Kentucky’s comparative negligence laws, a person who is partially responsible for the injuries (such as by provoking the dog to attack) can have their financial compensation award reduced by the percentage they are deemed to be at fault for the incident.
How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States.
Dog bite injuries are more common than many people realize. Here are a few more facts and statistics about the frequency and severity of dog bite injuries in the U.S.:
- At least half of the people bitten every year are children
- Roughly 1 out of 5 dog bites becomes infected
- More than 800,000 people receive medical attention for dog bites every year
- Homeowners insurers paid $882 million in claims related to dog bite injuries in 2021
- Children are more likely than adults to be severely injured by a dog bite
- Most children who are bitten are attacked by dogs they know
- Most dog bites happen when people are participating in normal, everyday activities
- A dog’s individual history influences its likelihood to bite much more than their breed
- Dog bite-related hospitalization rates increased by 86% from 1993 to 2008
- Any type of dog can bite
What To Do After a Kentucky Dog Bite Injury
Seeking medical attention is the first and most important step after any dog bite injury. Even if the wound is small and the injury seems minor, do not neglect to see a doctor. Severe illnesses and infections can develop if a dog bite injury is left untreated.
Bacteria like staphylococcus, streptococcus, pasteurella, and capnocytophaga are present in canine saliva and can cause disease. Rabies is also a serious concern when the attacking dog was not vaccinated or was of unknown vaccination status.
After a Kentucky dog bite injury, follow these steps to ensure your health and rights are protected:
- Seek immediate medical care
- Apply basic first aid measures to the wound while waiting for treatment
- Try to identify the dog and its owner
- Take down the owner’s information, including name and contact info
- Take pictures of the dog, injury, and any relevant conditions
- File a dog bite report
- Save all correspondence with city authorities, medical records, and other documents related to the dog bite injury
- Contact an attorney to discuss your legal options
Learn Your Legal Options Before the Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Injury Passes
The statute of limitations for a dog bite injury in Kentucky is short, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting justice.
Knowing your rights, acting quickly, and preserving any available evidence will greatly help your case move forward.
Dog bite injury cases can be emotionally complex. Many cases involve children, and legal action is often directed toward a dog owner the injury victim knows well, such as a friend or neighbor. This is enough to make many people think hard about whether legal action is the right choice or not.
While this is a completely understandable concern, know that homeowners insurance policies often cover dog bite injuries for just this reason. Dog bites can be expensive to treat and care for. It’s not your responsibility to pay those expenses out of pocket. Your neighbor or family friend will know that their insurance exists for a reason—to help in situations like yours.
Speak to a lawyer about your legal options before the statute of limitations for a dog bite passes. No matter what you decide to do, in the end, you will have the knowledge and information to make the decision that is best for you and your loved ones.
Contact Peterson Law Office in Lexington, Kentucky to learn more. We offer free consultations to dog bite injury victims and their families. A free case evaluation does not obligate you to hire a lawyer from our firm.