What happens after a dog bite in Kentucky is highly dependent on the circumstances. Legally speaking, the dog’s owner is legally responsible for any injuries and damages under the state’s “strict liability” laws. But that’s only one part of the equation. The other involves what happens–or what should happen–to the actual dog.
At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we understand that most dogs are simply acting according to their instincts when a bite incident occurs. At the same time, the injuries that can result from these incidents can be incredibly serious and long-lasting. So, it’s important to understand how the recovery process works. Our Kentucky dog bite lawyers can help you understand your options. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Should You Do After Being Bitten By a Dog in Kentucky?
Regardless of the circumstances that surround the incident, there’s certain things you need to do after being bitten by a dog in Kentucky. Most of these are obvious: get medical attention and take down all the information you can, if it’s safe. Still, taking these steps are important to the legal process:
- Get medical attention – Make sure to promptly seek medical attention if you’ve been bitten by a dog. It’s crucial to document the bite wound and any other relevant details of the incident. Following your doctor’s wound-cleaning orders is essential for proper healing and minimizing potential complications.
- Report the incident to animal control – In addition to taking care of your health, reporting the incident to local animal control officers is important. This helps in documenting the event and taking appropriate measures to prevent future incidents.
- Find any witnesses – Identifying witnesses who can attest to the circumstances surrounding the dog bite strengthens your case. Their testimonies can provide valuable perspectives and support your claims.
- Document the scene – Record the incident by capturing images of your injuries and the scene of the attack. Provide a thorough account of the event, noting the date, time, and location. Include pertinent information about the dog involved and its owner in your detailed description.
Taking these proactive measures not only ensures your well-being but also lays a solid foundation for any potential legal actions. If you decide to pursue a dog bite claim, having a well-documented case is crucial for a positive outcome.
In such claims, you may be eligible to recover various damages, including:
- Hospital bills and ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Pain and emotional distress
- Lost earnings
- Any damage to your property resulting from the incident
- Punitive damages may be applicable if the dog owner displayed significant negligence.
Ultimately, the compensation you receive hinges on the severity of your injuries. It’s crucial to note that, similar to other injury claims in Kentucky, there’s a statute of limitations for dog bite incidents. In Kentucky, you have one year from the date of the incident to file a claim. Failing to meet this deadline could result in forfeiting your right to seek damages for your injuries.
What Happens to a Dog After it Bites Someone in Kentucky?
In terms of what actually happens to a dog after it bites someone in Kentucky, it also depends on the circumstances of the incident. Generally, you should report any bite to local animal control so they can investigate, and if necessary, take further actions like:
- Quarantine and observation – If a dog bites someone, local animal control authorities may require the dog to undergo quarantine and observation for a specified period. This is done to ensure the dog doesn’t have rabies or other potential health risks.
- Investigation – Authorities may conduct an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the dog bite. Factors such as the dog’s history, the severity of the bite, and any provocation are taken into account.
- Declaration of a “Dangerous Dog” – Depending on the findings of the investigation, the dog may be declared “dangerous” or “vicious.” This designation can lead to specific legal requirements for the dog owner, such as securing the dog in a certain way, obtaining liability insurance, and posting warning signs.
- Euthanasia – In extreme cases, if a dog is deemed a serious threat to public safety and has a history of aggression, euthanasia may be considered as a last resort. However, this is typically a measure taken only when other options for controlling the dog’s behavior have failed.
Obviously, every dog bite situation is different, and animal control has wide latitude when it comes to taking corrective measures against the dog and its owner. However, the main thing to be aware of as a victim is that you have the legal right to file a claim for damages.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Kentucky
Once you’ve decided to proceed with a dog bite claim in Kentucky, it’s crucial to grasp the procedural aspects. Legally, a dog bite claim aligns with any other injury claim in Kentucky, such as car accidents or slip and falls.
The notable difference lies in the application of strict liability laws, which makes the determination of liability much simpler: it primarily rests on the dog owner. Consequently, when filing your claim, you’ll direct it toward the dog owner’s insurance company. From there, the process can include the following:
- Filing an insurance claim – Your claim is usually directed at the homeowner’s insurance company of the dog owner. It’s imperative to furnish comprehensive details about the incident, your injuries, and the resulting damages.
- Negotiations – The insurance company may present a settlement offer to resolve your claim. Our team can assist in assessing the offer and engage in negotiations to secure a fair settlement covering all your damages.
- Personal injury lawsuit – In cases where a settlement isn’t attainable with the insurance company, the next step might involve filing a lawsuit against the dog owner. This legal action aims to recover available benefits and support for your injuries. Our team stands ready to represent you in court, fighting for your rights throughout the process.
While every claim is different and proceeds at its own unique pace, the strength of your claim is ultimately going to rest on the evidence you have. Importantly, this evidence will also be helpful for animal control and how they respond. Generally, this includes:
- Medical records – Detailed documentation of your injuries, treatment, and related medical expenses is vital. This includes photos of injuries, medical bills, and records of any ongoing treatment or therapy.
- Incident details – Gather all the information you can about the incident, including where and when it occurred. If there are any witnesses, try to get their contact information.
- Photographs – Take pictures of your injuries immediately after the incident and throughout your recovery. This visual evidence can provide a clear representation of the severity of the bite.
- Information on the owner – Collect details about the dog owner, such as their name, address, and contact information. If applicable, find out if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior.
- Animal control reports – Obtain any reports filed with local animal control regarding the incident. These reports may contain information about the dog’s behavior and any prior incidents.
- Witness statements – If there were witnesses to the dog bite, gather statements from them describing what they saw. Witness accounts can strengthen your case.
- Insurance information – Obtain details about the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance, as this is often the avenue for compensation in dog bite claims.
- Communication records – Keep records of any communication with the dog owner, witnesses, or insurance representatives. This can include emails, text messages, or any written correspondence related to the incident.
- Lost wages documentation – If the dog bite caused you to miss work, gather documentation of lost wages, such as pay stubs or a letter from your employer.
Reach Out to Our Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers
Nobody expects to be bitten when interacting with a dog in Kentucky, yet these situations happen and they’re quite challenging. Not only does it require specific actions on your part to protect your legal rights, animal control has to take steps to respond to the incident.
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog in Kentucky, Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC can help. Our experienced team understands how to approach these claims and what you need to do to fully recover. Contact us today for a free consultation.