According to data from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs yearly. As a result, more than 800,000 individuals have to receive medical attention for those dog bites.
If you or someone you know has been a dog bite victim, you may wonder about your legal options and how you should handle the incident.
Unfortunately, children are the most common dog bite victims in the United States, often from dogs they know. In Kentucky, there are several laws in place that deal with dog bites and allow victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Read on for a discussion of what you need to know about dog bite injuries and when you might want to consider hiring a Lexington dog bite lawyer.
Laws Surrounding Dog Bites in Kentucky
In Kentucky, a few fundamental laws can come into play when dealing with dog bite injuries. These include:
Strict Liability Statute
Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 258.235(4) covers strict liability for dog bites. This Kentucky law makes the dog’s owner strictly liable for any damages resulting from their dog biting someone. That owner can be held liable even if they had no prior knowledge that the dog might bite someone.
The above-referenced bite rule also doesn’t require a victim to show dog owner negligence for the incident to be held strictly liable. The specific law states that dog owners can be held liable for dog bites that injure a person, another dog, livestock, or other property.
Therefore, the bite rule doesn’t limit the type of injury from a dog for which dog owners are liable. There is an exception to this strict liability rule, however, that relates to comparative negligence. The Kentucky dog bite law above does clarify that if the victim committed a contributory act during the incident, their compensation might be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Statute of Limitations Rules
The other fundamental law to be aware of is KRS 525.125, which covers Kentucky’s dog bite statute of limitations. This law requires personal injury claims, including dog bite injury ones, to be filed within one year of the date of the accident.
If a lawsuit isn’t filed within that time frame, victims will be barred from seeking any compensation for their injuries from dog owners. However, there is an exception to this rule.
It is possible to have a dog bite injury that doesn’t appear immediately, but it is extremely rare. In these cases, the statute starts when the damage was discovered, not when the incident happened. It may be beneficial to speak with dog bite attorneys like ours at Peterson Law Office to discuss the statute of limitations that specifically applies to your case.
Seizing or Incapacitating an Attacking Dog Statute
Another statute that applies to dog bite incidents is KRS 258.235. That state statute spells out how any person may seize or kill any dog attacking or that’s otherwise in the process of wounding any livestock, poultry, or human beings.
The rule applies whether the canine has a license tag required by the provisions of the law. That same statute protects the owner of the livestock or poultry and any human being attacked from being held liable for seizing the dog or causing its death.
If a dog has attacked you in Lexington, KY, you may wonder how to seek maximum compensation for your injuries. The first step is determining whether one of the Kentucky laws above applies to your case. A Lexington dog bite lawyer from Peterson Law Office would happily schedule a free consultation and provide their professional opinion.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Our law firm often sees a wide range of illnesses and injuries left behind by dog attacks when prospective clients come into our Lexington office for free consultations.
Some prospective clients end up being exposed to rabies or potentially harmful bacteria in a dog’s saliva when they bite, each of which may require disease control to treat. Other prospective clients appear for a free case evaluation with puncture wounds so severe that it’s caused nerve damage which may cause lasting impairments and leave behind permanent scarring.
Since dog bites are one of the primary personal injury practice areas our law firm regularly handles in addition to car accident and medical malpractice cases, we, unfortunately, see our fair share of cases in which a child suffered serious harm or an adult sustained a permanent disability due to someone else’s negligence. If you’ve experienced a similar outcome, then you owe it to yourself and others to ensure the dog’s owner is held accountable for both their and their canine companion’s actions.
One of the reasons we offer free consultations at Peterson Law Office is because we believe that bite victims shouldn’t have to pay a law firm just to learn about their rights. Should you decide to establish an attorney client relationship with our law office, you can rest assured knowing that you won’t owe us anything for our representation of you aside from court costs and fees unless we collect a settlement on your behalf.
Challenges When Filing a Dog Bite Claim
If you have dog bite injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Dog bite cases can be complex, so building a solid case is crucial to get the compensation you deserve.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurers paid out an estimated $881.9 million on dog bite claims in the U.S. in 2021. This aggregate amount equates to an average claim value of over $49,000.
When seeking compensation for their injuries from a dog bite, people aren’t looking to get rich quickly, but they are trying to get their life back on track. Dog bites can result in serious injuries that require medical attention and can lead to long-term physical and emotional scars.
If a dog has attacked you, it is vital to understand your rights and how to recover compensation so that you can focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, since many bites can occur from canines you or your child know, many victims don’t want to or are cautious about seeking compensation for incidents on a dog owner’s property. They’re afraid it will affect their relationship with the dog’s owner.
Factors To Weigh When Deciding Whether to File a Dog Bite Claim
If you have been attacked by a dog or another dangerous animal and are considering seeking compensation, here are some things to think about:
- Who is going to pay for your medical expenses?
- How will you support yourself or your family if you can’t work?
- What if the dog that attacked you has a history of aggression?
You should consider these valid concerns before proceeding with a personal injury claim. However, you should not let these concerns stop you from seeking the compensation you deserve.
Personal injury lawyers like ours at Peterson Law Office have extensive experience handling serious injury cases like yours and can help you understand your rights and what you should expect during the entire process. We can help you build a strong case necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Remember when you’re seeking damages for your injuries, you aren’t suing the dog’s owner but their homeowners’ insurance company.
Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite Attack
Dog bite liability costs usually fall under homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies up to the liability limitations. The dog owner is personally responsible for all extra damages if the claim exceeds the limit.
In addition, some insurers may not cover homeowners who own certain breeds of a known dangerous dog or may choose to terminate their coverage. However, if the dog’s owner takes the canine to training sessions intended to change its behavior or if it is kept muzzled with a chain or cage, some may cover the animal.
During a dog bite case, victims may pursue the following damages:
- Past and future medical bills: Any treatment costs associated with the dog bite
- Lost wages: Any income lost while the victim couldn’t work
- Pain and suffering: Covers the extent of physical pain and emotional trauma from the dog bite
- Property damage: Property such as clothing, glasses, and medical equipment (such as a diabetic pump) costs
- Punitive damages: These typically aren’t considered unless the owner knows about the dog’s aggressive tendencies
If you were the victim of a dog attack, seek medical attention immediately—even if an animal attacks and the injuries caused seem minor. Always err on the side of caution with injuries resulting from attacks by dogs. After treatment, contact an experienced dog bite injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Hire a Lexington Dog Bite Lawyer for Your Injuries
After a dog attack, you have enough to worry about; let an experienced dog bite attorney handle your case so you can focus on recovery. Cases like Kentucky dog bite ones can be complex to make sense of, and this is where Lexington dog bite lawyers can help.
A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and fight for the best outcome. In addition, an experienced dog bite injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company, reducing the chances of an adverse outcome.
If the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a dog bite injury lawsuit on your behalf. Your attorney will be your advocate throughout the process, ensuring your rights are protected. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an animal attack, contact an experienced Lexington, KY dog bite lawyer today at Peterson Law Office for a free consultation to discuss how to seek compensation.