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Can Adoption Organizations Be Liable For Dog Bites in Kentucky?

Most dogs are friendly, but some can bite unexpectedly. In simpler terms, dog incidents can happen anywhere, even in unexpected places like adoption organizations. You have the right to get legal help and support, regardless of how severe the injuries are.

Our team of experienced Kentucky dog bite lawyers at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC can help you understand your legal options. Even if insurance companies try to minimize your claim, we’ll work to make sure your case stays strong.

Contact us for a free consultation to start the process of getting the benefits and support you deserve.

Claims Process After a Kentucky Dog Bite

No matter where or how it occurs, a dog bite in Kentucky is going to follow a standard procedure in terms of your legal options. Here’s a general overview of the claims process:

  • Initial consultation – Start with a free meeting with our experienced dog bite lawyers. We’ll look at the case details to figure out if it’s legally sound.

  • Investigation – If you decide to proceed, our team dives into a comprehensive investigation. This involves collecting evidence, talking to witnesses, and reviewing medical records related to the dog bite.

  • Insurance claim – If the dog has an owner, we inform them and their insurance company about the intent to file a claim. This is often the first step in seeking damages.
  • Filing a lawsuit – If negotiations don’t lead to a fair settlement, we might have to file a lawsuit. This officially starts the legal process, with the organization and their insurance company becoming defendants.
  • Discovery – Both sides share information and evidence through a process called discovery. This includes depositions, interrogatories, and document requests. It helps each party understand the strengths and weaknesses of the other’s case.
  • Mediation – Before going to trial, there may be mediation or further settlement talks. A neutral third party helps reach a settlement. If an agreement is reached, the case can be resolved without going to court.
  • Trial – If no settlement is reached, the case goes to trial. Both sides present their evidence and arguments, and a judge or jury decides on the verdict and damages.

It’s important to note that the legal process can be complex, and the specific steps and timeline can vary based on the case’s unique circumstances. Our team is here to help navigate this process and increase the chances of a successful outcome in your Kentucky dog bite case.

Dog Ownership and Liability in a Kentucky Dog Bite Claim

The main question that needs to be answered when you’re bitten by a dog is who the owner is. The reason for this is simple: Kentucky law follows “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog’s owner is responsible for covering your injuries and damages. However, when the dog is not technically owned by a person, but rather an adoption organization, it changes things a bit.

When you adopt a dog from a respected organization in Kentucky, it’s important to understand that you don’t exactly “own” the dog in the traditional sense. Rather, the organization oversees the :

  • Transfer of ownership and responsibility for the dog from them to you.

This distinction becomes crucial, especially in the context of a dog bite incident, as kentucky law places the legal responsibility, or liability, for the resulting damage on the dog’s owner.

In the case of a dog bite during an adoption event, if you haven’t completed the necessary paperwork transferring the dog to you, the adoption organization would generally be held responsible for injuries and damages caused by the bite. 

While such situations are not extremely common, these events and organizations bear a significant responsibilities: 

  • Evaluating the dog’s behavior and temperament – Thoroughly evaluating each dog’s behavior and temperament before putting them up for adoption, including assessing their interactions with people and other animals. Dogs with a history of aggression should not be adopted out.
  • Training and socializing the dog – Providing training and socialization opportunities for the dogs in their care to reduce the likelihood of aggressive behaviors.
  • Keeping potential adopters informed – Offering education to potential adopters about dog behavior, body language, and the responsibilities of dog ownership. Guidance on how to handle and train their new pets can prevent bites.
  • Matching dogs with appropriate homes – Ensuring a good fit between a dog’s energy level and temperament with the right home environment, reducing the risk of behavior issues that could lead to bites.
  • Modifying the dog’s behavior – Investing in behavior modification programs for dogs displaying problematic behavior before adoption.
  • Spaying and neutering the dog – Encouraging spaying and neutering of adopted dogs to reduce aggression and territorial behaviors.
  • Monitoring and reporting any incidents – Keeping track of any incidents involving adopted dogs and using this information to improve processes and training programs.

The primary responsibility of a dog adoption organization is to ensure the safety and well-being of both the dogs and the people involved. By taking proactive measures, they can significantly minimize the risk of dog bites and promote responsible dog ownership. However, in the unfortunate event of a dog bite while the organization is still responsible, they are strictly liable for any damages incurred.

What to Do Following a Dog Bite at a Kentucky Adoption Event

If you’ve experienced a dog bite incident with a Kentucky adoption organization, it’s crucial to act promptly for your well-being and any potential claims you might pursue. Dog bites usually need immediate medical attention to treat the wound and reduce the risk of infections, which are frequent in these situations. In addition to seeking medical care, here’s what you should do:

  • Document the incident – Record details of the time, location, and circumstances surrounding the bite. Include information about the dog, the organization, and the event.
  • Report the incident to management – Inform the organization or a representative about the dog bite to maintain records and address potential risks associated with aggressive dogs.
  • Find witnesses – If there are witnesses to the dog bite at the event, attempt to locate them. They can provide valuable information for medical treatment and potential legal proceedings. Obtain their contact information for future reference, if necessary.

  • Follow doctor’s orders – Focus on following your doctor’s specific guidelines for cleaning the wound to prevent complications like rabies, tetanus, or cellulitis. This not only safeguards your health but also gathers crucial information for any legal or insurance claims related to the dog bite in California.

  • Preserve evidence – Keep any evidence related to the incident, such as photographs of the bite, damaged clothing, or any other pertinent items. This evidence can be invaluable if you decide to pursue a legal claim against the adoption organization.


Apart from the physical harm, these unsettling incidents also create enduring emotional and psychological wounds.

In the context of a dog bite claim in Kentucky, various factors come into play when determining the damages that can be pursued. These include:

  • Payment for medical bills and ongoing treatments, including rehabilitation.
  • Compensation for both physical and emotional pain.
  • Damages for emotional distress.
  • Reimbursement for lost earnings.
  • Dealing with any property damage caused by the incident.
  • Considering punitive damages, especially when the owner’s or organization’s negligence is considered excessive.

While Kentucky has clear laws in place to handle dog bites, it’s crucial to understand that each case is unique. Therefore, a positive outcome isn’t guaranteed, even with strict liability imposed on owners. Nonetheless, our team of experienced and skilled Kentucky dog bite lawyers is here to support you. We will guide you through the claims process and work tirelessly to ensure your claim is as strong as possible.

Let Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers Help You

If you attend an adoption event organized by a group, you’ll encounter a variety of dogs. In the unfortunate event of a dog bite and injury during such an encounter, you can trust the expertise of the legal team at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC. Our dedicated Kentucky dog bite lawyers have a successful history of guiding clients through the legal proceedings that follow such incidents.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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